ADL WANTS TEA PARTIES GAGGED
By Rev. Ted Pike
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says alleged racial slurs by Tea Party protesters against Congress members in March are “hate speech” and not protected by the First Amendment. According to ADL, Tea Party protesters “crossed the line” with racial slurs against black congressmen.
Such slurs, ADL head Abe Foxman contends, “are not constitutionally protected and require a strong legal response.”
Really? Such slurs are socially repugnant—and often unconstitutionally prosecuted under ADL-inspired state and local hate crime statutes. But racial, “homophobic,” and “anti-Semitic” slurs are protected by the First Amendment. Threat of imminent violence against a congressman is illegal.
But tolerance of slurs as well as profane, obscene and blasphemous speech is a necessary side effect of America’s unique efforts to protect speech as much as possible. The government can’t prosecute people for hurting others’ feelings. Several months ago, Democratic leadership responded to North Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s public accusation that President Obama was a “liar” by severely limiting congressional members’ freedom to criticize the president. If Republican and Democrat leadership take Foxman’s advice and go a step further, they will criminalize perhaps offensive, yet constitutionally protected, speech by Tea Party participants as well.
How would this draconian speech ban be enforced? By ADL’s readymade federal “hate crimes” law. The hate crimes law criminalizes not just violent crimes involving hatred but also “general bias crimes against persons or property.” ADL considers public slurs against protected groups a hate crime in the dozens of hate crime bureaucracies it has created worldwide. If Congress follows its recommendations, the Justice Department could initiate test indictments for statements that are racially or sexually derisive.
In appeals courts, “liberal” judges would likely uphold “the federal interest,” outlawing the bias and words that ostensibly lead to “crimes of prejudice.” The hate law would thus morph into a full-blown speech crimes law. With such precedent the government could also criminalize much “seditious,” “violence-inciting” and “terrorist” hate speech at Tea Party protests and online.
The hate law is also meant to “prevent” hate crimes. This suggests a federal mandate to discourage the biased thoughts and words the government views as causing hate crimes. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is also meant to prosecute hate crimes “and for other purposes”—purposes known only to its framer, the ADL.
The ADL just produced a 20-page report, “Violent Voices: Anti-Government Extremism Takes on New Intensity.” The report gives examples of “hate speech” now proliferating on the Internet and suggests these words will lead to violence.
Freedom of speech and conscience should mean that if Americans believe a member of Congress truly betrayed our nation and Constitution they have the right to say so. In the early 1950s, Americans demanded the execution of atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Today, they have the same right to the opinion that, following due process, execution of a treasonous public official is justified. A government guilty of treason also deserves a violent end. This last, desperate option is upheld by the Constitution, and millions now believe revolution may be publicly advocated lawfully.
Contrary to ADL’s depiction of such verbal sentiment as hateful, this view springs primarily from patriotic conviction, not “hate.” Although countless Americans may now hold this opinion, it does not mean they intend to imminently execute traitors. It is not in the same category as sending an email to one’s congressman, threatening to kill him at his next town hall meeting.
Yet if the ADL is successful in making slurs indictable, soon all who “threaten” government officials through “uncivil” speech could be viewed as hate criminals. Several years ago, a Canadian angrily emailed his member of Parliament for permitting excessive immigration. The MP filed hate crime charges under the ADL’s Canadian hate laws, and the charges were upheld. Since the number of Americans now uttering “seditious” sentiments is so large, the ADL is clearly beginning to condition the public to believe that sweeping legislative action and prosecution may be necessary to preserve order.
The vulnerability of Tea Party members to such prosecution is heightened by the efforts of the organized Jewish left to infiltrate Tea Party meetings with “agents provocateurs.” These activists want to bring the Tea Party into disrepute through manufactured abuses.
What will keep these Jewish provocateurs, shouting slurs, from themselves being indicted under possible hate law enforcement? Simple. Attorney General Eric Holder made perfectly clear last spring in the hate bill’s Senate Judiciary hearing that Jews are protected from indictment under the hate law. Meanwhile, indicted whites, Christians and conservatives face at least triple penalties. If the Tea Party and “far-right” activists and survivalist groups can retain self-control for the next six months, both the Senate and House can be restructured at midterms in November.
If the present populist revolt fails, America will probably plunge into the same fatalistic hopelessness. Is there hope? Yes, if we don’t destroy ourselves.
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian conservative watchdog organization.
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(Issue # 18, May 5, 2010)