Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Sen. Jim Demint denounces the Democrats’ new Hate Crimes amendment

UPDATE: NEW MUST-SEE Jim Demint video has been posted here on the the failed stimulus bills and Obamacare!

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from the Corner (National Review)! Thanks for the link from Mark Steyn!

UPDATE: Welcome Canadian readers from Blazing Cat Fur! Guess what? The Democrats are trying to pass laws that will make us just like you!

Canadian readers, pay close attention, the second half of the video is all about you.

Here’s the video of my favorite Senator Jim Demint: (11:44)

You can read about how Christians are persecuted in Canada here:

But what about the right to free speech here, in the USA?

Why did some Christians vote (indirectly) for anti-Christian policies?

There are 3 themes on the Wintery Knight blog.

  1. Christians must appeal to public knowledge when defending their faith
  2. Social conservatives need to become fiscal conservatives
  3. Fiscal conservatives need to become social conservatives

Regarding point #2. It has come to my attention that some well-meaning Christians, who are apparently socially and theologically conservative, nevertheless voted for Obama, because they are opposed to fiscal conservatism and small government.

Specifically, they don’t believe in things like:

  • lowering taxes
  • decreasing government or union regulations
  • shrinking the size of government
  • preserving the rule of law
  • protecting private property
  • protecting the free market and free trade
  • protecting liberty and personal responsibility

Here is a breakdown of which Christian denominations voted for Obama:

2008 voting broken by religious groups

2008 voting broken by religious groups

(Click for full-sized image, courtesy of Pew Research)

For the record, I am an ethnic evangelical Protestant. You can read all about how I became a Christian and the list of arguments for and against Christian theism.

On this blog, I examine policies like cap-and-trade, socialized medicine and tariffs. I argue that these policies are bad for the poor. All it takes to understand the economics is a little bit of study. Christians need to study these issues so that they are not deceived by their emotions when it comes time to vote. Otherwise, we will not only hurt the poor, but we will also lose the freedoms we need to live our lives as Christians.

We should not be so envious of our neighbor’s prosperity that we are willing to sell our religious liberty and free speech rights in order to punish their success. We should not be coveting our neighbor’s goods. We should not be stealing from our neighbor, either. Instead, we should try to improve the nation’s prosperity without involving the government. And we can start by working harder, saving more and spending less.

Further study

You might be interested in Jim Demint’s book “Why We Whisper“, which I bought but have not yet finished.

If you’d like to hear more from Jim Demint, he did a 51-minute Town Hall for the Heritage Foundation on the Sotomayor nomination.

For more about free speech in Canada, see these previous posts:

For two technical articles discussing property rights and the poor, take a look at these two articles from New Zealand philosopher Matt Flanagan.

And here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. His new book is called “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem“. To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture about the book. Here is a series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics?.(a PDF outline is here)

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14 Responses

  1. Rebekah says:

    For further reading:

    HRC fined Presbyterian church $600,000 over treatment of female minister

    http://www.canadianchristianity.com/nationalupdates/070607rights.html

    HRC complaint brought against Catholic church for firing of gay alter server.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/07/16/michael-coren-the-faithful-don-t-challenge-the-faith.aspx

    Rebekah
    missmarprelate.blogspot.com

  2. Joyce H says:

    He’s impressive.

    A 2012 possibility?

  3. MandM says:

    Senator Jim Demint on Proposed Hate Crimes Amendment …

    The Senator rightly highlights the proposed wording no one shall be prosecuted “solely” on the basis of their religious beliefs which seems to imply that one might be able to be prosecuted partly on the basis of their religious beliefs;…

  4. Matt says:

    I don’t agree with all the Senator’s arguments, he seems to oppose the idea that some crimes are worse than others yet distinctions between manslaughter and murder and provocation and discretion in sentences, and so on, is premised on the fact that some crimes are more severe than others.

    I also contest his notion that determining the severity of the crime does not depend on the status of the victim; surely a person beats to death a little child has done something worse than a person who beats to death a person of equal strength in a pub brawl?

    However, where I think his argument is poignant is when he notes that the proposed hate crimes amendment will take into account a person’s political and religious beliefs in determining the severity of the crime. In other words, a person can be prosecuted for what they believe, provided they engage in a criminal activity.

    The Senator rightly highlights the proposed wording, no one shall be prosecuted “solely” on the basis of their religious beliefs, which seems to imply that one might be able to be prosecuted partly on the basis of their religious beliefs; I also agree with his question why, if the bill is simply about criminal activity, this amendment even needs to be there especially in light of the first amendment?

    Thanks for the video. Let’s hope the amendment fails.

    • Jeffrey A. Wilcox says:

      Matt’s opposition to Sen. Demint’s argument seems to me ill-placed on a couple of points. First, the senator’s argument does not prima facie counter – or even really address – the legal distinction and thus the punishment administered between certain types of crimes (Matt’s comparison of manslaughter to murder). An act’s being determined to be manslaughter rather than murder is finally premised upon whether or not the preponderance of evidence suggests intent in an individual’s death (and thus a murder charge) or whether that individual’s death occurs as an ancilary (albeit tragic) result of another activity (reckless use of handgun, vehicle, etc.). The charge and subsequent punishment for the crime is premised on the act itself and not the state of mind (religious convictions, political pursuasion, etc.) of the individual during the commission of said act.

      Secondly, the suggestion that an individual’s particular identity (racial, sexual identity, age, etc.) in and of itself makes them more deserving of justice than another individual without that particular identity defies the constitutional precedence of equal protection. All persons under the US constitution are protected against anything that inhibits his/her pursuit of “life, liberty and the pursuits of happiness.” that I may hate someone based on the color of their skin or who they choose to have sex with, as odious as that may be, so long as I do not engage in an actual act that keeps that person from pursuing LL&PH I have not violated that law in any way. Furthermore, WHY I might choose to murder someone – besides its making no practical difference in that end that the person is in fact dead – is not an aspect of the crime that is open to the machinations of justice; For justice to be blind (and therefore equal) it must be dispassionately preoccupied with the crime itself and not the particular identity of the principals in the crime, victim OR perp.

      There is a distinction between what is morally reprehensible and what is legally prosecutable and I am afraid that to make a person’s state of mind (other than intention) a determining factor in why and how a “crime” is prosecuted is to blur that distiction beyond recognition. It seems also to me to reduce the ethical to the juridical, a rather unfortunate conflation of categories. There are many things in life that are unethical but that are not at the same time illegal.

      • Matt says:

        As far as I can tell you don’t my point at all. All I said about murder and man slaughter is that murder is worse crime than man slaughter, therefore some crimes are worse than others, to oppose hate crimes on the grounds that no assaults are worse than others is therefore mistaken.

        Nor did I state that the racial or religious identity of a victim means they are more deserving of protection so your arguments to this effect are also moot. I did suggest that a person who beats up a little child has done something worse and more deserving of punishment than a person who beats up another person of equal strength. But that’s not because some racial or gender groups are more deserving of protection.

        Moreover I stated clearly I opposed hate crimes legislation for reasons similar to what you affirm. So nothing you state actually applies to what I said.

  5. Madeleine says:

    I loved his imagery and the way he took the slogans that proponents of hate crimes legislation tend to use and turned them back on them.

  6. Omar says:

    Another objectionable feature of these types of thought based crimes: the beneficiaries of the legislation tend to be political favored constituencies, while the prosecutions tend to focus on unpopular constituencies – all as defined by a certain class of secular liberal elite. So in the admittedly extreme case of Canada for example, we’ve seen Christians prosecuted for voicing traditional biblical objections to homosexuality, while imams who spew genocidal hatred against Jews completely ignored (since by definition, Muslims can only be victims, never perpetrators.) . . This administration has already demonstrated a penchant for politicisation of prosecutions as we have seen in the recent decision to drop an extremely clear and egregious case of voter intimidation this past November involving a club wielding clique of black panthers obstructing the entrance of a polling station.

    • Great comment! This is exactly what happens in Canada. All complaints by Christians, straight white males, etc. are never prosecuted. They are IGNORED by the Human Rights Commissions. It’s all about the politics.

  7. kevin says:

    Many reading these comments are familiar with the book, but for those who are not, Ezra Levant’s “Shakedown” (intro by Steyn) is mandatory reading- and very readable too.

    A disturbing (and often darkly amusing) account of the sheer insanity and distorted “justice” of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commissions.

    Freedom-loving Americans citizens beware!

  8. Madeleine says:

    A lot of Christians make the mistake of confusing the duty to help the poor with statist welfare policies. They miss the distinctions between perfect and imperfect duties. My co-blogger Matt, who, as you know Wintery Knight, is a professional Philosopher of Religion and Theologian, wrote this blog series on the correct biblical approach:
    What About the Poor? Sustenance Rights Examined
    What About the Poor? More on Sustenance Rights
    The posts are very thorough and examine Nicholas Wolterstorff’s defence of welfare rights – though Matt offers a critique and modification.

  9. [...] many times on the same type of legislation that has prosecuted Believers in Canada:  Jim DeMint speakson the appallingly drafted “hate crimes” legislation whose language opens all kinds of [...]

  10. [...] go to Wintery Knight Blog and see the post he has up accompanying the video. I have never seen the guy put out trash. In [...]

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