Cultural Revolutions

Back in the News

Hate crimes were back in the news this summer. Of course, every crime is a hate crime when considered as a sin against charity and against the divinely ordained institution of human government. To this extent all crimes are equal, yet the United States government, while upholding as always the principle of equality, is attempting once again to get around it in devious and dishonest ways, for its own unspecified ends. Following the much-publicized murder in Jasper, Texas, of a black man, James Byrd, Jr., whom three white men are accused of having dragged to death behind a pickup truck, the Senate Judiciary Committee decided to amplify the body of existing hate crimes legislation. Current federal law applies to crimes "motivated" by the offender's dislike of his victim's race, color, religion, or national origin. The new measure's sponsors. Senators Edward Kennedy, Arlen Specter, and Ron Wyden, would amend it to add "gender," sexual orientation, and disability to the attributes specifically designated by the U.S. government as worthy of special—meaning "federal"—protection from "haters" (apparently legion in this country). Although the Jasper incident was presumably related to racial hatred, not machismo, ableism, or normalism, the committee brought the late Mr. Byrd's daughter, Francis Renee Mullins, all the way from Lufkin, Texas, to lobby for the measure. "I think there...

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