By Chad Groening, OneNewsNow.com, Friday, May 02, 2014
A pro-family organization is warning that “hate crime”-related legislation introduced on Capitol Hill could potentially squash free speech and create a “thought-controlled society.”
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced a bill authorizing the government to monitor and analyze speech online, on television, and over the radio, with the aim of classifying it as hate speech under the government’s own vague guidelines and then possibly charging the “offenders” with a hate crime.
The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014 (S. 2219) would create a comprehensive report of Internet and other telecommunications speech regarding gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It would also create recommendations to address such crimes.
If S. 2219 becomes law, it would be “a really big step toward a police state,” says Patrick Vaughan, general counsel for the American Family Association.
“What they propose to do is capture and monitor everything that’s said on broadcast or everything that’s said on the Internet; they’re going to grab it all,” the attorney describes. “Then they’re going to analyze it to see if there might be something going on that would lead to a crime in the future.”
Markey’s fellow New York Democrat, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, has introduced a companion bill in the House (H.R. 3878). Jeffries says such legislation is necessary to “comprehensively evaluate the scope of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of First Amendment protection.”
But Vaughan says such legislation could have a chilling effect on groups like AFA.
“This gives a tool to the government so [they can punish] anybody that disagrees with them,” he states bluntly. “Their speech will be captured and monitored and then punished if the government thinks that it might at some point in the future lead to a crime.”
And that’s a problem, concludes the attorney, because “normally the police don’t get involved until a crime has been committed.”
OneNewsNow columnist Robert Knight describes the legislation as a “hare-brained plan” – and points out that even liberal commentator Alan Colmes opposes it.