A person who follows religion and politics more closely than I tells me the decision of two major conservative Christian leaders, Joel Hunter and David Gushee, to sign on in support of legislation outlawing "hate crimes" against gays and lesbians, is a pretty big deal:
Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
A fundamental Christian belief is that every person is created in the image of God. Too often in our country when violence has been directed against gay and lesbian people, most Christians have been painfully silent. The hate crimes legislation now in the House is designed to strengthen our society's ability to prosecute these crimes. It contains additional explicit protection for free speech and religious liberty, rights which are already guaranteed by our Constitution, and allows for continued free expression of speech about controversial issues around homosexuality, gay marriage, etc. Regardless of the theological differences we may have on these issues, Christians should all agree on the fundamental protection of human rights. That is why I support this legislation.
The problems with "hate crimes" laws is this, that they make some wrongs "more equal than others".
What Sojo and other "progressive christians" (note the non-capitalization, which is not accidental)(is that an example of hate on my part?) don't see or don't want to say is that simply being against "hate crimes" laws does not mean one is for the crimes; rather, it is about treating some crimes as worst than others based on factors not related to the crime.
For example, murder is murder, and those who murder should be punished. If someone murders a straight man with a wife and four kids, the crime is no more serious than someone who murders a lesbian woman. But "hate crimes" laws have us look at them differently, trying to kind some kind of motive of hate behind the murderer of the lesbian woman, and so treat it as a more serious crime than the other murder.
What it is about, really, is not the crime itself, but the intent or supposed intent of the criminal. Perhaps what it is most about is how people see the crime. As an example of that, check out this article.
ABC Debunked Matthew Shepard Murder as No Hate Crime, MSNBC Savages Republican for Repeating
But, on the November 26, 2004, 20/20, ABC host Elizabeth Vargas ran a report in which a number of figures tied to the case, including the prosecutor, were interviewed, and made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs. Vargas not only found that a meth high can lead to the kind of extreme violence perpetrated against Shepard, but that McKinney had gone on to similarly attack another man, causing a skull fracture, very soon after his attack on Shepard. Additionally, McKinney’s girlfriend and another friend of McKinney’s even claimed that McKinney himself has bisexual tendencies, although McKinney himself denied it.
Vargas appeared on the November 16, 2004, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC and summarized her findings:
The prosecutor who prosecuted these crimes says that he never believed it was a hate crime. He believes it was a drug crime. Aaron McKinney, according to Aaron McKinney himself and to several other witnesses, was coming down from a five-day methamphetamine binge. He freely admits he not only used methamphetamine but dealt them, sold them. Five days up with no sleep, strung out on drugs, desperate to buy more, desperate to rob somebody to get money to buy more drugs. This was the motive, according to Aaron McKinney and the other witnesses.
Shepherd is the poster boy for hate crimes laws, and the current hate crimes bill is named after him, as the Newsbusters blog points out. And one can see how some lefties react when the truth of the matter is pointed out.
Hate crimes laws don't promise more justice, but less. It's a political tool, not a matter of justice. Murderers and thugs should be dealt with, no matter whom they murder or beat. Treating them differently based on whom they murder or beat will not bring about justice, but instead cause injustice.
That is why the attempts by such as Sojo to paint us against hate crimes laws as being unloving and unchristian is a joke, and they should be ashamed of themselves for stooping to such blatant lies.