October 30, 2009

The defaced atheist billboard.

"This is the first time one of our billboards has been defaced... And we consider it a double hate crime, targeting two minorities — nonbelievers and gays. It is very sad to see our message honoring the Constitution turned into ugly hate speech."

57 comments:

Paddy O. said...

Clearly they weren't getting the kind of attention they wanted, so had to get back in the press somehow.

Either that or it's just good ol' defacement perpetuated by today's youth.

edutcher said...

But Larry David doing his thing on a picture of Christ isn't.

Tell me another.

OT This wasn't the first time for Larry. With "Seinfeld", he did the same thing to the viewers who watched it.

rhhardin said...

The complaint looks like trailer park culture hatred to me.

Candle said...

I am offended already.

gaywrites said...

I don't know the ins and outs of Colorado's hate crime law, but this certainly would not fall under the new federal hate crimes law, as that law does not cover vandalism, but only acts resulting in serious bodily injury or death. I doubt Colorado's law includes vandalism either, as Free Speech protections are always lurking in the background of these kinds of cases.

jag said...

A double hate crime? Since when is vandalism a hate crime?

chuck said...

Oh my! It's a "double hate crime". These folks are nuts. I'm an atheist and I don't care much one way or the other about gay marriage. But at this point I'm feel like cheering the defacers. Not because I hate gays and atheists, but because I hate stupid.

exhelodrvr1 said...

At least it's not a "double secret hate crime".

Henry said...

Why not consider it a triple hate crime, targeting nonbelievers, gays and cigarette smokers?

Joseph said...

Its not a hate crime within any definition of the term I've seen. Nor do I think it should be. But I think people are taking the spokesperson a bit too literally. She's just pointing out that the content of the vandalism is expressing contempt for both gays and religious views, which is clearly true.

Balfegor said...

I doubt Colorado's law includes vandalism either, as Free Speech protections are always lurking in the background of these kinds of cases.

Well, sure, but vandalism is still illegal. I guess the problem would be unfairly burdening only certain kinds of illegal vandalism? But isn't there exactly that same problem with existing hate crimes? If a man shoots up a synagogue because he hates Jews and gets extra time because he did it with a racial motive, doesn't that extra time unfairly burden his first amendment right to free expression of his burning Jew-hate? I'm not sure why vandalism would get a special first-amendment exception.

Actual bodily harm, though, that kind of limitation I can understand.

Diamondhead said...

doubleplushatecrime

TMink said...

Often, this type of thing is a stunt and farce by those who were :injured."

Trey

Bissage said...

The real injustice, here, is to lovers of fine billboard art.

Old RPM Daddy said...

From the article: "It is very sad to see our message honoring the Constitution turned into ugly hate speech."

Sad, huh? I'm always irritated by that particular turn of phrase, whether I see it in a news report or a blog comment. Sad, I'm sure, is the last thing Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor is. As an attempt at irony or sarcasm, it's overused.

wv: Scony -- how you're feeling around tea-time.

joan said...

When is a billboard not a bill board? Maybe when it's posted 1 1/2" above ground level. That is an invitation for further "free speech".

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm an atheist but and I could care less. I'm more offended by the dissembling of the atheist spokesperson (a hate crime against two groups) which reminds me too much of the "medical marijuana" B.S..

There's no way that kind of stuff should fly.

David said...

I hate it when they do that.

TosaGuy said...

Why is it a hate crime when the Film Actors Guild mark their territory?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Think how bad it would have been if Obama weren't President!!

Slow Joe said...

If this is a hate crime, them hate crimes are not necessarily serious.

I love how they try to prove they are in a couple of privileged groups, as thought that's relevant.

They are saying this exact conduct would not be as bad if it were done to a straight man, or a believer. How pathetic. It's mischief either way.

Original Mike said...

When is a billboard not a bill board? Maybe when it's posted 1 1/2" above ground level. That is an invitation for further "free speech"

Really. I wonder if they asked for that specific billboard.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Allah Akbar!

reader_iam said...

When I first read this post title, the visual it evoked was that of a defaced atheist, on a billboard--which was a tad disorienting there for a moment.

kentuckyliz said...

doubleplushatecrime: very, um, funny? or spooky? or both?

If the atheists were so Constitutional, they would have stuck with what the Constitution says about religion:

No National Church!

No government interference with the free exercise of religion!

heh heh heh

I don't like the concept of hate crimes. If someone calls you an epithet while they're assaulting you for some other reason, does that turn it into a hate crime? The assault might not have been motivated by hatred of whatever protected class you imagine you belong to.

If a bunch of black guys beat up a white guy and call him crackah in the process, is that a racial hate crime?

If gay people beat you up and call you a breeder with a tone of contempt, is that a hate crime?

bearing said...

The defacement expresses contempt of gays, sure, but how does it express contempt of a religious (or non-religious) belief? The message "keep religion out of government" isn't religious or anti-religious, it's political (it describes how government should be run, it doesn't advocate any religious or non-religious practice or belief).

Unless you claim the sign was targeted specifically in order to target the group who paid for the sign, irrespective of the sign's message?

HokiePundit said...

Someone defacing an atheist billboard?!? I don't believe it.

Robert Cook said...

I'm an atheist and also what most here would term a "liberal," but I oppose hate crimes laws for this reason: once one's thoughts or motives are criminalized, then any action one takes can be made into a "hate crime" if someone, somewhere claims to have been offended, intimidated or terrified as a result.

Obviously, direct physical assaults and intimidation, torture, and murder that are motivated by bigotry are horrible crimes...but no less so than the same crimes driven by other motives. We have laws on the books to punish those who physically injure other persons; "enhancing" the sentences because of the actual or perceived thoughts behind the crimes is pure totalitarianism, which all too many self-declared "liberals" smugly support, ignorant of their own folly.

DADvocate said...

I wonder what kind of hate crime it was when someone knocked my mailbox off its post a few years ago.

I agree with the keep religion out of government sentiment, including keeping out atheism and secularism. Now quit being such cry babies.

kimsch said...

Her calling this a double hate crime just diminishes any meaning in "hate crime". That being said, calling anything a "hate crime" and according any extra punishment value for it is completely unnecessary. That's just criminalizing thought.

Any "hate" involved goes to motive.

Joe Blow isn't any deader because the perp who killed him "hated" him for whatever reason the killer had.

wv: exatiss

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I'm packing my earthly possessions, stocking up on as much ammo as I can carry and heading to the hills. I just read Robert Cook's post and am convinced that the Apocolypse is nigh.

rcocean said...

Defaced billboard = hate crime

Christ in a bottle urine = art

The weirdness of America.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

I don't think hate crime legislation is needed. Apply the current laws. Something that is a 'Hate Crime' to me is one that is premeditated -- as in, let's go and beat up a gay homo fag -- rather than spur of the moment -- let's beat up this guy.

I don't know if there's a difference in penalty for premeditated assault, or just plain assault, but there could easily be if Legislators wanted it. And it keeps thought control out of the law books.

I do admire FFR.org -- it's a thankless job, but someone has to do it, and hey, they are former neighbors of mine. But they seem kinda whiny here -- and I echo what was said upthread about the use of It's sad.

exhelodrvr1 said...

kentuckyliz,
Only whites are genetically wired to be capable of hate crimes.

Balfegor said...

I'm an atheist and also what most here would term a "liberal," but I oppose hate crimes laws for this reason: once one's thoughts or motives are criminalized, then any action one takes can be made into a "hate crime" if someone, somewhere claims to have been offended, intimidated or terrified as a result.

I'm an atheist, and generally conservative. I also think that hate crimes are inappropriate, but I think is a potential policy justification, and the slippery slope is not necessarily all that slippery. And the policy justification would be that ordinary violent crime has a negative impact on society, but generally doesn't have knock-on effects the way racially motivated violence can. If a convenience store owner shoots a teenager she suspects of being a thief, well, there may be hard feelings all around and she may go to jail, but it's not going to be hugely disruptive to society. On the other hand, if a Korean convenience store owner shoots a Black teenager she suspects of being a thief, the neighbourhood may erupt in an orgy of anti-Korean violence. The secondary consequences of violence that is perceived to have a racial motivation can be much, much more dire than ordinary violence. So you might want to impose higher penalties on that kind of thing. Preserves social harmony. Reduces the risk of racist reprisals.

Chris said...

Man, as a gay atheist, I guess I should really be incensed by this double hate crime. But strangely I find myself thinking I'd probably enjoy having a beer with whoever defaced the billboard more than the spokesperson for the FFRF.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well its interesting to see that the gays, atheists, and gay atheists on Althouse don't have much problems with it but I would like to hear from gay atheist left-handed dwarves before we declare a consensus on this issue.

Thank you

traditionalguy said...

Let me try again. Bold free speech is the unalienable right that caused our American experiment to grow and prevail in the world for 220 years. The co-ordinated attack upon us is directed at that central strength. Once speech is a crime, then democracy is gone and the media will tell us what we think, or else. Never let them silence you with humiliations or threats, like the notion that all gay people are offended by the existence of Judeo/Christian culture. They lie!

Robert Cook said...

"Christ in a bottle urine = art"

Actually, it's a wonderful image; have you seen it?

If one didn't know what it was, one would see simply a mysterious sculptural image of the crucifixion, with Christ bathed in an uneartly golden light arising out of darkness.

It's the most beautiful image of the crucifixion I've ever seen.

http://cruciality.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/andreas-serrano-piss-christ-1987.jpg

knox said...

I just read Robert Cook's post and am convinced that the Apocolypse is nigh.

Don't worry! He doesn't mean it. In a thread the other day he said DBQ was morally as bad as some gang rapists because of something she wrote. Thought Crimes, indeed.

AST said...

Be on the lookout for teenagers resembling Beavis and Butthead, with a spray paint can. I see "fags" sprayed on Stop signs around here all the time.

What this whiner calls hate crime probably has nothing to do with atheism or gays. It may be offensive and rude to call somebody a "fag" but it's not unconstitutional. Calling words hate crimes is just an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I'm returning the crate of 5.56mm I just bought since Cookie's last post convinced me the end is probably farther down the road.

Original Mike said...

I do admire FFR.org -- it's a thankless job, but someone has to do it

No. Someone doesn't. As an atheist, I am embarrassed by their in-your-face attitude. I don't need to be protectred from capital rotunda Christmas trees or in-the-park manger scenes. They should just go away.

Oligonicella said...

I want free speech. Even to the point of cacophony.

It was vandalism, which is punishable, which is enough. That said, same goes when a church billboard or mosque sign, etc is vandalized.

Grow some skin, the world has a good percentage of dipshits.

Joseph said...

traditionalguy--what would you think about some "bold free speech" written on the front door to you rhouse or car windshield? I agree in robust free speech rights but that has never included a right or virtue in defacing private property.

gaywrites said...

Kentucky liz,

Yes. Hate crimes (if correctly enforced) treat all races (and in your example, sexualities) equally. If gay people are beating up straight people because those people are straight, that's a hate crime. Same goes with your example of black people beating up white people because they are white.

Of course, the statutes are passed because the opposite of your example appears more likely, but the references aren't such that they limit it to "bias motivated crimes on the basis of homosexuality or bisexuality" or "bias motivated crimes on the basis of one's non-white race." Sexual orientation includes straight people and race/color includes white people.

c3 said...

vandalism is expressing contempt for both gays and religious views, which is clearly true

I despise vandalism but is contempt a crime?

Robert Cook said...

"Don't worry! He doesn't mean it. In a thread the other day he said DBQ was morally as bad as some gang rapists because of something she wrote. Thought Crimes, indeed."

I'd accuse you of lying, but really you're just guilty of the thought crime of DoublePlusUngood stupidity.

But don't worry, if someone advocated jailing you for your crime, I'd be first in line to defend your right to be dumb.

Synova said...

I wonder who it's a hate crime against when freeway overpasses are vandalized.

Michael said...

Well it sounds like a prospective hate crime to me and I think they should have the book, or should I say a book, thrown at them.

Hazy Dave said...

...but is contempt a crime?

I think it is when you're in Court. Or even if it isn't, technically, they can apparently drag you away and lock you up for it. Looks like a duck, swims like a duck, etc.

Anyone still in favor of Hate Crime Laws - even "correctly enforced" ones - should read up on the recent history of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunals.

Michael said...

Hate Crime laws are complex, but can best be explained by an example. A person who kidnaps a child of the opposite sex and then has forced sex with that child is guilty of a sex crime and kidnapping. Let us say that the child is killed by the sex criminal/murderer. If the father of the child walks into the courtroom where the murderer is on trial and pulls out a gun and shoots and kills him the father is guilty of murder and a hate crime. Simple. Much worse than the ordinary sex crime and murder of the child, of course, is the hate crime.
If the sex criminal was driven to his crime by reading the mean defaced billboard then I suppose he should be set free.

phosphorious said...

So sympathies here are against the atheists?

Pastafarian said...

Hoosier Daddy said: "Well I'm returning the crate of 5.56mm I just bought since Cookie's last post convinced me the end is probably farther down the road."

And well you should; unless your apocalyptic visions consist of marauding bands of gophers and woodchucks in tiny Mad Max leather outfits. 5.56mm is a little on the light side for the rapture, in my opinion.

Eric said...

5.56mm is a little on the light side for the rapture, in my opinion.

That's what I was thinking. Maybe he was buying it for his young daughter's gun.

Oligonicella said...

phosphorious --

Oh, by some, sure. But by and large, it's the elevation of vandalism to a hate crime that is mocked. It could simply be teens tagging fag over a convenient slogan and have absolutely nothing to do with atheism.