Michigan Doubles Down With New Hate Speech Law

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

I went to college in Michigan. I always felt very comfortable there until a certain day toward the end of November, when one university that will remain nameless played another university that will also remain nameless in football. Then, as an Ohio resident, I felt a bit like a threatened and endangered species at times. Of course, back then, that was just part and parcel of college football. No hard feelings. Usually. But that of course was in the Old Michigan. I wonder if, in the New Michigan, I would be able to demand justice for everyone’s Ohiophobia. Perhaps I could demand some sort of payment for damages. Or even call the police. Maybe I could put someone behind bars for an unseemly Buckeye joke.

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I doubt it. Unless I change my gender and corresponding parts or announce that I now identify as a non-binary stalagmite, the privileges, blessings, and benefits of the Grievance Class shall always be denied to me. But to all of the Michiganders I left behind when I graduated, you may want to consider leaving your beloved state for one that isn’t going to be quite so hostile to an unguarded thought or word. I know for you Wolverine fans Ohio is out of the question. And if you are thinking of escaping to Illinois or, God forbid, Canada, you need to spend some more time reading the news. Indiana might still be safe. You may want to consider Texas.

In case you missed it, on Tuesday, the Michigan State House passed the Michigan Hate Crime Act. The Detroit News said that the act will replace the ethnic intimidation law to include more groups.

Via The Detroit News:

The law would expand to include protections based on sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity or physical or mental disabilities. Religion, ethnicity, and race were already protected under the ethnic intimidation law and would continue to be protected under the hate crime act.

The legislation also would expand which actions qualify as a hate crime, from threats or damage of property under the current law, to targeted force, intimidation, threats, bodily injury or damage of personal property.

Intimidation would be defined as “repeated or continuing harassment of another individual” that would cause them to feel “terrorized, frightened or threatened.” It would not include “constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.”

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The House also passed the Institutional Desecration Act, which, according to the paper, would “be used in place of malicious destruction of property if a person intentionally destroys, defaces, damages or threatens facilities such as a place of worship, cultural or community center, cemetery, school, business or digital online assets if the attack was based on an associated group’s race, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical or mental disability.”

A quick autobiographical pause:

When I was in high school, I worked part-time for a friend’s catering company, which almost exclusively worked the social events for the local synagogues. When we would walk into the synagogue for work somebody was usually there with a box of, shall we say, “loaner yarmulkes.” Being an Episcopalian at the time, I did not own a yarmulke of my own, and I was fine with wearing one on the job. Now if you don’t wear a yarmulke on a regular basis, it is easy to forget you have one on since they don’t weigh very much. A few times I got home, ran my hand through my sweaty hair, and thought “Oh no.”

So that is my deep, dark confession. I, a blonde-haired goy if there ever was one, inadvertently purloined some yarmulkes from synagogues.

I decided that returning them was the right thing to do. But I wasn’t sure which yarmulke went to which synagogue. But there was one a few blocks from me, so I decided to take my ill-gotten yarmulkes there and let them sort it out. But when I got to the synagogue, I just kept driving. Someone had been there before me with black paint. The front doors and columns had been defaced with swastikas. I was sickened by it and ashamed. And I was afraid that if I went to the door, they might think I was one of the perpetrators who had come to finish the job.

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No sane person believes in persecuting anyone. It is a barbaric idea. But consider: the gender/identity/LGBTQ-Whatever adherents claim to be persecuted by the merest objection to something like transitioning children. The slightest dissent or diversion from their doctrine is practically deemed a hate crime. What will happen to parents who dare to speak up at school board meetings? That doesn’t even take into account all of the people who are triggered or made to feel unsafe by nothing more than a different worldview. What line will need to be crossed for someone to be prosecuted under the Michigan Hate Crimes Act? I suspect that in some cases that line will be relatively fuzzy and mobile. And who shall be prosecuted under it? Consider Grace Community Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts. A gay couple had been renting a space for a preschool and had placed rainbow flags on the church’s property. The church removed them. The reaction? Someone spray-painted the words  “Stay Gay, Stay Hard” and “Love is 4 everyone.” If such a thing were to happen in Michigan, would the culprits be prosecuted? If Antifa attacks a gathering, what will the authorities do? For that matter, how will the new law affect Hamtramck? The situation there has undoubtedly caused the brains of Leftists in Michigan and across the nation to glitch several times and require a hard reboot. And to summon the ghost of Bill Clinton and the Blue Dress, the law’s application will be determined by what someone considers a hate crime to be. And with a state government and governor so clearly driven by an agenda I think you know how it will be applied. As attorney David Kallman of the Great Lakes Justice Center told the Epoch Times:

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Words are malleable. They can be redefined by whoever is in power. Under the proposed statute, ‘intimidate and harass’ can mean whatever the victim, or the authorities, want them to mean. The focus is on how the victim feels rather than on a clearly defined criminal act. This is a ridiculously vague and subjective standard. The absence of intent makes no difference under this law. You are still guilty of the crime because the victim felt uncomfortable. The bill will lead to the prosecution of conservatives, pastors, and parents attending a school board meeting for simply expressing their opposition to the liberal agenda.

The law sounds good on paper. It is meant to. The devil, of course, is in the details and the application. Michigan and the nation are at a point at which the government is saying, “We decide what constitutes hate speech.” The next step is to say “We decide what constitutes free speech.” The final step is, “We decide what constitutes speech.

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