I didn’t realize that there were ‘good republicans’, but Sen. Gordon Smith from Oregon seems to be one! 🙂
The other day Joe Brummer had mentioned Sen. Smith, someone who I had never heard of. In response to a question on his support of the federal hate Crime legislation, Smith said:
“This act is about the prosecution of crime, not prohibition of speech,’’ Smith said. “Unless they believe part of their religion is the practice of violence against others, they should not be affected by this bill.’’
I knew that I would instantly like someone who said that.
Today in the Eugene Register-Guard there is an editorial about Sen. Smith. The whole thing can be found here. I’ll just give some bits and pieces of it (and I have bolded some of it):
Smith isn’t posturing
A Register-Guard Editorial
Published: Monday, April 16, 2007
As a Blue State Republican, Sen. Gordon Smith often is accused of taking political positions of convenience – stances cynically and specifically gauged to please moderate voters and enhance his chances in what promises to be a tough re-election bid in 2008.
Whenever Smith is accused of reinventing himself politically, Exhibit A is often Smith’s support for federal legislation protecting gays from hate crimes. Smith’s political foes should find another example; the senator’s support for expansion of the federal hate crime law has been heartfelt, consistent and unswerving since shortly after the brutal 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student.
Last Friday, Smith and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., introduced hate crime legislation for the fifth consecutive session. Like its predecessors, the measure would add protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity to existing laws that target violence because of race and religion.
Thanks in part to Smith’s lobbying, Republican support for the bill has grown over the years, although some conservatives still protest that expanding hate crimes protections improperly punishes thought rather than action.
It’s time to retire this intellectually tread-worn argument. Hate crime laws don’t criminalize socially unacceptable beliefs – they merely increase the penalties for only those actual crimes that flow out of those beliefs. As any fan of "Law and Order" or John Grisham novels can attest, motive has long been accepted an important factor in meting punishment.
It’s also fitting that Smith and Kennedy have, for the first time, named the bill after Shepard, the gay college student who was beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead on a snow-covered soccer field in Wyoming. It was that appalling murder that prompted Smith to become one of the first congressional Republicans to champion expanding federal hate-crimes laws.
Elected officials across the country promised to take action after the Shephard murder. Nearly a decade later, it’s time for Congress to approve the hate crimes bill that Smith long has championed. Not as a matter of political convenience, but of conviction.
Look at what the editors said: hate crimes do not punish beliefs, but the crime that ultimately comes from having hateful beliefs. This is why people like LaBarbera, Harp and all the rest of these faux-Christians are really worried about–their hate inspires others to hate, and hate will lead to violence. They should be afraid of this proposed legislation because soon their kind of hate will be so socially unacceptable that they will have to shut up shop and find other work to do…