Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) confirmed that a "hate crimes" bill will make its debut in a matter of days. Levin said he plans to attach an expansion of hate crimes law to the defense policy bill, meaning that a vote on the legislation, S. 909, could be as early as this week.
The Rev. Ted Pike who continues to be indispensible in following this matter (sign up for his E-Alerts at the top of this website) takes this seriously. In POSSIBLE HATE BILL VOTE ON MONDAY! 11 July 09 he points out:
The DOD bill is scheduled to begin Senate floor action at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday. Since S. 909 is an "omnibus bill," Sen. Reid or any cosponsor might introduce it as an amendment. Amendments could be offered any time next week!
Pike further points out that since Attorney General Holder conceded last month that the Bill was not intended to protect Servicemen, there is not a shred of justification for attaching this controversial measure to military appropriations legislation. Of course, this is not likely to deter Levin.
He also reasonably complains of the defeatism of the larger Christian lobbying outfits
...on Thursday, Focus on the Family's James Dobson and Tom Minnery along with Family Research Council's Tony Perkins covered themselves with shame by announcing to Dobson's vast audience that it is now impossible to defeat the hate bill…Focus on the Family and FRC, perhaps the two most powerful evangelical "watchdog" groups, have done virtually nothing of real significance to fight the hate bill since January.
Rittgers again deploys a favorite argument: that the legislation could stimulate these kinds of actions:
If there is a subset of the local population that shares the views that drove the perpetrator to commit his crime, then the imposition of federal jurisdiction based solely on the motive of the criminal engenders resentment and encourages others to mimic his behavior. What is being proposed is feel-good legislation that gives ideologues more incentive to commit their crimes and a bigger platform for their views. The federal government should not create an aid program for hatemongers.
I have to say this analysis has never seemed particularly persuasive to me: but it has persuaded the U.K. authorities, who, shamefully, have actual experience in enforcing this type of measure:
TAKE IT EASY ON MUSLIM EXTREMISTS, POLICE TOLD By Macer Hall Daily Express Saturday July 11, 2009
POLICE will be ordered not to charge Muslim extremists in many hate crime cases — to stop them becoming more militant. Officials… want to avoid alienating Muslims on the fringes of extremism by dragging them to court over petty allegations unlikely to result in conviction
A Home Office spokesman said: ”Preventing people becoming radicalised is a key priority for the Government. The police response needs to be proportionate to deal with crimes people commit while reducing the risk to public safety.”