Phi Beta Cons

On Guard Against Hate-Crime Laws

A proposal for broadening federal hate crime legislation is working its way through Congress. 
 ”Unwise,” writes Janet Levy, because   
in these over-heated and volatile times such laws magnify and criminalize thoughtless, petty actions, exaggerating their importance, and prosecute those doing nothing more than exercising their personal opinions.  
One example of how this happens involves an Ohio State University librarian who, in selecting several best-selling books as appropriate reading for freshman, included David Kupelian’s The Marketing of Evil, which offers conservative views on homosexuality, abortion, teenage sex and other issues. 
And then the ax came down: 
For merely suggesting a book with an alternative viewpoint, the librarian was accused of unprofessional conduct and of creating a hostile work environment.  He was charged with sexual harassment for recommending a book that presented a traditional Christian view of homosexuality contrary to the view deemed “reflective” of the university on this issue.  Although later cleared of any wrongdoing by the university, the librarian suffered the consequences of being publicly denounced as a “hatemonger” and “bigot” and the stress of pursuing legal remedies. 
To our lawmakers: Spare us from legislation that enables this kind of erosion of our First Amendment rights. 

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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