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The Criminalization of Truth

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Let me introduce you to a little number called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592). With the election of a Democrat-controlled Congress, this pernicious piece of legislation has been voted out of the House Judiciary Committee and submitted to the full House of Representatives for a vote, which could have occurred by the time you read this column.

There has been a storm of protest against H.R. 1592 by Protestant evangelical groups, but precious little from Catholic spokesmen. This is disturbing, since H.R. 1592 is a dagger aimed at the heart of Catholic moral teaching on marriage and procreation.

Let me skip all of the legal verbiage in H.R. 1592 and get right to what is, to my lawyer’s eye, the most alarming part of the bill:

… Whoever… willfully causes bodily injury to any person… because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person… shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both….

Get that? Whoever causes “bodily injury” to another person “because” that person is a homosexual or a transsexual (among other “protected” groups) is guilty of a new federal crime that carries a federal jail term of up to ten years.

Note well: no serious bodily injury is required for criminal liability under this bill. A mere scratch inflicted during an argument—something that would generally be a misdemeanor or even lesser offense under state law—becomes a federal offense with a heavy jail term if it is committed “because” the alleged “victim” is a homosexual or transsexual.

And how will the federal prosecutor prove that the alleged assault was “because” of the “sexual orientation” of the victim? The prosecutor will prove it by probing into the thoughts and beliefs of the accused. For example, if the accused has ever written or said anything against the sin of sodomy, in keeping with the Catholic Church’s condemnation of this grave evil, that will be “evidence” that could convert an alleged attempted assault into a federal sentence with a ten-year jail term.

Imagine this scenario: a “gay” activist taunts a Catholic at a pro-life rally, mocking Christ and the Catholic Church with an obscene sign. The Catholic, provoked into righteous anger, tries to grab the obscene sign from the gay activist and shouts “Repent of your sodomy!” In the process, the “gay” activist claims his wrist was sprained or that he sustained a cut on his hand. This otherwise trivial incident would constitute “bodily harm” that could trigger a federal hate crimes prosecution.

Moreover, the federal hate crime status of the prosecution would also depend on the identity of the victim. If the person wielding the sign were not a homosexual, but merely a heterosexual who despises Christ and the Church, there would be no criminal liability under H.R. 1592. That is, some “victims”—in this case, “victims” who engage in sexually perverse conduct—would have more rights than others under this legislation. If this bill passes, look for constant attempts by “gay” activists to provoke (or stage) incidents so that they can demand federal hate crimes prosecutions.

So, make no mistake about it: H.R. 1592 creates a new category of “thought crime” in which the penalty will depend upon whether the accused holds certain “unacceptable” moral and religious beliefs, which is to say the moral and religious beliefs of a Catholic. And the next step, inevitably, will be the criminalization of speech alone, as we see already in Canada and the EU.

This is the tyranny of Liberalism in its most overt form: the “tolerance” that is intolerant of truth. Indeed, Liberalism is nothing but that great project by which Western man “emancipated” himself from the Catholic Church and the truths she defends.

The criminalization of truth is but the final stage of the logic of Liberalism. According to that logic, he who will not tolerate evil and error is not to be tolerated in Liberal social order, for the “Law of Toleration”, to recall John Locke’s phrase, is the supreme dogma of the Liberal creed that has replaced the Christian religion in former Christendom.