No one wants to punish anyone for what they think or believe. There are a number of churches, for example, who believe some nasty things about people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As I write this blog about the issues faced by such groups you can understand why I picked such an example. You’ll also notice that I didn’t add the word ‘say’ to ‘think or believe.’ I did that because in some countries what you say can get you into trouble.
In the United States there are laws pertaining to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This allows people to say some pretty nasty things without fear of prosecution. Oh, there are limits but, with these laws in place, it make them difficult enforce. Other ‘western’ countries have the same laws but the limits are different. In Canada we have hate laws and they do a great job of doing this.
Now the title of this post is “Hate Crimes” and they are criminal acts that have nothing to do with freedoms. They include crimes such as vandalism, arson, assault, or murder to name a few. But what makes hate crimes different is the motive of these acts. If one commits a crime on someone else based solely on what group they may belong to then it is a hate crime. By group I’m referring to people identified by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age, gender or gender identity.
Now proving that any of these criminal acts was a hate crime can be difficult to do. If an assault takes place and during this act the attacker uses words like “nigger”, “fag”, or “tranny” then this could be considered by the court as the motive. This is a prime example of what you say can get you into trouble. The first link shown below is a recent incident and, according to what the article says, is a great example of a hate crime.
So what does it mean if you’re convicted of a hate crime? The difference is an increase in time served. If you’re given X number of years for the original crime you’ll get X + Y years if it’s a hate crime. If you know of any other difference please comment as I’m not a lawyer.
As I said, what you say can get you into trouble. In Canada (and other countries) we have laws against hate speech. It’s one of those limitations put on freedom of speech. You can’t say or print anything that advocates genocide or incites hatred against any group that I’ve already mentioned.
Even quoting the Bible isn’t safe. In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan someone produced a few bumper stickers and advertised it in the local newspaper where there was a representation of one.
The bumper sticker in the advertisement displayed references to four Bible passages: Romans 1, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, on the left side of the sticker. An equal sign (=) was situated in the middle of the sticker, with a symbol on the right side of the sticker. The symbol on the right side was comprised of two males holding hands with the universal symbol of a red circle with a diagonal bar superimposed over top.
That didn’t result in any jail time but it cost him and the newspaper that published it $1500 paid out to each of the three people who made the complaint.
Like I said, what you say can get you into trouble. I’d like to point out that the previous post I made was on the “T” word. Are you sure that you want to use it?