CALIFORNIA, December 1, 2013 — The recent spate of “knockout attacks” is a cruel reminder of how brazen and cruel some youth have become. These violent acts are not only gutless; they reflect values more akin to the animal kingdom than for someone created in the image of God.
And what’s the media’s first response to this supposed game? They’re labeled as hate crimes, as if that means they’re more reprehensible than other acts of violence. But calling it a hate crime doesn’t equate to more justice in society; it only results in more severe, selective punishment.
Obviously, knockout attacks are more newsworthy if there’s a pattern of victims involved. But the most dominant racial or ethnic presence in a community will naturally be the most common target of crimes. And will the inevitable copy-cat assaults against random victims be prosecuted as hate crimes, or merely as less important criminal acts?
Make no mistake, the targeting of Jews, women, children, white males, homosexuals or any chance bystander for violence is repulsive no matter what the motive. In fact, from a justice standpoint, when someone attacks an innocent person it makes no difference if the victim is loathed by the criminal or the attack is to impress buddies or win a bet; for the victim, the result’s the same.
Unprovoked harm towards others is hatred of God’s righteous standard (Matthew 22:39) and the conscience designed into us all (Romans 2:14-15). It shows disdain for the dignity that decent people are taught to show each other because of the intrinsic worth God has given to life (Genesis 1:27). This type of hatred has been around since the fall of man (Genesis 3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23) and is one reason why God instituted government: to punish evil in a just manner (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-14).
But unfortunately, hate crime laws aren’t designed to be just.
Let’s be realistic, artificially defining different classes of victims based on what’s in the mind or heart of the criminal doesn’t serve justice. It creates a malleable justice system subject to the political winds of the day instead of treating victims with equality under the law. This equal worth concept is a world-changing principle that’s deeply rooted in scripture and beautifully illustrated for Christians in Galatians 3:28.
So, do hate crime laws really create categories of victims who are less important than others?
If a black man murders another black man, why would this ever be thought of as less consequential or egregious than if a white man murders a black man? If a homosexual murders another homosexual, why should the law treat this differently than if a heterosexual murders a homosexual? The result of each murder is the same, whether the degree of hatred harbored by the murderer is casual, impulsive or deeply ingrained.
Not surprisingly, the mentality behind the creation of hate crimes is the same relativistic mentality that severely punishes non-violent protestors of abortion clinics yet sees no problem with a mother destroying the life of her own baby. It’s the same mentality that wants to make capital punishment illegal and give more rights to serial murderers, yet is unconcerned with ensuring that justice is accomplished for the victims.
Scripture clearly teaches that justice is to be impartial and proportionate to the crime (Proverbs 17:15; 18:5; 24:23-25; Exodus 21:24-25; Leviticus 24:20-22; Deuteronomy 19:21; Numbers 15:15-16). In fact, this understanding has guided justice throughout most of our nation’s history. Unfortunately, political correctness has successfully used hate crimes to increase levels of punishment based on a criminal’s biases and beliefs.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see where this slippery slope mindset will lead: the criminalizing of what’s thought to contribute to someone’s hate filled heart, things like “hate speech.”
Given today’s moral relativism, violent films, repulsive video games and hate filled music won’t be traced to violent crimes. But proclaiming the scriptural truth that only one man and one woman constitute a valid marriage (Genesis 2:24), that the unborn are human beings deserving of protection (Psalm 139:13-16), and that homosexuality is contrary to God’s design (Romans 1:18-32) are ripe for labeling as hate speech. These are likely targets for legal suppression.
Only God can accurately judge the heart, and man’s heart is capable of all kinds of evil if it’s not in submission to the divine authority we’re all accountable to (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). The best we should expect from our system of justice is that it impartially judge criminal actions, not inner thoughts, and provide equal protection to all.
If this is done, justice will be served.
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