Watch Out: U.S. Trying to Criminalize Free Speech — Again
by Judith Bergman
June 20, 2017
On April 4, 2017, the US Senate passed Senate Resolution 118, “Condemning hate crime and any other form of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States”. The resolution was drafted by a Muslim organization, EmgageUSA (formerly EmergeUSA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). On April 6, 2017, EmgageUSA wrote the following on their Facebook page:
“Thanks to the hard work of Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Susan Collins and Senator Kamala Harris we have achieved the approval of Senate Resolution 118, an anti-hate crimes bill drafted by Emerge-USA. It is days like this that Americans are reminded of this country’s founding principles: equal opportunity, freedom, justice. We are proud to help support the protection of these rights #amoreperfectunion #theamericandream”.
Senate Resolution 118 calls on
“…Federal law enforcement officials, working with State and local officials… to expeditiously investigate all credible reports of hate crimes and incidents and threats against minorities in the United States and to hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring the perpetrators to justice; encourages the Department of Justice and other Federal agencies to work to improve the reporting of hate crimes; and… encourages the development of an interagency task force led by the Attorney General to collaborate on the development of effective strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crime in order to protect minority communities…”
The resolution refers to hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, Hindus, and Sikhs and was sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris and co-sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Senator Susan Collins.
On April 6, almost the exact same text was introduced as House Resolution H.Res. 257, “Condemning hate crime and any other form of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States”. A House Resolution can be reintroduced as legislation.
H.Res. 257 urges
“…the development of an interagency task force led by the Attorney General and bringing together the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Department of State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to collaborate on the development of effective strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crime in order to protect minority communities”. The House Resolution was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary on April 6 and from there it was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on April 21.
Americans should be concerned about these resolutions, especially the part of the House Resolution, which urges the establishment of an “interagency task force led by the Attorney General … on the development of effective strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crime in order to protect minority communities.”
The United States Capitol building. (Image source: aoc.gov)
What is a hate crime in this context? The law already prohibits violence and threats of violence, and law enforcement authorities are supposed to prosecute those — intimidation, destruction, damage, vandalism, simple and aggravated assault. What do “strategies and efforts to detect and deter hate crime” entail, and again, what “hate crimes” are not already covered by the law? In other words, why would the House of Representatives find it necessary to make such redundant statements, if not in order to redefine the concept of a hate crime? Perhaps by including “hate speech”?
The US has been in a similar situation before. In December 2015, House Resolution H.Res. 569"Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States” was introduced. That resolution never went any farther, but it was problematic: it favored Muslims over everyone else. The current resolution includes most of the major ethnic and religious minorities in the United States, so it will have a far better chance of passing, as it will more easily fool Representatives into thinking that the contents of the resolution are harmless.
Read more here: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10544/criminalize-free-speech