Monday, January 08, 2007


This new book calls for for pitching fundies into prison for "preaching hate" against gays, lesbians, abortionists, et al.! It's called American Fascists, and it's by Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the New York Times Chris Hedges. Some snippets from a review in the Los Angeles Times:

"[T]he United States today faces an internal threat analogous to that posed by the Nazis in Weimar Germany.


"Under Christian dominion, Hedges writes, "Labor unions, civil rights laws and public schools will be abolished.... and all those deemed insufficiently Christian will be denied citizenship." The Christian right could come to power, he suggests, if we had "another catastrophic terrorist attack, an economic meltdown or huge environmental disaster."


"Hedges concludes that the Christian right "should no longer be tolerated," because it 'would destroy the tolerance that makes an open society possible.... Any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law,' and therefore we should treat 'incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal.' Thus he rejects the 1st Amendment protections for freedom of speech and religion, and court rulings that permit prosecution for speech only if there is an imminent threat to particular individuals.


"Hedges advocates passage of federal hate-crimes legislation prohibiting intolerance.... Many countries do prohibit "hate speech." Holocaust denial, for example, is a crime in Germany, Austria and several other European countries.

From American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, 2007, Chris Hedges, Free Press: 256 pp.

Chris Hedges is “…the son of a Presbyterian minister and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. He's also a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for the New York Times who has reported from more than 50 countries over the last 20 years.”
Read the entire review of the book in the Los Angeles Times.


Blogget said...

At first I agreed with the statement that anyone who preaches intolerance is outside the law. But it dodges the issue. Hedges is being intolerant towards people who have (mostly) done nothing more than speak. Hate speech is still a very difficult slippery slope concept. In the current climate I can't agree with any suppression of anyone's free speech.

What if X thinks that the age of consent should be lowered to 12 , and campaigns for a change in the law. Y responds that X is a pervert who should be shot? Is Y being intolerant, should he be prosecuted for hate speech or should X be prosecuted for encouraging child abuse? The only answer I can see, is to allow X and Y to say what they like and prosecute them for anything illegal that they do.

I don't agree with people who talk about attacking Muslims/homosexuals/Jews/Christians etc. But they can talk all they like, anyone who listens to them and agrees to actually physically attack Muslims/Xtians/homosexuals/Jews was dangerous before they even heard the hate speech.

I am definitely not Christian, but from where I'm standing it looks like there is a severe case of divide and rule going on in America (rather like the one in Iraq - am I talking sense or should I just put on my tinfoil hat :-). Sniping at Xtian fundies, saying "Happy Holidays" isn't weakening the fundies, it's filling them with a misguided sense of righteous anger.

Check out the hilarious wikipedia entry on the Rev. Fred Phelps. He helps the cause of gay rights every time he opens his mouth (he has even been called the greatest troll of all time). Don't censor these idiots, give them enough rope.....

Paxton said...

There are better responses than imprisonment. This is too close to iron-fisted carebear moderation for me. I'm out =)

If Hedges' spooky government story proves true, there will be a lot of real Christ-followers missing citizenship. =\ I've nothing to do with hate-preachers. They anger me. >=| You don't =)

sopka said...

I believe that punishment against political and religious groups who step outside the law is necessary but to outlaw political thought and Idealogy is dangerous and playing into the hand of religious idealogues who are whipping their followers up with stories of christian concentration camps being built. My honest belief is that Pagan will see the inside a camp before any christian does but playing into their paranoia is like putting out a fire with gasoline

Athana said...

How 'bout if a radical Muslim cult preaching "death to all white men" got big in the U.S. Say they convinced a majority of women & people of color that they (the white-death dudes) had a point? So we vote. And whoa! Americans actually vote death to all white men!

Don't tell me this is unlikely. I know it's unlikely. Just tell me: Would you let Muslims preach this kind of "hate" speech at the same time you see them swaying a surprising number of Americans to their view? Would you white males out there say "Heck, yeah, let ‘em talk! I know ah’m gonna die, but let me die anyway – to preserve freedom of speech!"

Just curious how much you think you'd sacrifice for 'freedom of speech.' Next door to me in New Hampshire the license plates read 'live free or die.' Hm.

Paxton said...

Mm, I didn't realize that by "preaching hate" you meant "preaching death". That is a different matter, of course -- incitement to felony, and more importantly, encouragement to murder.

I thought that by "preaching hate" you meant people who say things like "abortion is bad." Like I said, I've seen enough "crush dissenters" behavior to know it's stupid whatever hat it's wearing. Tolerance taken to extremes is startlingly narrow-minded. =)

Sorry for the misunderstand =)

Paxton said...

*misunderstanding =P

Paxton said...

I kind of have a vested interest in opposing you on this, as well ^_^ ...

if Tolerant Folk pitch the hate-speech "fundamentalists" into prison, I do not trust that they will not toss me in there as well (they may just see that I am a fundamentalist...whatever that means...and not consider whether or not I speak hatred). I certainly hope that doesn't happen. =P

Pignut said...

"How 'bout if a radical Muslim cult preaching "death to all white men" got big in the U.S. Say they convinced a majority of women & people of color that they (the white-death dudes) had a point? So we vote. And whoa! Americans actually vote death to all white men!"

If women and people of colour actually vote for that, that is their decision and their responsibility, not the preachers. Free will and free speech.

This is not a freedom of speech issue it's "the tyranny of the majority". It's a problem with democracy generally. If major decisions can be made with 51% of the vote, this poses problems for minority groups.

In practise in a democracy, even a group comprising 1% of the voters will be significant and at least one of the political factions will be seeking to win or keep their vote, so this 1% will be bound up with a much larger group (assuming you are living in a democracy).

In Britain, we already have "conspiracy to incite laws" which are pretty close to "hate speech" laws, and back up the confusing mass of so called "anti-terror laws" and "anti-stalking laws". These laws have all been Trojan horses. The anti-stalking law hasn't put a single stalker in jail. All these laws have been vaguely worded and widely used against environmental, anti-war and animal rights groups. For example: knowing someone who owns a tin of paint can implicate a group of people in a "conspiracy" to commit a "terrorist offence" (graffiti). This actually happened to friends of mine. Graffiti can also obviously be a "hate crime". It is also possible to incite someone else to commit this crime... (I knew we shouldn't have voted for that lawyer!)

So would "hate speech" legislation only be used against clearly defined religious fundamentalists and political extremists?

[puts tin foil hat on again :-)]
I don't think it would be used against them at all. Loony extremists would still get their opinions on the news, the hate speech legislation would be used against almost anybody the government didn't like, and the loony extremists would justify yet more laws in future.

Athana said...

Sounds like a mess, Pignut. In case you stroll back around to this post again, are there any cases in which the loonies have been stopped by Britain’s “conspiracy to incite” or “anti-terror laws”?