Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Crime against Life

Dr. George Tiller, whose Wichita, Kansas, women's clinic has been the target of anti-abortion protests for years, was shot and killed at his church today, his attorneys said. The 67-year-old doctor was one of the few U.S. physicians who still performed late-term abortions. He survived a 1993 shooting outside his clinic.
So reads the CNN lede. What a tragedy, not only for Dr. Tiller and his family, but for the Pro-Life cause. This is the kind of savage act -- like the murder of Matthew Shepherd -- that gives credibility to the attacks on our moral traditions.

Just as we are all in some way complicit in the unspeakable crimes of Dr. Tiller, we are all tainted with the crime committed against him. All this will of course be lost on most, as this terrible murder is turned into a political bonanza by the pro-abortion forces. It will only be a matter of time before Hollywood turns Dr. Tiller's murder into a story of right-wing Christian terrorism -- the demented act of one deranged madman made into a specter which will be used to eclipse the savagery of the abortion industry.

The crime committed against Dr. Tiller and his family is simultaneously a propagantda tool that will be used to justfy the savage acts which Dr. Tiller routinely performed and championed.

A black day for us all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Please read these articles . . .

I write from a motel near the San Francisco airport. I just arrived from Fresno, where I did an interview this morning with the Catholic television station in Fresno. I leave tomorrow for the east coast and home.

Finally having a moment to relax, this afternoon I happened upon two articles which by pure coincidence -- or more likely providence -- I read one after the other. The experience of reading these two articles back-to-back is incredible. I urge you to find them and read them.

David Goldman has an absolutely stunning, and stunningly important, article in the current issue of First Things, entitled "Jewish Survival in a Gentile World." If you subscribe to First Things, you can access the article via the magazine's website, and if you aren't a subscriber, Goldman's article is worth the price of a subscription.

If you have any questions about its importance after you read it, by all means read Mark Steyn's article in Commentary entitled "Israel Today, the West Tomorrow." Steyn's article is here.

The theological importance of Goldman's article is stunning, as is the cultural and historical importance of Steyn's piece.

Be ready to have your worldview rearranged.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It boils down to this:

1. Without God our successes don’t make us happy and our failures don’t make us humble.
2. Without Christ, God becomes just another empty idea.
3. Without the Church, so does Christ.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The apples don't fall far from the tree . . .

Gil Costello

My dear friend, Gil Costello, one of the most amazing, inspiring, courageous, and irrepressibly joyful people I've ever known, (shown above) brought his grandson, Asher, to this morning's Emmaus Road Initiative session in Seattle. Young Asher, whose face was as pure and innocent as any child I've ever seen, worked quietly during our session, and when we adjourned, he handed me this drawing as a gift. Christ crucified.

Ah, it's little moments like this.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.

Here is a sobering and therefor consoling admonition from the author of "Self-abandonment to Divine Providence." It is an admonition, I think, that one can only apply to one's own trials, not to those of others, for to say such things in the face of the sufferings of others would be sanctimonious and entirely inappropriate. Nevertheless, tucked away for use when they become relevant -- as they most surely will -- these words are precious:
... never lose sight of the great and consoling truth that nothing happens in this world but by the order of God or at least by his divine permission, and that all that he wills or permits turns infallibly to the advantage of submissive and resigned souls. Even that which most upsets our spiritual plans turns into something which is better for us. Remain firmly attached to this great principle and the most violent storms will be unable to disturb the depths of your soul, although they may agitate your emotions which are, as it were, its surface.
From the Magnificat, Vol. 11, No. 3: May 2009.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Processing down the aisle . . .

"If I hear one more person say that the slippery slope argument doesn’t apply to gay marriage, I’m gonna scream." So says Ryan Sayre Patrico at the First Things blog.

In proof thereof, Patrico links to this, a glimpse at the antinomians' next romance with the death of romance, a picture of what's to come in the (not too distant) future:
“I want to walk down the street hand in hand in hand in hand and live together openly and proclaim our relationship,” says Sasha Lessin. “But also to have all those survivor and visitation rights and tax breaks and everything like that.” . . .

The Lessins' advocacy group, the Maui-based World Polyamory Association, is pushing for the next frontier of less-traditional codified relationships. This community has even come up with a name for what the rest of the world generally would call a committed threesome: the "triad."
Surely it will stop at three; don't you think?

I have friends who fear a return to paganism, but I don't think those moving in this direction have the energy of the ancient pagans, who came by their paganism honestly at least. Today's neo-pagans do, however, have the kind of relentless, resentful determination, a fascimile of real vitality. Like the Paisian mobs during the French Revolution, they draw more energy from the prospect of destroying the old order than they do from any real expectation that the new one of their own creation will be happier or more satisfying.

Therein lies the imperative of the "slippery slope." Extending the revolution to new areas provides the only relief from the tedium and despair of the post-revolutionary status quo.

And don't miss this . . .

David Goldman -- formerly aka: Spengler -- has a personal reflection on his First Things blogsite, which ends in a really beautiful way. Says Goldman:
Those who oppose love and fear of God miss the point. God self-reveals through love, and we come to know God through love – but to know the passionate God, the Bridegroom of Israel, is also to fear Him. I’m plenty scared. But I’ve stopped running.
It's here.

I told you so . . .

I said that Thomas Sowell was one of the most level-headed and insightful public intellectuals writing today, and here he is proving me right:
There is a reason why Lady Justice wears a blindfold. There are things that courts are not supposed to see or recognize when making their decisions — the race you belong to, whether you are rich or poor, and other personal things that could bias decisions by judges and juries.

It is an ideal that a society strives for, even if particular judges or juries fall short of that ideal. Now, however, Pres. Barack Obama has repudiated the ideal itself by saying that he wants to appoint judges with “empathy” for particular groups.

This was not an isolated slip of the tongue. Barack Obama said the same thing during last year’s election campaign. Moreover, it is completely consistent with his behavior and associations over a period of years — and inconsistent with fundamental principles of American government and society.

Nor is this President Obama’s only attempt to remake American society. Barack Obama’s vision of America is one in which a president of the United States can fire the head of General Motors, tell bankers how to bank, control the medical system, and take charge of all sorts of other activities for which neither he nor most other politicians have any expertise or experience.

The Constitution of the United States gives no president, nor the entire federal government, the authority to do such things. But spending trillions of dollars to bail out all sorts of companies buys the power to tell them how to operate.

Appointing to the federal courts — including the Supreme Court — judges who believe in expanding the powers of the federal government to make arbitrary decisions, choosing who will be winners and losers in the economy and in the society, is perfectly consistent with a vision of the world where self-confident and self-righteous elites rule according to their own notions, instead of merely governing under the restraints of the Constitution.

If all this can be washed down with pious talk about “empathy,” so much the better for those who want to remake America. Now that the Obama administration has a congressional majority that is virtually unstoppable, and media that are wholly uncritical, the chances of preventing the president from putting someone on the Supreme Court who shares his desire to turn America into a different country are slim or none.
Don't despair. Sowell offers hope. Read it all here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Palate Cleanser from G. K. Chesterton

My father was a convert to Catholicism. I have the same name that both my father and my grandfather had -- and as far as that goes my son has the same name as well, but I have repeated told him that as soon as we get this "Gilbert Hunt Bailie" right we can quit this nonsense.

Anyway, since my father was a convert, and despite the fact that his father was Gilbert Hunt Bailie too, I fancy the idea that one factor in his decision to continue the Bailie family assault on individuality by naming his son, yet again, GHB was that he was fond of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. He (my father) got himself bombed by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge, so I never got to ask him. I'm told that he (my father, who never laid eyes on me -- he was off fighting the Germans who eventually bombed him to death) had a great sense of humor, and anyone with a great sense of humor must have one of England's greatest converts, Gilbert K. Chesterton, as an unofficial patron saint.

All of which is my excuse for quoting this typically Chestertonian bon mot, which is not entirely irrelevant to this weblog's recent dust-up:
If our aunts ought to have been able to hear of immorality without fainting, surely our nephews might brace themselves to hear about morality without throwing an epileptic fit.

Other angles on the same issue

As though who know me well know, I would love to wish away this entire conversation, but those driving the agenda won't let that happen. After ever short lull in the tightening of the screws there comes the next twist. H.B. 1913 is just the most recent.

So, since it seems we're destined to talk about the issue of "hate crime" legislation a bit longer, here is a little more input. Don't give up half way through it, for it concludes with the wisdom of someone who richly deserves the last word on this issue, as on so many others, Thomas Sowell, one of the most thoughtful public intellectuals of our time.

First, this just in from WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh:
The leader of a pro-family organization says families across the nation need to contact their U.S. senators now to try to derail a legislative plan that already has passed the U.S. House and is being awaited by President Obama – after a Democrat confirmed that it would protect "all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or 'paraphilias' listed by the American Psychiatric Association." . . .

The proposal, formally called the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act after a Wyoming homosexual who was killed in a horrific robbery and beating in 1998, creates a special class for homosexuals and others with alternative sexual lifestyles and provides them protections against so-called "hate."

It specifically denies such protections to other targeted classes of citizens such as pastors, Christians, missionaries, veterans and the elderly.
WND columnist Janet Porter offered this:
"I've written extensively about how this bill would criminalize Christianity and turn those who disagree with the homosexual agenda into felons, but criminalizing Christianity is just the beginning of what this bill would do. It would also elevate pedophiles as a special protected class – since the term 'sexual orientation' which has been added to the 'hate crimes' legislation includes them in the American Psychiatric Association's definition of various 'sexual orientations."
Porter cited the amendment offering from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in committee that was very simple:
The term sexual orientation as used in this act or any amendments to this act does not include pedophilia.

But majority Democrats refused to accept that.
Congressman Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, then explained what that means:
If a mother hears that their child has been raped and she slaps the assailant with her purse, she is now gone after as a hate criminal because this is a protected class. There are other protected classes in here. I mean simple exhibitionism. I have female friends who have told me over the years that some guy flashed them, and their immediate reaction was to hit them with their purse. Well now, he's committed a misdemeanor, she has committed a federal hate crime because the exhibitionism is protected under sexual orientation.
Congressman Gohmert added:
And having reviewed cases as an appellate judge, I know that when the legislature has the chance to include a definition and refuses, then what we look at is the plain meaning of those words. The plain meaning of sexual orientation is anything to which someone is orientated. That could include exhibitionism, it could include necrophilia (sexual arousal/activity with a corpse) … it could include Urophilia (sexual arousal associated with urine), voyeurism. You see someone spying on you changing clothes and you hit them, they've committed a misdemeanor, you've committed a federal felony under this bill. It is so wrong.
According to Porter, Congressman King told the full U.S. House that the APA has a list of 547 different "paraphilias" that would be protected by members of Congress under the "hate crimes" plan.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a "hate crimes" supporter, agreed, saying:
This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these 'Philias' and fetishes and 'ism's' that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule…"
Porter said families, parents, Americans, anyone interested in the future of the nation, needs to contact their members in the Senate and demand hearings, then demand a filibuster.

"Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered, cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection while children, seniors, veterans, and churches would not," Porter said.
The "hate crimes" proposal not only sets up criminal charges against those whose actions or words offend homosexuals but also provides money "to improve the education and training of local officials to identify, investigate, prosecute and prevent hate crimes."

President Obama, supported strongly during his campaign by homosexual advocates, appears ready to respond to their desires.

"I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect ALL of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance," he said.
Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission said the Senate proposal could be voted on in committee as early as tomorrow. (my upper case emphasis)

"You must call the Senate today and demand that they hold hearings on this bill," he wrote. "It is one of the most radical pieces of legislation to ever make its way to the Senate. If passed, it will lay the groundwork for restricting religious liberty and freedom of speech as it has in Canada and Europe."

Gohmert warned the law will be used against pastors – or anyone else – who speaks against homosexuality or other alternative sexual lifestyle choices. He said it provides that anyone who through speech "induces" commission of a violent hate crime "will be tried as a principal" alongside the active offender.
Critics say that would allow for prosecutions against pastors who preach a biblical ban on homosexuality if someone who hears such a message later is accused of any crime.
Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said, "A pastor's sermon could be considered 'hate speech' under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on 'sexual orientation.' The pastor could be prosecuted for 'conspiracy to commit a hate crime'" she said.
Those who think these concerns are exaggerated have not been paying attention and remain naive about how methodically committed those driving this agenda are to imposing a thoroughly post-Christian moral order on our society -- one that implicitly declares that there is no such thing as sexual deviancy -- and to impose this worldview with the help of a pliant and empathetic judiciary.

I say "empathetic" of course in reference to President Obama's single enunciated criteria for appointing the next Supreme Court justice. And it is on that score that we need to turn to Thomas Sowell:
Justice David Souter's retirement from the Supreme Court presents President Barack Obama with his first opportunity to appoint someone to the High Court. People who are speculating about whether the next nominee will be a woman, a Hispanic or whatever, are missing the point.

That we are discussing the next Supreme Court justice in terms of group "representation" is a sign of how far we have already strayed from the purpose of law and the weighty responsibility of appointing someone to sit for life on the highest court in the land.

That President Obama has made "empathy" with certain groups one of his criteria for choosing a Supreme Court nominee is a dangerous sign of how much further the Supreme Court may be pushed away from the rule of law and toward even more arbitrary judicial edicts to advance the agenda of the left and set it in legal concrete, immune from the democratic process.

Would you want to go into court to appear before a judge with "empathy" for groups A, B and C, if you were a member of groups X, Y or Z? Nothing could be further from the rule of law. That would be bad news, even in a traffic court, much less in a court that has the last word on your rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Appoint enough Supreme Court justices with "empathy" for particular groups and you would have, for all practical purposes, repealed the 14th Amendment, which guarantees "equal protection of the laws" for all Americans.

We would have entered a strange new world, where everybody is equal but some are more equal than others. The very idea of the rule of law would become meaningless when it is replaced by the empathies of judges.
Barack Obama solves this contradiction, as he solves so many other problems, with rhetoric. If you believe in the rule of law, he will say the words "rule of law." And if you are willing to buy it, he will keep on selling it.

Those people who just accept soothing words from politicians they like are gambling with the future of a nation. When you buy words, you had better know what you are buying. . . .
Some people say that who Barack Obama appoints to replace Justice Souter doesn't really matter, because Souter is a liberal who will probably be replaced by another liberal. But, if no one sounds the alarm now, we can end up with a series of appointees with "empathy"-- which is to say, with justices who think their job is to "relieve the distress" of particular groups, rather than to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

"Progress" . . .

Optimism is often enough the deadly enemy of hope, the theological virtue that comes into play precisely when the sobering facts of the fallen human condition intrude with all their irrefutability.

Once optimism has been replaced by hope, what exactly would the idea of "progress" look like?

Here's a thought: As shocked as our great-grandparents would have been had they lived to see the moral and social degradation of our age, hope might be measured by our ability to believe that, looking back on our age, our great-grandchildren will be even more shocked by it.

Henri de Lubac

Those who, by receiving Christ, have received all, have been raised up for the salvation of those who could not know him. Their privilege constitutes a mission. There is no other way for them to keep their riches, for in the spiritual order "only that is possessed which is given away," and so they will keep them only if they give them away.

Monday, May 04, 2009

From the sidelines . . .

There's been so much follow-up -- no surprise there -- to my admittedly rushed and impressionistic take on the upcoming "hate-crime" legislation. As always, I'm grateful to my friends -- in this case, especially Mark -- for taking up the task of clarification. I apologize for abandoning the field, but sundry other matters have taken me away. In any case, Mark seems to be handling things quite well. But so as not to leave it all on his shoulders, here's something that caught my eye today.
A Virginia congressman says the anti-Christian hatred and bigotry of homosexual blogger Perez Hilton and his supporters underscores one of the fallacies undergirding federal "hate crimes" legislation.

Congressional backers of the federal hate crimes bill that recently passed the House repeatedly claim that it will help ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans. They also argue that the bill does not threaten free speech, but merely punishes acts of violence motivated by hate.

Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Virginia) is a former ranking member of the Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, and founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. He recently took to the House floor and provided a powerful example of how the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act" does not ensure equality under the law.

Randy ForbesCongressman Forbes compared the protection Miss California Carrie Prejean would receive under the bill to the special protection homosexual blogger and Miss USA judge Perez Hilton would have been afforded.

"Had [Hilton] done what he said he would do and stormed that stage and pulled that tiara off [Prejean's] head and [inflicted] bodily harm when he did it, there would not have been one ounce of protection under this piece of legislation for that young girl," Forbes stated.

"But after he did it, if she had in response made a statement back about the very sexual orientation that had led him to his hatred and dislike for her, and if she had responded by slapping him or any physical injury, she would have had the potential of a ten-year federal piece of legislation coming against her."

The Virginia Republican also argued that if beauty contestant's father had rushed onto the stage at the Miss USA pageant and responded to Hilton's hatred in a physical way, he would have been open to prosecution under the hate crimes bill as well.
From OneNewsNow

And then there is a North Carolina bill that follows a predictably similar pattern, referred to here:
North Carolina bishops warn: bullying bill could help pave way to same-sex marriage.

Bishops Peter Jugis of Charlotte and Michael Burbidge of Raleigh are urging North Carolina’s Catholics to oppose the “School Violence Protection Act” (also known as the “Bullying Bill”) because the bill lists gender identity and sexual orientation among the “specific differentiating characteristics that result in bullying or harassment.” The bishops explain:

"We agree that bullying or harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation is reprehensible and should not be tolerated. However, there is also a highly problematic consequence to the inclusion of these two specific differentiating characteristics should it become law. In three states that have a law similar to SB526, the law was used as part of a lawsuit to persuade a judge or court to mandate same-sex marriage. We believe the passage of SB526 into law could be the precursor of actions by our legislature and/or our courts to mandate same-sex marriage in our state because it has occurred already in three other states."
The point, as I said in my original post, is that legislation that regards violence -- or bullying -- against some people as more worthy of legal and prosecutorial attention than violence or bullying against other people is a dangerous precedent with serious collateral cultural implications.

Courage in a time of accommodation

If, as seems likely, the Boston Globe is the next ship in the New York Times convoy to sink, another voice in today's Pravda-media chorus will have been silenced. Who can complain? The only concern is: what will happen to Jeff Jacoby, a Globe columnist of great integrity who, in a recent column, celebrated precisely the kind of moral courage which he himself exemplifies. He wrote of the courage of the Harvard professor Mary Ann Glendon and the Miss USA Pageant contestant Carrie Prejean.
At first glance, Carrie Prejean and Mary Ann Glendon could hardly seem more dissimilar. Prejean is a 21-year-old California beauty queen and model; Glendon is a Harvard law professor and a former US ambassador to the Vatican. What they have in common is a greater respect for honesty than for political correctness, and for the obligations of moral witness than for their own personal prestige.

Glendon made news last week when she refused to accept the University of Notre Dame's illustrious Laetare Medal, the oldest and most distinguished honor in American Catholic life. The medal was to have been presented on May 17, when President Barack Obama will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address. Notre Dame is the nation's foremost Catholic university, and its decision to honor Obama -- an ardent supporter of unrestricted abortion rights -- has been sharply criticized, especially by Catholics who share their church's deep opposition to abortion.

In a letter to Notre Dame's president, Glendon expressed dismay that the university would bestow a high honor on someone so hostile to such a fundamental Catholic principle, in flat disregard of church guidelines. Worse, it was using her expected appearance to deflect criticism, suggesting in its "talking points" that Obama's address to the graduates would be balanced by Glendon's brief acceptance remarks. Unwilling to let her presence be exploited in this way, she chose to renounce the medal.

Unlike Glendon, who had weeks to reflect before making her decision, Prejean had only seconds. In the final round of the recent Miss USA Pageant, Prejean was asked by one of the judges -- a homosexual gossip blogger who calls himself Perez Hilton -- whether she thought every state should legalize same-sex marriage. It was, she later said, the question she dreaded most -- "I prayed I would not be asked about gay marriage" -- knowing that an honest answer would hurt her chances of winning.

Nevertheless, she gave the honest answer. "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other," Miss California replied, but "I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be -- between a man and a woman."

As she foresaw, the crown went to another contestant. What she may not have foreseen was the wave of hostility and condemnation that followed. Immediately after the pageant, the judge who had asked the question publicly berated her, snarling in an online video: "Miss California lost because she's a dumb bitch." (In an even uglier postscript, he later said that he had actually wanted to call Prejean "the C-word.") California pageant officials slammed her, too; "religious beliefs," one wrote, "have no place in politics in the Miss CA family." The Miss California USA organization even issued a statement denouncing Prejean for "her opportunistic agenda." Village Voice columnist Michael Musto went on Keith Olbermann's TV show to slander Prejean as "dumb and twisted . . . a human Klaus Barbie doll."

Throughout the uproar, Prejean has remained gracious and calm, steadfastly refusing to demonize those who have been demonizing her.

It is not always easy to have the courage of one's convictions, to turn down honor for the sake of truth, or to resist the pressure to be politically correct. A law professor and a beauty queen have just shown us how it is done.
May the kudos Jacoby so appropriately lavished on Glendon and Prejean rebound on him, and may his voice of clarity and courage continue to be heard.

The Quote of the Day

"Morality has gotten a bad rap." -- Bob Dylan

From Joe Klein’s review of Together Through Life, in the May 11 edition of Time.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Thoughts on the Lord's Day

Writes David Bentley Hart:
The Christian understanding of evil has always been more radical and fantastic than that of any theodicist; for it denies from the outset that suffering, death, and evil have any ultimate meaning at all. Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catstrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world, that cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe languishes in bondage to "powers" and "principalities" -- spiritual and terrestial -- alien to God.
Hart is surely right to add:
When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly suffering . . . no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities about God's inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this mysteriously serves God's good ends.
But the alternative to this sort of cold-blooded theological optimism is not dumbfoundedness in the face of suffering, but rather something like what the British mystic and poet, Caryll Houselander, offers:
That which in our eyes seems unjust is often the extreme logic of love which is justice. It seems unjust to to us, when young men in the Maytime of their lives, and often the gentlest of them, must go to war and be slain, when the poet must die with the poem still in his heart, the lover with his love still unconsummated.

But it is Christ on the cross who dies all their deaths. In him, in the Word of God's love, all poetry is uttered; in him, the Incarnate Love, all love is consummated. On the field of Calvary, the battle between love and death is fought which restores the kingdom of heaven to the children whom Satan has despoiled.
The mystery to which the Christian bears witness may well leave non-Christians thunderstruck, but the spiritual value of being thunderstuck is undeniable.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Totalitarian Tolerance

The House has approved H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, whose chief sponsor is Congressman Barney Frank, whom, by the way, I saw holding forth with a few admirers at the Boston airport this afternoon.) The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will probably pass on a party-line vote. The bill treats violence against some people as more heinous and worthy of more punishment than violence against other people.

Robert Gagnon, Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary puts it this way:
Support for a “hate” bill that enshrines “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into federal law (note that it is not yet so enshrined) does not mean merely that you oppose hateful, violent acts against persons who self-identify as homosexuals, transsexuals, and cross-dressers. Laws are already in place protecting persons who identify as homosexual or transgendered. They are the same laws that protect all of us from violent physical or verbal attacks.

Support for such a bill means, in effect, that you are in favor of the federal government taking an official, legal stance that opposition to homosexual practice and transgenderism of any sort is hatred and bigotry akin to virulent racism and liable to state prosecution. Any statement against such homosexual practice or transgenderism could be prosecuted as an “incitement” or “inducement” of others to violence, no matter how loving and rational that expression of opposition may be.
H. R. 1913 is not the end but the beginning, and the process that it inaugurates is one that will -- in due course -- intimidate, censure, and criminalize those who fail to capitulate to the post-Christian moral make-over that illiberal liberalism is now in the process of making mandatory.

As the "hate-crime" legislation to the Senate for a vote, it might be worthwhile to look a little farther down the road to where it will lead. It's really about singling out certain people or a certain class of people for special consideration in the enforcement of laws written for everyone.

This from an article in Australia entitled, appropriately, "Thought Police Muscle Up in Britain."
Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government's anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: "If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you." Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: "If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings." It took him five years to clear his name.

Page was at least an adult. In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher's first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: "It's racist, you're going to get done by the police!" Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offense and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: "An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form."
The Orwellian mind is at work, filled with puritanical zeal.