Bill O’Reilly says yes. Michelle disagrees.
If the law were applied fairly, O’Reilly might have a leg to stand on only in the sense that you would have equal protection under the law. I personally believe that hate crimes laws are bad based on first principles of freedom of speech, expression and assembly, but you could at least argue that we would all face the same justice for doing the same or analogous offensive things. But we all know that that isn’t the way things work in the real world.
Desecrate a Bible and nothing happens to you. Put a crucifix in a jar of urine and you get rewarded with taxpayer funds. Promote US sovereignty security and someone, probably on the White House staff, will call you a racist. But at least you won’t face any charges. Desecrate a Koran, and get slapped with felonies. That’s not fair.
These photos were taken in New York City in February 2006. Not Pakistan. Not Tehran. New York City. Did anyone in any of these photos face any charges?
No. Nor should they have.
Now, I find these signs very offensive. They are in fact intended to offend. But no one took them up with the police, no one pressured any administration anywhere to take action, and no charges have been filed.
I don’t want the people holding them charged with crimes based on those offensive signs, and I’m not backed up by a credible threat of force to get them charged with anything even if I wanted to. I believe in free speech. For the record, the London protest sign cases were different, in that the protesters were inciting the overthrow of the British government and murder. They deserved charges based on that. Stanislav Shmulevich didn’t incite murder; he protested quietly and nonviolently.
The agitators at CAIR and in the MSA at Pace don’t believe in free speech as concerns Islam and the Koran. If they did, they would have treated Shmulevich as a protester with whom they disagreed, but who has his right to free speech including saying and doing things that they personally find offensive. They believe that we all should treat the Koran as they do in their strict and chosen way of belief, as governed by sharia. And they have the credible threat of violence backing them up, so they’re getting their way.
If we go down the road of letting the police charge felonies for putting a book in a toilet as a nonviolent protest, we are going down the road of ending free speech for anyone in this country who is not a Muslim. It really is that simple. That is obviously not what O’Reilly intends and he means well, but as the cliche says, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, the road to sharia is paved with PC thinking that’s based on good intentions.
Hate ought not be a crime. It’s an emotion. Hate can lead to crimes, but so can many other emotions and attitudes that we haven’t (yet) criminalized. Greed, envy, lust, jealousy — all of these can lead to crimes just as often, if not more often, than hate does. Are we going to criminalize all of them, too?
Ironically, if the sharia pushers get their way, yes, we probably will criminalize all of those things at some point. And that, like the hate crimes laws we have now, will be done with the best of someone’s intentions. And, like the hate crimes laws we have now that create felonies out of putting a book in a toilet, we’ll get the worst of consequences.