Daily Archives: January 29, 2005

From the Crisis E-letter: Liberal hate crimes OK

In the most recent Crisis e-letter, Brian Saint-Paul has alterted his readers to a case where pro-abort college students have been allowed to get away with a hate crime against Christians and pro-lifers. So here is a story from the most recent letter, to set your blood boiling. To me, the salient point is something I’ve observed in Leftists in general, from message boards and what not.
1. Conservative tries to discuss an issue, whether through a rational appeal or the kind of emotional appeal that liberals generally applaud when it’s on their side
2. Liberal calls conservative an idiot, or a worse name, or some other ad hominem attack.
3. Conservative takes humbrage at the ad hominem.
4. Liberal says, “Hey! This is supposed to be about dialogue and exchange of ideas and free speech!”
(“Yeah, but you’re not engaging in dialogue”)
If you have a conservative who is black, disabled, or female, that person is despised by the Left and attacked with every slur known to man. Armstrong Williams (black) and Maggie Gallagher (female) get attacked for using federal money for propaganda, which is the foundation of Democrat social policy (anyone ever hear of the EPA? NEA? NEH? PBS? the other NEA?). Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter are consistently attacked with “dumb blond” stereotypes. And whenever I explain how my disability is a basis for my conservative beliefs, liberals accuse me of “whining.”

Anyway, here’s the situation. LSU’s Students for Life put up the “4000 crosses” protest display. Poor-choicer students vandalized the display, proclaiming it an act of “free speech,” while voicing their hatred for pro-lifers and Christians. So why the double standard ? Why do liberals get away with hate crimes.

Apparently, the right to free speech doesn’t apply to everyone. Especially if you happen to be pro-life.

That’s the lesson the Louisiana State University Students For Life learned recently. You see, last weekend, in anticipation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, they placed 4,000 crosses on the campus parade grounds. (The 4,000 figure represents the average number of unborn children killed per day by abortion.)

It was a nice, silent witness to the atrocity of abortion.

But even that is just too much for some people. Around midnight Monday morning, a group of pro-abortion students vandalized the display, destroying 3,000 of the crosses and using some of the others to spell “pro-choice” on the grass. All told the vandals did over $9,000 worth of damage.

Amazingly enough, one of the university police officers saw them doing it and ordered them to leave. But he didn’t arrest them. One wonders if he would have acted similarly had he caught them spray-painting graffiti on a dormitory wall.

The perpetrators were later arrested and charged with criminal mischief — a misdemeanor. But is that enough? Richard Mahoney, president of the St. Mary and St. Joseph Memorial Foundation and owner of the vandalized crosses certainly doesn’t think so. The cross is a religious symbol, he noted to The Daily Reveille (the student newspaper of LSU), and “defacing a religious symbol is a hate crime.”

In an amusing exercise in rationalization, John Philip Morlier, one of the perpetrators, wrote a letter to the Reveille, defending his actions:

“I engaged in what I believe to be an act of free speech. The crosses were planted in an effort to join a debate, conversation. By removing from the ground and disassembling the crosses, I was voicing a counter point. I know that my actions were rash; however, the statement made by the crosses was rash, inappropriate, invasive and hostile.”

Where to begin? I wonder if Mr. Morlier would appreciate my own “counter point” if I were to scratch the word “Idiot” into the side of his car? Probably not. And yet, that’s the kind of reasoning he’s using here with his vandalism-as-genuine-debate argument.

But it gets even better. He goes on to try to explain why he wasn’t guilty of a hate crime… only to shoot himself in the foot in the attempt:

“The crosses are not an invitation to engage in a give and take debate on the issue, rather the issue is evasively hidden behind the most powerful symbol in our community. Those crosses were a black and while framing of a very complex issue veiled behind the threat of hell; a wood and glue manifestation of the self-righteous, mislabeled ‘Christian’ mentality that fuels itself off of the punishment it threatens or administers to those that it persistently persecutes.”

Did you catch his misstep?

When I first learned of the vandalism and the attempt to label it a hate crime, I had my doubts. After all, the crosses were used in the display to represent tombstones — objects that have taken on a secular value in our culture. Most likely, I thought, the vandals were reacting to them as such.

But Mr. Morlier shows that this is not so, thereby surrendering his single best defense. According to his own statement, he DID consider the crosses religious symbols. In defacing them, he was acting against the spiritual message he thought they communicated.

And that sounds like a hate crime to me.

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FYI–Peggy Noonan’s follow-up