A terrible crime took place in our home today. Part of a beloved animal’s face was violently torn away, including one eye. His guts were left all over the floor at the foot of the stairs. Was it a vicious act of hate? An accident? A misunderstanding?
Does it matter? Our granddaughter’s feline BFF is permanently disfigured, whatever the motive behind the attack.
I’m not sure which of our two furry family members is responsible for this brutal assault, although I have my suspicions. My mind reels with questions:
- If the canine perpetrator is brought to justice, shall we charge him or her with a hate crime, since the victim was a member of the cat family, historic enemies of dogs?
- And could it be proven?
- If so, should the penalty be more severe?
The short answers are no, no, and NO.
Crime is crime. And all crime is hateful. There are very few crimes involving a victim where hate in some form wasn’t a factor–murder or injury as a result of self-defense is a possible exception. Consider: robbery, burglary, forgery, rape, assault, murder, even drunk driving…all these actions arise from a disregard for other people’s rights, property, and safety.
The rush to label various criminal acts as “hate” crimes, because they allegedly are motivated by prejudice against someone based on race, religion, gender, occupation, disability or sexual orientation (and the list could go on), strikes me as adding sauce where none is needed.
So-called “hate crimes” tend to get a higher profile in the media, bringing notoriety to the offender and breeding copycat crimes. Yet, why are these particular motives classified as more heinous than murdering someone for their money?
How much hate is TOO much?
What if we simply focused on the actual physical crime –did you do this?– and left the motive-searching to God? If criminals were prosecuted vigorously, sending a message of intolerance for the crime itself, would the appellation “hate crime” really add anything to the process? What if making restitution were more often a mandatory part of the sentence?
These are big topics, I know, and really outside the scope of a blog post.
Here’s my simple take on this: the LORD has made it clear that there are really only two primary laws we all need to observe…love God and love one’s neighbor (i.e., treat everyone else the way you would want to be treated). Among the “Big Ten“, more than half concern how we treat others’ person, property and reputation.
Isn’t the designation of “hate” crime redundant, seen in this light?
So whether the “haters” are black, white, green or purple; male, female or transgender; of whatever persuasion, race or creed…the criminal should be judged on the basis of his or her actions.
Let’s drop this useless label of “hate” crime once and for all, and call crime what it is: a SIN…
“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23 NIV)