"The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the passage of the Matthew Shepard Amendment to the Defense Department authorization bill that for the first time punishes hate crimes without infringing on free speech. The amendment, offered by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR), will broaden the definition of hate crimes and give more resources to local districts unable to investigate them single-handedly.....
In the past, the ACLU has not endorsed hate crimes legislation because the organization found that earlier versions of the legislation would have had a chilling effect on free speech. Instead, this amendment only allows speech to be considered evidence of a hate crime if it directly relates to the specific act. As a result, no one will be prosecuted based on a book that he or she read, a meeting or religious service that the defendant once attended or a group in which he or she is a member - unless those speech activities specifically related to a violent hate crime.
"The hate crimes legislation is more protective of free speech than any other criminal law in the entire U.S. code," said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Chris Anders. "The amendment makes clear that violent hate crimes will be punished, but not mere thoughts, speech or belief. This legislation protects two fundamental American values because being able to live without the fear of being attacked just for being yourself is as American as the right to free speech."
Sounds great, eh? So nobody will be prosecuted MERELY for thoughts or words. That's true. What they omit to mention, however, that words uttered in the CHAIN OF EVENTS leading up to some act of violence are criminalized. So if your Rabbi remarks in your hearing that the Torah orders stoning for homosexuals (which it does) and you then go out and assault a homosexual, then your Rabbi has committed a crime.
Clearly, the ACLU does NOT believe in free speech. They are lying through their teeth.
This could be seen as quite antisemitic and anti-Muslim legislation. Christians of course believe that homosexuals will be punished by God only (Romans chapter 1)
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