This image from American Family Association makes it abundantly clear why they oppose hate crime laws.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law on October 28, 2009. Christian conservatives insisted at the time that the purpose of the law was to incarcerate Christian pastors. Some claimed that the intent was to ban the Bible. As the Act was being considered they pretty much lost their minds.

Perhaps readers can help me. I have searched and searched and I cannot find where we are keeping those locked up preachers. In fact, shame on our government. They won’t even tell us who those preachers are. Presumably they have not received legal representation.

Arkansas is once again considering a hate crimes law which provides for sentence enhancements. As Arkansas Online notes:

This is far from the first hate-crimes bill proposed in the state. Similar legislation has failed to clear the Republican-dominated General Assembly over the past few decades, in part because of protections for LGBTQ people.

So far, Governor Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, both Republicans, have voiced support for the bill (SB3). Three Republican legislators are listed as cosponsors of the bill: Rep. Joe Jett, Rep. Jeff Wardlaw and Sen. David Wallace. Support is not necessarily limited to cosponsors.

This all does not sit well with American Family Association. The (Arkansas) Family Council does not approve either. According to a post to AFA’s blog: Hate crimes laws – Beware ‘unintended consequences’.

“We’ve seen laws like these proposed and passed in many other states around the country, and they’ve been proposed in Arkansas repeatedly over the last 25 years,” Council spokesman David Cox tells [AFA]. “Family Council has opposed this type of legislation for about 25 years now because these laws simply don’t work.”

Who does this nitwit think he is fooling? Family Council is not opposed to the law because it supposedly won’t work. Family Council opposes enactment of this law because it includes protections for LGBTQ people.

David Cox takes the “baffle them with your bullshit” approach.

“What we’re seeing is states like California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, [and] Ohio — they top the list on hate crimes committed, and yet some of them have the most stringent hate crimes laws in America, where states like Arkansas and others are near the bottom of the list,” Cox explains.

There are several problems with this argument which is based on 2018 data from the FBI:

  1. Hate crimes are reported to the FBI by local law enforcement. Alabama reported 0 hate crimes in 2018. That is probably because Alabama police did not think that any violence towards people amounted to a hate crime.
  2. The above is further compromised by the fact that the primary intention of the federal hate crime law is to provide federal assistance when necessary to solve hate crimes. If the state or municipality is adverse to such assistance it will not report hate crimes to the FBI as doing so would be pointless.
  3. More progressive states and municipalities are more likely to recognize violence as a hate crime.
  4. The premise that areas with hate crime laws having more hate crimes is irrelevant. See #1, #2 and #3 above. Furthermore, even if true that would not indicate that such laws are not a deterrent.

If David Cox wants to pose an intellectually honest argument in opposition to a hate crime law then he must start with the real reason for opposing it. Do conservative Christians require the ability to do violence to LGBTQ people without sentence enhancements? It just doesn’t make any sense.

The best way to oppose hate crime laws is to make them unnecessary. If these anti-LGBTQ groups would stop demonizing LGBTQ people there would probably be fewer hate crimes.

The post concludes:

He goes on to point out that such measures “often carry very serious unintended consequences, especially for people of faith.”

Funny how they never got around to identifying what those “serious unintended consequences” are. That means that they are doing what hate groups often do: Fear Mongering in the absence of a compelling argument.

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