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June 15, 2009

Round up the usual suspects

Liberal columnist and talk-show host Bonnie Erbe suggests that we "round up" purveyors of hate speech before they cause violence:

Not only have we had three hate crime murders within the last two weeks ([Stephen] Johns, as noted above, Dr. George Tiller a week ago last Sunday, and Pvt. William Andrew Long by an American-born Muslim convert outside a recruiting station just before that.)

Now we have this quote from the so-called Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who used to be President Obama's pastor. Hate comes from among all peoples and all religions. He said this about his lack of communication with Barack Obama since he's been elected president, according to the AP:

"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," Wright told the Daily Press of Newport News following a Tuesday night sermon at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers' Conference.

It's not enough to prosecute these murders as murders. They are hate-motivated crimes and each of these men had been under some sort of police surveillance prior to their actions. Isn't it time we started rounding up promoters of hate before they kill?

I've been as sickened and disturbed as anyone by the incidents Erbe describes, as you all know, but I wonder if she's thought this through. "Round them up" and then do . . . what? Put them in jail for thoughtcrime? I thought that sort of thing went against everything that the left held dear. (If you'd told me back during the presidential campaign, when we were all being told to pay no attention to the man behind the pulpit, that a prominent liberal journalist would soon advocate his arrest, I'd have done a spit-take all over my keyboard.)

We need to take steps against the encouragement of violence in our society; there's no question about that. But the steps Erbe advocates would lead us in a very dangerous direction.

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Comments

vikingmother

If we rounded up persons who did "hate speech" there would be lots of arrests done daily if the FBI viewed even AOL's common news sites.

However, they are assuming that nasty words automatically points to a killer.

And, of course, who defines "hate speech"???

Joe

It's interesting that Wright's remarks were made at a "Minister's" conference. I'd love to know the source of their theology. If it had even a remote connection to Scripture, all of the "Ministers" would have gotten up and walked out on Wright as well they should have.

LeeQuod

Aren't our prisons already overcrowded?

Oh, that's right - they could use Gitmo.

jason taylor


Isn't the phrase "hate speech" rather "hateful"? What if someone starts killing people for using "hate speech"?

becky

The real danger is in who will determine what "hate speech" is. While it may be clear that someone, like the Holocost museum murderer, clearly hated and acted on his hate, it might be decided that a pastor giving a sermon on, say the value of life, might be inciting someone to go out and shoot up an abortion clinic. Who will decide?

becky

One other thing. There is a local African American reporter who commented recently about how we can't even have a good discussion on race anymore because everyone is afraid of being labeled as "racist". The concept of "hate speech" and "hate crimes" may be holding us back from dealing with real problems in our society.

Rachel Coleman

So as Christians, we have another great reason to focus on teaching our young people (and learning ourselves) how to communicate the truth in a firm yet loving and winsome manner. Sarcasm -- out. Personal attacks -- out.
Jesus told the truth always, but he was never mean-spirited about it.
I say all this knowing that even when we *are* above reproach as the Bible instructs, there will still be folks out there who interpret a direct quote from the Bible, read in the most mild voice and prefaced by compassionate, understanding remarks, to be ... "hateful!"
Nonetheless, Holy Spirit often convicts me that there is plenty of room for improvement in my personal speech. And I believe the church as a whole should continue to aim for that "being above reproach" standard God set.
When I see that standard held up on the Point, it inspires me to keep trying in everyday ways and in print.

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