The ACLU's 'Hate Speech' Gymnastics

The attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union must be exhausted. It’s not easy to contort one’s reasoning in such a way that defends the Nazi’s right to march while simultaneously supporting so-called hate crimes legislation. Perhaps a little consistency would be less hazardous to their mental health?

In recent weeks, the ACLU has come out in strong support of the American National Socialist Workers Party of Roanoke, VA — a neo-Nazi group — and their plan to march through a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Cincinnati tomorrow. This is par for their course: the ACLU pushed for — and won — the landmark Supreme Court case in favor of Ku Klux Klan expression, Brandenberg v. Ohio (1969).

At the same time, the ACLU has come out in favor of new hate crimes legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR). The bill — H.R. 1592 — would allow federal law enforcement officers to more easily investigate and prosecute so-called hate crimes.

But what crime isn’t motivated by some form of hate, or at least callous indifference towards the rights, property, or life of another? Can we not just prosecute the criminal activity — as we always have — without making the same criminal act against given classes of people more heinous than against other classes of people?

Not according to the ACLU, whose m.o. has long been that some people are more equal than others.

In effect, the ACLU’s logic concerning hate speech is this: crude, hateful speech that advocates violence and crime should be protected, but politically-incorrect, hateful thoughts or speech directly related to an actual violent crime against certain classes of people should be prosecuted, over and above the crime itself.

Got that?

A white paper submitted by the Alliance Defense Fund explains how dangerous Sen. Kennedy’s hate crime bill is:

H.R. 1592 is a discriminatory measure that criminalizes thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and provides greater protection to some victims than others simply because of a status, whether chosen or inherent. The bill has the potential of interfering with religious liberty and freedom of speech as proposed, and creates additional risks for the future.

Make no mistake, that potential is real.

In 2005, Canada amended a very similar hate crimes law to protect homosexuals from “intolerance.” During the two years preceding the passage of C-250, a number of lawsuits were filed against traditional Christians and Jews, with the Canadian courts generally sided against those traditionalists who spoke against the gay lifestyle and agenda. And since C-250 passed, the investigation and prosecution of Christians — like this one — has increased. “Hate speech” has become a “hate crime” in and of itself, even when not accompanied by criminal activity, violent or otherwise.

H.R. 1592 is bad law for a number of reasons. The tortured logic of the ACLU means that it could become even worse, proving once again that the ACLU is more interested in protecting the speech of Skinheads and Nazis than they are of devout Christians.