March 25th, 2007
Update (3/27/2007): This post was revised to account for the official definition for “intimidation.” The original version of this post did not have that definition.
The Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women of America are propagating more hate crime nonesense, with Focus on the Family acting as the enabler. Get this:
Homosexual advocates who support the bill say violence against homosexuals is on the rise. They contend 14 percent of the 1,000 hate crimes reported in 2005 were due to sexual orientation.
“They claim that this is an epidemic, [but] one third of the ‘hate crime’s statistics’ are for ‘name-calling,’ ” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, told Family News in Focus. “This is not a reason to bring in the federal government. The ultimate objective is to use the [prosecution] of hate speech against people of faith.”
The article’s subtitle claims, “The House is considering a measure that would make opposition to homosexuality a crime.” That is ridiculous. The First Amendment makes prohibiting opposition to anything illegal. Remember that the next time you see a Klan rally in the news. And everything else in that article is demonstrably false as well. And you don’t even have to believe me because it’s so easy to look up the data for yourself, thanks to the Internets.
First, go to the FBI’s 2005 Hate Crime Statistics web site. Bookmark it because this won’t be the last time Focus, TVC, or anyone else will lie about these statistics.
First of all, you will notice that there were 8,380 total hate crime offenses for 2005. Scroll down and you’ll see that it includes 1,171 offenses based on sexual orientation. Look below that for my personal favorite statistic: the 23 anti-heterosexual offenses. You’ll also see 58 anti-Protestant offenses and 935 anti-White offenses. So much for “special rights” for “more valuable victims.” Now you see why I keep saying that line of argument is complete hogwash.
Anyway, there weren’t 1,000 hate crimes reported in 2005, there were 8,380. But yes, the 1,171 offenses based on sexual orientation were 14% of the total. But now scroll back up and look accross the top. Do you see all of the categories of hate crime offenses?
I see murder, I see rape, I see, …. Oh, here it is. Intimidation. Is that “name calling”? Nope. The FBI defines “intimidation” this way (PDF: 71KB/29 pages. See page 23.):
Intimidation — To unlawfully place another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.
So no. It’s not name-calling. It’s making a specific threat of bodily harm. And according to the statistics there were 301 intimidation incidents based on sexual orientation. Let’s see, 301 divided by 1,171 — why that’s only 26%. Not a third. Wrong again.
So it turns out that they didn’t get any of their statistics correct — except the 14% figure.
But let’s go ahead and humor them a little bit. Let’s remove “intimidation” from the totals and see what happens:
|Hate Crime Incidents: All reported incidents||Hate Crime Incidents: Minus “Intimidation”|
Did you notice what happened? The percentage of hate crimes based on sexual orientation actually went up when “intimidation” was removed from the statistics — as does the percentage of hate crimes based on religion. That’s right, it gets worse without “intimidation.” And why is that? Well, it turns out that while “intimidation” makes up 26% of all hate crime incidents reported both for sexual orientation and religion, it makes up 33% of all hate crime incidents for race and 32% for national origin.
In other words, victims of sexual orientation-motivated hate crime incidents are just as likely to claim “intimidation” as are victims of religously-motivated hate crime incidents.
But that doesn’t really matter because when it comes to the proposed federal hate crimes legislation that the TVC, Concerned Women and Focus are so upset about, the whole “name calling” thing is not just a red herring. The proposed legislation only applies to violent crimes — murders, assaults, kidnappings, rapes, etc. It doesn’t even apply to property crimes or intimidation. And I don’t expect you to take my word for it. The bill’s text is online so you can see for yourself.
It’s time for everyone, including those espousing “traditional values”, “families” and “concerned women” everywhere to just stop lying about what hate crimes are all about and simply debate the issue on its merits. That, however, appears to be something they are utterly incapable of doing.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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