On to this story found at WND... Seems that some overly zealous vandals scrawled a hateful anti-gay, religiously themed message onto a GLBT office door. If they had made some non-religious statement, there would likely only have been one seminar - not three.
The best response, participants decided, would be a series of free forums in which local clergy and others explore different perspectives on how the Bible should be interpreted in regard to human rights and homosexuality.While I certainly don't condone violence or discrimination, I personally think alot of people are trying to make themselves feel better by having a whopping bag-full-o-forums.
At the first forum next week, for example, two ministers and a rabbi will explore such questions as the Bible's social context, whether it was "God-written or God-inspired," and arguments for and against literal interpretation.
"People are using the Bible to dehumanize LGBTQ folks," said Garcia, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. "The purpose of the forums is to bring an inclusive vision of what the Bible is stating."
And this could launch us into a whole debate about protected speech vs. non-protected. We know that hate speech isn't protected under the First Amendment but... should it be, for the reason that speech doesn't physically violate your space? As a libertarian, I view the issue as this: the minute your actions involuntarily affect mine, there is a problem. This is why screaming fire in a crowded theater where there is no fire, is illegal. In that case one person's action/speech has impacted us all, and likely to the point where people got hurt physically.
My political science professor (who helped make me into a libertarian) asked why we couldn't see each person as an individual actor - or in his demonstration, a bubble. In that bubble are the things you have direct influence and control over. Your stuff. You have your little bubble and you voluntarily interact with others for the purpose of commerce or having a social life. This causes your bubble to overlap with someone else's bubble.
Why force me to interact with someone I don't want to? But if you move your bubble over to push against mine and take/damage my property (including my person - not just my stuff), then you have violated my bubble. In my world, I would start shooting. Many would say, "We are glad we don't live in PK's world." But in PK's world, everyone knows you run the risk of getting shot at if you attempt to defraud/steal/rape/kill/act like a nuisance.
Since I don't live in just PK's world, I work hard to keep my bubble as intact as I possibly can in a world that is hostile to libertarian thinking.
How all of that reflects on speech--and others would say that speech threatens your bubble--that is the price one lives in for a free society. Do you give up freedom of speech for perceived safety and tolerance? Just because it hurts your feelings doesn't mean it is a legitmate threat. To borrow from the gun "safety" advocates: words don't kill people, actions do.
Would cross burning be protected? If they put it on my lawn and set it on fire? Heck no. If he burned it on his own lawn, in as bad taste as though it may be - yes.
I think they should get the people on vandalism and destruction of private property - the hate speech issue, for me, is beside the point. You mess with my stuff and you are going to get it. Say whatever you want. It is your God-given right to prove to the rest of us that you are a stupid racist, homophobic bigot. But you can be a stupid racist, homophobic bigot over there. You scrawl your message on my door, then we have a problem.
Edited to add: Another topic for discussion is hate crimes. All crime is about power, control, coveting something or wanting to hurt someone. Because someone does it out of a racist POV doesn't mean the crime is any more or less special. Dead is dead - no matter how you got there.
Hate crime laws demean the... non-hate crime victims. What happened to Matthew Shepherd, for example, was heinous. But why does the motive make it worse? What about the random guy murdered in Anycity, USA? Why should his attacker get anything less for what turned out to be the same thing?
Or should you extend hate crimes to cover gang violence too? I mean, those gangs REALLY hate each other.
You know what it says to me: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others - George Orwell, Animal Farm