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Hate Crimes Laws, Anti-Gay Views, and Public Accountants:

Let me tell you an interesting story, from Ake v. Bureau of Professional & Occupational Affairs (Pa. Commw. Ct. May 20, 2009), and see what you think of it.

1. In 2001, Kevin Allen Ake was living at a YMCA in Illinois, apparently "so that he could assist an elderly member of his church who lived there." Several months after moving in, he was evicted, in his view because of his "efforts to begin a bible study program at the YMCA." As a result, he left a bunch of messages on the voice-mail of the YMCA's executive director, who was a lesbian; he denies that the messages contained explicit threats, but says he "basically shared what the Bible talked about was -- with that kind of unnatural lifestyle -- about lesbians and homosexuality."

Ake was then prosecuted and convicted for telephone harassment, which covers telephone calls made "with intent to abuse, threaten or harass." Two newspaper accounts reported that he was found guilty of leaving threatening messages, but nothing in the Illinois indictment, or in the Pennsylvania opinions that I read, makes it clear -- it seems possible that the finding was simply that he made the calls with the intent to "abuse ... or harass" rather than with the intent to threaten. In any case, though, telephone harassment, even harassment that isn't expressly threatening, is a crime; the laws banning it are generally seen as constitutionally permissible speech restrictions (with some exceptions); and the story here is in any event not about that conviction, which may well have been perfectly sound.

2. Now generally speaking, telephone harassment is a misdemeanor. But Ake was apparently motivated at least in part by the executive director's homosexuality, which made it a felony hate crime. Ake was thus convicted of a felony, and sentenced to 14 days' in prison, with credit for time served before trial, plus 2½ years' probation, 200 hours of community service, and a $2000 fine. In February 2005, Ake was discharged from probation.

3. So far, we have a normal "hate crime" story, though one in which the underlying crime was comparatively minor (and consisted of unprotected speech rather than physical violence). But there's a twist: Ake is an accountant, and in 2007 he applied to reactivate his Pennsylvania CPA license. He had it reactivated despite his felony conviction, but then the State Board of Accountancy moved to revoke the license because of that conviction. And the Board did revoke the license -- not just because of the conviction itself (which wouldn't automatically disqualify him, especially since the conviction didn't involve the sort of financial misconduct that most directly bears on fitness to be an accountant), but because of his continuing hostility to homosexuals and his perception that he was victimized by homosexuals:

[T]he very nature of Respondent's offense -- involving an irrational hatred of the victim -- is plainly a manifestation of a character defect. Although [Ake] had completed all requirements of his criminal sentence as of February 2005, the Board has grave doubts as to whether [Ake] fully rehabilitated.

In his testimony at the formal hearing, [Ake] expressed the view that his conduct in harassing the victim because of her sexual orientation, while regrettable, did not rise to a level requiring criminal sanction. He maintained that he was prosecuted because of the district attorney's sexual orientation, and he objected to his original mental health counselor because of the counselor's sexual orientation. These facts powerfully suggest that [Ake] has not reformed his views....

The Board is of the view that the revocation of [Ake's license] ... is warranted ... (1) to eliminate the risk of harm that [Ake] ... might pose to those with whom he would have professional dealings as a certified public accountant; (2) to deter other certified public accountants who might be tempted to commit felonious acts outside the practice of public accounting in belief that there would be no consequences for their professional credentials; and (3) to provide assurance to the public that only individuals of unquestioned moral character are permitted to be counted among the ranks of certified public accountants.

4. In May, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the Board's decision, and two weeks ago refused to reconsider its judgment.

DangerMouse:
To supports of these laws, this kind of persecution isn't a bug, it's a feature. That's the entire point. He won't be starting any Bible Study groups anywhere else anytime soon. It's back to the catacombs, apparently.
7.30.2009 2:21pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Several months after moving in, he was evicted, in his view because of his "efforts to begin a bible study program at the YMCA."

What does the C stand for? Is YMCA now like KFC, the letters don't mean anything?
7.30.2009 2:22pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Ummm, the legal stuff is interesting and all, but why exactly is a YMCA against having a bible study group? Doesn't the 'C' stand for Christian?
7.30.2009 2:24pm
wfjag:

Is YMCA now like KFC, the letters don't mean anything?

No. They stand for the shapes you make when singing The Village People song.
7.30.2009 2:26pm
martinned (mail) (www):
Isn't the problem more with society's unwillingness to give felons who have served their sentences a second chance? It doesn't seem fair that what he did should be a felony, but the (direct) penalty seems about right. The big problem is the "various other rules that require greater scrutiny of people who have felony conviction records."

For one thing, more of these rules could be amended to apply only to violent felons.
7.30.2009 2:28pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
"A person's tendency to abide by the law of the society in which he lives is a fair measure of that person's trustworthiness and honesty. Such proof of petitioner's failure to be a law-abiding citizen is therefore relevant to determine whether or not he possesses the character and integrity sufficient to be entrusted to 'hold the position of public trust and confidence which licensure as a real estate broker demands.'"

Nobody abides consistently by the law of our society; thus the fun DA's-office game "what federal crime could we pin on Mother Teresa?" So I guess we just sholdn't have real estate brokers or CPAs period, if we're going to rely on law-abidingness as our criteria for trustworthiness.

As an extreme counterexample, supporters of the Underground Railroad would have been held to lack character and integrity by this standard.
7.30.2009 2:34pm
martinned (mail) (www):

"what federal crime could we pin on Mother Teresa?"

Penn &Teller already covered that...
7.30.2009 2:40pm
Oren:

Isn't the problem more with society's unwillingness to give felons who have served their sentences a second chance?

A second chance, maybe, but as I understand it, nobody has an intrinsic right to be a CPA, which is an office of trust within the commonwealth.

I agree with the PASC that the revocation was illegal and ought to be reversed, but please don't try to sell me on the notion that a professional license is a god-given right.
7.30.2009 2:43pm
Granite26 (mail):
No seriously... does anybody know what happened to the YMCA?
7.30.2009 2:45pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I agree with the PASC that the revocation was illegal and ought to be reversed, but please don't try to sell me on the notion that a professional license is a god-given right.
Why not? The right to work in one's chosen profession should not be at the grace of some bureaucrat somewhere.

Especially given that the trend is for more and more professions to be licensed, on spurious consumer protection theories.
7.30.2009 2:48pm
Danny (mail):
If he had done this to Jews or wise Latinas, would this even be a story?
7.30.2009 2:50pm
Smooth, Like a Rhapsody (mail):
Three separate issues here:
1. Should his act constitute a felony?
2. Should a felony conviction create a rebuttable presumption against one's holding a professional license?
3. Should this particular applicant have a professional license?

The dissent is correct and EV's concerns are misplaced.

If the answer to "2.", above, is "yes", then the applicant must show that he deserves a dispensation.
He clearly did not do this. He looks very much like a kook with a persecution complex. The board's decision was not erroneous or an abuse of disretion.

Now as to "1.", above--I am in sympathy with those who say that what he did should not be a felony simply because he was trying to save the victim's soul rather than trying to sell her aluminum siding.
7.30.2009 2:52pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

As an extreme counterexample, supporters of the Underground Railroad would have been held to lack character and integrity by this standard.



And at least in the South they probably shouldn't have been. If you can't trust your neighbor to return your horse when it runs off you certainly can't trust that neighbor to do your bookkeeping.
7.30.2009 2:54pm
martinned (mail) (www):

nobody has an intrinsic right to be a CPA, which is an office of trust within the commonwealth.

If ever there is a case to be made for substantive due process, it would be here: The government should not be able to stop you working in your chosen profession (a fortiori if this is a profession that requires many years of study) without due process of law, and that due process should involve, amongst other things, some kind of rational basis.

A CPA license is not, say, a civil service job, which by their nature can only be given to certain people, and to a certain number of people. The number of CPA licenses is not limited, so the burden should be with the state. Rather than asking what gives mr. Ake the right to be a CPA, the relevant question what gives the state the right to stop him.
7.30.2009 2:55pm
PaulTX (mail) (www):
"The Board stressed the need for a CPA to be of good moral character and noted that a felony conviction evidences bad character."


"

A person's tendency to abide by the law of the society in which he lives is a fair measure of that person's trustworthiness and honesty."


These claims -- essentially identical in nature -- strike me as highly questionable. The reach of the criminal law is now ever-expanding. As Judge Alex Kozinski and others have noted, pretty much everyone is guilty of a federal crime; the government just lacks the resources to incarcerate us all.

So, I don't think it's generally correct to say that a criminal conviction (felony or otherwise) demonstrates bad character. It might just demonstrate bad luck.
7.30.2009 2:55pm
richard1 (mail):
Ummm, the legal stuff is interesting and all, but why exactly is a YMCA against having a bible study group? Doesn't the 'C' stand for Christian?

You're assuming that this was the reason for his eviction. The report only says that he "believed" that this was the reason for his eviction. I think it is highly unlikely that his belief was based on reality.
7.30.2009 2:56pm
wunderola:

Ummm, the legal stuff is interesting and all, but why exactly is a YMCA against having a bible study group? Doesn't the 'C' stand for Christian?


Remember. not all Christians hate homosexuals [Episcopalians, et al]. The folks at this particular YMCA probably had a big problem with his fundamentalist view. Being that they are a private organization, they have the right to tell the zealous accountant to go away.
7.30.2009 3:01pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I don't think what he did should even be a crime.

I really can't stand homophobia, including especially homophobia that is coated with a religious justification. But the sanctions for homophobia should be social-- homophobes should be called out and criticized, and treated like bigots.

So he called this woman up and said that he thinks the Bible prohibits homosexuality. So what? If that isn't protected by the First Amendment it should be.

And yes, even if we assume arguendo that it should be a crime, it shouldn't cost him his CPA license as it has nothing to do with the practice of accounting. Let the CPA board come after him if he discriminates against gays and lesbians in his work, but absent evidence of that, this stuff is irrelevant.

This is the thought police run wild. People should have every right to believe and express homophobia-- and I should have every right to call them bigots.
7.30.2009 3:01pm
martinned (mail) (www):

And yes, even if we assume arguendo that it should be a crime, it shouldn't cost him his CPA license as it has nothing to do with the practice of accounting. Let the CPA board come after him if he discriminates against gays and lesbians in his work, but absent evidence of that, this stuff is irrelevant.

Agreed. Except the second sentence: The CPA license should guarantee that the accounts prepared by this person are prepared in accordance with the relevant (legal) provisions. I don't see why one should lose one's license for being an unpleasant person. That's just bad business, nothing more.


So he called this woman up and said that he thinks the Bible prohibits homosexuality. So what? If that isn't protected by the First Amendment it should be.

This is where we part ways. What he did was aimed at a captive audience, in her home, and that's reason enough for me to exempt it from 1A protection and to criminalise it.
7.30.2009 3:07pm
Oren:

Why not? The right to work in one's chosen profession should not be at the grace of some bureaucrat somewhere.

So I have the right to be a police officer even if I fail the most basic qualifications (former felon, history of corrupt practice, quick to anger, terrible aim)?

Being a CPA is an office of Public Trust to which the commonwealth is entitled to restrict individuals of upright morality.
7.30.2009 3:14pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Oren: Why would you say not being a homophobe is an essential qualification for a CPA? Being able to add and subtract, knowing the US GAAP and IASC, sure, but why would being a rude, discriminating jerk make him unsuitable for the profession of CPA?
7.30.2009 3:18pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Except the second sentence: The CPA license should guarantee that the accounts prepared by this person are prepared in accordance with the relevant (legal) provisions. I don't see why one should lose one's license for being an unpleasant person. That's just bad business, nothing more.

Usually, there are anti-discrimination laws that apply to the professions. To the extent the accountant is violating those laws in his practice, the accountancy board would certainly have cause to take action.

This is where we part ways. What he did was aimed at a captive audience, in her home, and that's reason enough for me to exempt it from 1A protection and to criminalise it.

Why is she a captive audience? You are always free to hang up, or erase the voice mail. Surely easier to do than "averting your eyes" in Cohen v. California.

It isn't a very good idea to say that the state can make you a felon because you said something controversial in a telephone conversation. And it is certainly inconsistent with the values behind the First Amendment.

(Note-- REPEATED calls, i.e., stalking, after being asked to stop is completely different. But that's not a content-based restriction.)
7.30.2009 3:21pm
pete (mail) (www):

So he called this woman up and said that he thinks the Bible prohibits homosexuality. So what? If that isn't protected by the First Amendment it should be.


That all depends on the number of times he called her and what/how he said it. A couple of polite calls is fine, 20 calls in one night yelling explitives after the person tells you to stop calling isnot ok and should be criminalized, but only as a misdemeanor unless threats were involved. And I think related restrictions like "do not call" lists are constitutional and moral as well.

From the link you can't tell how many times and what language he used, except that he called and left multiple messages that the woman did not like.

I think the biggest problem here is that too many things count as felonies and that unless he was making threats he should never have been charged with a felony.
7.30.2009 3:23pm
DangerMouse:
This is the thought police run wild. People should have every right to believe and express homophobia-- and I should have every right to call them bigots.

Dilan, I'm glad that you're finally coming around to the realization that it's not tolerance that's wanted, but acceptance. You. Must. Approve. Under penalty of loss of job, criminal sanction, etc. Would that people were content with merely calling others bigots.

Like I said, this persecution is viewed as not a bug, but a feature.
7.30.2009 3:24pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

So he called this woman up and said that he thinks the Bible prohibits homosexuality. So what? If that isn't protected by the First Amendment it should be.
----

This is where we part ways. What he did was aimed at a captive audience, in her home, and that's reason enough for me to exempt it from 1A protection and to criminalise it.


If he had called once, clearly he would be protected. (You don't know that your call is unwelcome unless you are told.) The problem is that he called multiple times and left messages. Still, he never reached her directly, and I suspect that he wanted to do so to "share" with her.

Perhaps he could be convicted of harassment of some sort, but a felony? No way. I have trouble with hate crimes laws, and this situation is a prime example of what is wrong with them.
7.30.2009 3:24pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

What he did was aimed at a captive audience


An answering machine?

A computer server for voice mail?

You are right, those things just can't run away.
7.30.2009 3:27pm
hillbilly habeus:
Poor guy sounds like he needs some time off from the Time Cube...
7.30.2009 3:30pm
Mike& (mail):
As a result, he left a bunch of messages on the voice-mail of the YMCA's executive director

Sounds like a crank, to me. Who the hell keeps calling someone, leaving voice messages?

Now, some of you will say that's not legally-operative. No kidding.

However, one motivation of EV's post was to present a somewhat sympathetic "victim" of hate crimes laws.

The guy is a nut jobber. Don't keep calling someone. That's what stalkers and other loons do.

Also, why was he living in YMCA? Did he get kicked out of his home? Again, the guy is probably a freak.

No sympathy.
7.30.2009 3:30pm
Mike& (mail):
If he had called once, clearly he would be protected. (You don't know that your call is unwelcome unless you are told.) The problem is that he called multiple times and left messages. Still, he never reached her directly, and I suspect that he wanted to do so to "share" with her.

Right. His Christ-like loving heart motivated him to keep calling to tell someone she was going to burn in Hellfire for eternity. Repent ye sodomite!

LMFAO at these nut jobbers!
7.30.2009 3:32pm
martinned (mail) (www):

You don't know that your call is unwelcome unless you are told.

I think a reasonable person can be expected to understand that an impolite (, abusive, whatever) phone call is unwelcome.


Why is she a captive audience? You are always free to hang up, or erase the voice mail. Surely easier to do than "averting your eyes" in Cohen v. California.

She's at least as captive as all those poor children forced to look at Janet Jackson's boob. You can't "unhear" the abuse you've already heard. In the public space, you can arrange your affairs in whatever way you like to avoid being exposed to unwelcome messages, but the law can hardly ask of a person to choose between not answering the phone or risk being harrassed.
7.30.2009 3:33pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Oren:

A second chance, maybe, but as I understand it, nobody has an intrinsic right to be a CPA, which is an office of trust within the commonwealth.


Given that folks invest a fair bit of time and effort becoming CPA's, I guess the question is whether the commonweath can arbitrarily strip someone of the right to continue in his/her chosen profession.

In my opinion, at a minimum, there ought to be some direct link between the behavior in question and the ethical duties of a CPA, and it ought to be a stronger link than, say, the link between a potential traffic officer's speeding tickets and his/her performance.

In short, what I am looking for is a substantial link between performance of duties and the behavior in question. If the guy had embezzled money, there wouldn't be any question. Heck if he robbed a bank, I don't think there would be any question, but leaving multiple harrassing voice mails when he was never even asked by the target to stop is well short of that bar.

Unless and until we make it a part of that public trust that CPA's offer consistently high-quality customer service and are polite to all their clients. At that point, we can take away the privilege for mere public rudeness.
7.30.2009 3:35pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Dilan, I'm glad that you're finally coming around to the realization that it's not tolerance that's wanted, but acceptance. You. Must. Approve. Under penalty of loss of job, criminal sanction, etc. Would that people were content with merely calling others bigots.

Danger, I have consistently advocated for the free speech rights of people who have views on sex and gender and homosexuality that I don't agree with for over 20 years. As have a lot of liberals-- you aren't wrong to imply that this impulse to censor comes from the left, but a lot of the pushback has come from ACLU chapters and other "left" organizations as well.
7.30.2009 3:37pm
The Original TS (mail):
Eugene,

You are quite right to be concerned. The reasoning used by the board and the dissent would allow the board to deny licenses for new applicants who evinced "bad moral character" in otherwise-protected speech.

[T]he very nature of Respondent's offense -- involving an irrational hatred of the victim -- is plainly a manifestation of a character defect. Although [Ake] had completed all requirements of his criminal sentence as of February 2005, the Board has grave doubts as to whether [Ake] fully rehabilitated.

The real question is the what constitutes "rehabilitation. Is "rehabilitation" a person learning to exercise sufficient control such that he or she no longer commits crimes? Or is, as assumed by the Board, "rehabilitation" reforming your personality, thoughts and mental processes such that you need not exercise self control because you are no longer tempted to commit crimes?

Traditionally, we have made due with the former and held up freedom of conscience as one of our highest societal achievements. The approach backed by the board is effectively identical to Maoist "self-criticism."

It is truly amazing how quickly we as a society forget.
7.30.2009 3:38pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
martinned:

You can't "unhear" the abuse you've already heard. In the public space, you can arrange your affairs in whatever way you like to avoid being exposed to unwelcome messages, but the law can hardly ask of a person to choose between not answering the phone or risk being harrassed.


I think the line in harrassment law should be drawn at the point where the subject asks the perpetrator to stop, except in truly exceptional circumstances (such as coordinated attempts to fill up voice mail).

In short unless the number of voice mails was sufficient to deny the individual the use of voice mail, or unless he actually reached her and she told him not to contact her again over the matter, it should be considered protected speech.
7.30.2009 3:40pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
She's at least as captive as all those poor children forced to look at Janet Jackson's boob. You can't "unhear" the abuse you've already heard.

True, but that's not a justification for stripping someone of his First Amendment rights. I am sure that in Erznoznik, the Court was aware that some children were going to see bare breasts while walking by the drive-in. In a free society, these things happen, and we generally think that the speaker's interest in speaking outweighs the listener's interest in not even wanting to hear a snippet of the message.

Voice mail messages can be erased. This shouldn't be a felony.
7.30.2009 3:40pm
Rich B. (mail):
Under what consistent standard can the Boy Scouts constitutionally exclude homosexuals because they are not "morally straight," but CPAs cannot prohibit homophobes for lacking "good moral character"?
7.30.2009 3:41pm
tom swift (mail):
Appalling.

I have to wonder just how many messages ("a bunch" is a bit nebulous) constitute "harassment."

I also have to wonder how anyone can call this fellow a "kook with a persecution complex." The persecution - prison, probation, hefty fine, denial of licensing - seems to be very real.
7.30.2009 3:41pm
/:
This isn't persecution, it's social justice.
7.30.2009 3:42pm
Danny (mail):
If somebody posted an article about "Hate Crimes Laws, Anti-Jewish Views, and Public Accountants" suggesting persecution of those poor neo-Nazis who cant even harrass a Jewish lady in her home, you would ask the author what planet he was from.

And the anti-Semitic equivalent of Dangermouse would say "you see, they are requiring not just tolerance from neo-Nazis, but acceptance!"

But when it's a group you don't like, then the rules are different
7.30.2009 3:43pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
If somebody posted an article about "Hate Crimes Laws, Anti-Jewish Views, and Public Accountants" suggesting persecution of those poor neo-Nazis who cant even harrass a Jewish lady in her home, you would ask the author what planet he was from.

Well, it isn't directly comparable in that the messages we are talking about here were not threats, whereas I suspect what a Nazi would leave on a Jew's voice mail would be one.

But if the Nazi left messages saying "convert to Christianity, repent before it's too late", I suspect that many of us would in fact argue for First Amendment protection.
7.30.2009 3:47pm
/:
But when it's a group you don't like, then the rules are different


The government must treat people differently if they're going to come out equal.
7.30.2009 3:48pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I should add that I suspect that if we were talking about a person who left messages threatening violence against gays and lesbians on the voice mail, not even the most anti-gay rights conservatives on these comments threads would be arguing that such messages were protected speech.

Saying you disapprove of homosexuality is simply very different than a threat.
7.30.2009 3:50pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

If somebody posted an article about "Hate Crimes Laws, Anti-Jewish Views, and Public Accountants" suggesting persecution of those poor neo-Nazis who cant even harrass a Jewish lady in her home, you would ask the author what planet he was from.

And the anti-Semitic equivalent of Dangermouse would say "you see, they are requiring not just tolerance from neo-Nazis, but acceptance!"

But when it's a group you don't like, then the rules are different


The rules are the same. You should not be able to find someone guilty of a felony for leaving voice-mail messages regarding any subject and then use this conviction as a basis for denying a license. I am both gay and Jewish.
7.30.2009 3:50pm
cboldt (mail):
-- and I should have every right to call them bigots --
.
You do. But that right is incompatible with holding a job that depends on licensure from the state.
7.30.2009 3:50pm
Danny (mail):
Okay, let's change the analogy to a crazy Christian, or let's imagine it was a Protestant calling a Catholic. If the victim had been from another group instead of a lesbian woman, this wouldn't even have been a discussion
7.30.2009 3:52pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Rich B.: The question isn't whether private CPAs -- for instance, some accounting company -- could refuse to hire Ake. It's whether the government, which decides whether someone may or may not legally practice accountancy, may deny a person the legally required license based partly on his continued adherence to unreformed, "irrational" views.

Danny: Of course anti-Semites, including ones who have left anti-Semitic voicemail messages and have been punished for telephone harassment, shouldn't be legally barred from being CPAs. That's one reason that in the last paragraph of my post I expressed concerned about similar actions with regard to religion-related, race-related, and similar hate crimes: "[C]ases such as this make me worry about the future, a future when 2-1 decisions such as the one here get flipped to 2-1 in the other direction: If a person commits even a minor crime (for instance, 'disorderly conduct,' which is covered by the Illinois hate crime statute) because of a target's sexual orientation, religion, race, and the like, the consequence isn't just enhanced criminal punishment. It's also that the government can continue, for years after the prison term is up, to decide whether the convicted person has properly changed his views, and to deny him the right to practice his chosen profession if he seems to continue harboring his '[un]reformed' and 'irrational' ideas."
7.30.2009 3:52pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

Under what consistent standard can the Boy Scouts constitutionally exclude homosexuals because they are not "morally straight," but CPAs cannot prohibit homophobes for lacking "good moral character"?
7.30.2009 3:41pm



The Boy Scouts are a private organization and can exclude whomever they like. The state cannot keep a person who has CPA skills from working as a licensed CPA just because it does not like his views.
7.30.2009 3:55pm
Danny (mail):
For the record, I do believe that once you have paid your debt to society, everyone should move on. Unless it's really relevant to the job, I don't see the point of pervasive job discrimination against people because they once committed a crime, once had a DUI, etc. Maybe in this case they are worried about the workplace atmosphere this guy seems to have little self-control
7.30.2009 3:56pm
Danny (mail):
@ Prof. Volokh
I agree with that, as long as the same standard is applied to each case.
7.30.2009 3:58pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
I also have a question about the concept of "good moral character." That is a nebulous catchall phrase that gives tremendous discretion to a government agency, and here it was used to evaluate the applicant's speech and beliefs.
7.30.2009 4:00pm
James Ellis (mail):
I find this all very thought-provoking. I can't help but think of the recent "disorderly conduct" arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates at Harvard. Setting aside the propriety or not of the arrest and the conduct of the individuals that led to it, Prof. Gates' himself admits that his actions and speech at the time were in large part racially motivated.

Imagine if this were escalated to a felony hate crime!

Talk about unintended consequences....
7.30.2009 4:14pm
tom swift (mail):

this guy seems to have little self-control

This speculation seems unwarranted. He holds what is currently an unpopular, or at least un-PC, opinion, and is perhaps unwilling to pretend that he doesn't. That seems to be all that the licensing board has on him.
7.30.2009 4:22pm
Blue:
TS nails it--"rehabilitation" in this matter means not performing the objectional act not ridding one's mind of an objectional thought.

Society has no right to know--or to care--what this guy thinks. What matters is what he does.
7.30.2009 4:22pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

I don't shed many tears for Ake himself. He certainly acted badly; and ultimately he got his license back. But cases such as this make me worry about the future, a future when 2-1 decisions such as the one here get flipped to 2-1 in the other direction: If a person commits even a minor crime (for instance, "disorderly conduct," which is covered by the Illinois hate crime statute) because of a target's sexual orientation, religion, race, and the like, the consequence isn't just enhanced criminal punishment. It's also that the government can continue, for years after the prison term is up, to decide whether the convicted person has properly changed his views, and to deny him the right to practice his chosen profession if he seems to continue harboring his "[un]reformed" and "irrational" ideas.



Prof. Volokh, I am curious as to whether there are any circumstances under which you would find the application of a hate crimes law not unconstitutional.
7.30.2009 4:23pm
Freedom:
The pink mafia has consistently claimed that "hate crime" laws are not intended to prohibit individuals from sharing their faith. This clearly is a lie. The pink mafia is determined to enlist government force on their side to force everyone else to accept their lifestyle and behavior as normal. If you don't conform, you will be treated as a felon and have your right to practice a trade revoked.

It's long past time to push the reset button in this country. The inmates are running the asylum.
7.30.2009 4:23pm
Rich B. (mail):
If you are going to try to make a case from the point of view of the perceived wrong to the victim, they I don't see why it makes any difference "public" versus "private" makes. One guy can't be a scoutmaster (anywhere) and another guy can't be a CPA (in Pennsylvania).

In terms of governmental viewpoint discrimination -- they would likely have come to the same result if the issue were a lesbian leaving repeated, harassing phone calls on a priest's answering machine that rose to the level of criminality. As such, it's not discrimination against homophobes, but discrimination against harassers of any type, which seems perfectly fine.
7.30.2009 4:25pm
Geotpf (mail):
The notion that hate crime laws are somehow unique because they increase the severity of the crime merely due to the motive of the crime, what the criminal was thinking, is completely false. The difference between the first and second degree versions of murder, and the difference between murder and manslaughter, and the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, are quite similar. So is the concept of insanity (that is, if somebody doesn't know right from wrong (they were thinking differently than a sane person) they are sent to a mental institution instead of jail).
7.30.2009 4:29pm
Oren:

@Oren: Why would you say not being a homophobe is an essential qualification for a CPA? Being able to add and subtract, knowing the US GAAP and IASC, sure, but why would being a rude, discriminating jerk make him unsuitable for the profession of CPA?

No, that's why I support the PA Supreme Court in reversal.

But the proper standard of review is not one in which someone has the presumption in favor of being a CPA (or a police officer, or a tank commander in the Marines).


Society has no right to know--or to care--what this guy thinks. What matters is what he does.

And if he persists in sharing his views with someone that has clearly requested to be left alone, he ought to be smacked around a bit for it.

Which Justice said that the right to be left alone ought to have been in the BoR? I can't recall...
7.30.2009 4:33pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

If you are going to try to make a case from the point of view of the perceived wrong to the victim, they I don't see why it makes any difference "public" versus "private" makes. One guy can't be a scoutmaster (anywhere) and another guy can't be a CPA (in Pennsylvania).




Do you not understand that the First Amendment deprives the government of the power to take a person's beliefs into account that a private organization like the Boy Scouts enjoys? That the victim may feel the same in both situations is irrelevant.
7.30.2009 4:35pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

And if he persists in sharing his views with someone that has clearly requested to be left alone, he ought to be smacked around a bit for it.

Which Justice said that the right to be left alone ought to have been in the BoR? I can't recall...



He left messages on a voice machine. Was he clearly requested to stop?

You are thinking of Brandeis, but did he actually think that a right to privacy be in the constitution?
7.30.2009 4:38pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
troll_dc2:

The obvious issue is that CPA's are in a position to collude with embezzlers, perhaps for a share of ill-gotten gains. So yes, you want someone of good moral character, and someone who will not steal from his or her clients.

However, I think it really SHOULD be limited to the issue of honesty and integrity.
7.30.2009 4:39pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

The notion that hate crime laws are somehow unique because they increase the severity of the crime merely due to the motive of the crime, what the criminal was thinking, is completely false. The difference between the first and second degree versions of murder, and the difference between murder and manslaughter, and the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, are quite similar. So is the concept of insanity (that is, if somebody doesn't know right from wrong (they were thinking differently than a sane person) they are sent to a mental institution instead of jail).



But do these distinctions turn on what the defendant thought or said about race, sex, etc.?
7.30.2009 4:40pm
rick.felt:
Prof. Volokh, I am curious as to whether there are any circumstances under which you would find the application of a hate crimes law not unconstitutional.

I can't speak for EV, but as someone who thinks hate crimes laws are almost always unconstitutional, I'll bite:

The only argument for hate crimes laws that I find even remotely persuasive is that a bias-motivated attack against a Jewish person (for example) functions as something of a threat against all Jews. The bias motivation behind the crime says to all Jews "it could be any one of you, and it's just your luck that I happened to pick this Jew this time." This rationale isn't perfect, and it really isn't how hate crimes laws are currently applied (usually). But to the extent that it's reasonable to interpret one crime as a threat against other members of that same class, well, I can agree that in those circumstances, a hate crimes statute might not be unconstitutional.
7.30.2009 4:44pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

troll_dc2:

The obvious issue is that CPA's are in a position to collude with embezzlers, perhaps for a share of ill-gotten gains. So yes, you want someone of good moral character, and someone who will not steal from his or her clients.

However, I think it really SHOULD be limited to the issue of honesty and integrity.



How do you determine whether someone will not steal from clients? How do you determine honesty and integrity? Among other things, you look to past conduct, as well as at evaluations from persons who know the applicant.

Going overboard in expressing oneself because of one's religious beliefs is simply not germane to this matter, no matter how it is dressed up.
7.30.2009 4:47pm
Malvolio:
Remember. not all Christians hate homosexuals [Episcopalians, et al].
Indeed, all Christians do not hate homosexuals (presuming they follow the injunctions of their faith).

Some Christians do not regard homosexual behavior as a sin. Those that do are nonetheless commanded to "love [their] neighbor as [themselves]" and "hate the sin not the sinner".

Someone asked William F. Buckley if homosexuals were sinners. "Of course," he replied, "as are we all."
7.30.2009 4:48pm
Geotpf:
"But do these distinctions turn on what the defendant thought or said about race, sex, etc.?"

No, but the attack against hate crime enhancements is that they are "punishing thought crimes" (specifically, increasing the sentence of such a crime-no hate crime law to my knowledge makes a crime out of something that otherwise wouldn't be a crime just because it was racially, etc. motivated). My point is that long-established criminal law does the exact same thing in a variety of different ways-it enhances the punishment of crime due to what the criminal is thinking.
7.30.2009 4:50pm
rick.felt:
The difference between the first and second degree versions of murder, and the difference between murder and manslaughter, and the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, are quite similar.

They're not at all similar. First and second degree murder depend on the amount of deliberation and calculation that went into the act. We're slightly more forgiving of someone who kills without taking substantial time to deliberate and evaluate the consequences of their action. Voluntary manslaughter involves someone who flew off the handle for some reason, but still wanted to kill. Involuntary manslaughter is when someone never intended to kill.

So is the concept of insanity (that is, if somebody doesn't know right from wrong (they were thinking differently than a sane person) they are sent to a mental institution instead of jail).

This isn't remotely right. An insane person is not capable of understanding the act and/or controlling his impulses. It's not the same as a rational person who freely chooses murder.
7.30.2009 4:51pm
pete (mail) (www):
Slightly relevant to this, but in the banking and finance industries they take a long look at your background before hiring you. If I remember correctly, to get your securities license the SEC requires that you need to be free from past convictions for fraud/theft type crimes and free of felony convictions. Most states have similar licensing requirements in insurance.

You can do a lot of damage to people's finances in many of these positions and they have little way to recover their money after the fact so these are reasonable regulations assuming that the definitons of felonies are not overbroad.
7.30.2009 4:54pm
Secret (mail):
Isn't the point that he intended his voicemails to be threats, whether she took them that way or not? Isn't intent part of the crime for which he was convicted? It isn't just about how he left them, if she heard them or if he was told to stop.

As for Freedom and his entertaining references to the pink mafia...that sounds fun, sign me up! And if you want, I'll gladly buy you a one way ticket to Communist China...or Cuba...or any of the dozens of African or Middle Eastern nations who, like you, feel like gays should be regarded as an intolerable influence on culture and the community. Just to put your bigoted, backward archaic views in perspective by pointing out the countries that have apparently kept the reset button pushed. So, let me know where to send the plane ticket.
7.30.2009 4:58pm
Rich B. (mail):
So am I correct that this is the consensus libertarian view here?

A. Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal for a public official to discriminate against homosexuals. (Factually true)

B. A CPA is a public official tasked with public accounting (you don't need to be a CPA in order to be an accountant.)

C. And yet, it should be wrong to consider whether the person you are licensing to be a public accountant has discriminated against -- and is likely to again discriminate against -- homosexuals in his private life prior to become a public official.

That makes sense.
7.30.2009 4:58pm
Geotpf:
They're not at all similar. First and second degree murder depend on the amount of deliberation and calculation that went into the act. We're slightly more forgiving of someone who kills without taking substantial time to deliberate and evaluate the consequences of their action.

This is a "thought crime", just like a hate crime enhancement is. If I thought about killing my girlfriend on Saturday and Sunday and Monday and made a plan in my head how to get away when I eventually do kill her on Tuesday, I should be punished more for thinking about it longer than if I just fly off the handle in an argument. It's enhanced punishment for what I'm thinking, just like a hate crime enhancement is.

Voluntary manslaughter involves someone who flew off the handle for some reason, but still wanted to kill. Involuntary manslaughter is when someone never intended to kill.

If I thought about (had intent) to kill somebody, I should be punished more than if I thought about just hurting somebody and kill them accidentially. More thought crime.

This isn't remotely right. An insane person is not capable of understanding the act and/or controlling his impulses. It's not the same as a rational person who freely chooses murder.

But the difference between a sane and an insane person is the difference how the two people process thoughts in their heads. Thought crime!
7.30.2009 5:01pm
sk (mail):
What a strange post. Eugene has managed to dump a great deal of data, but utterly fail at the analysis.

"As a result, he left a bunch of messages on the voice-mail of the YMCA's executive director, who was a lesbian; he denies that the messages contained explicit threats, but says he "basically shared what the Bible talked about was -- with that kind of unnatural lifestyle -- about lesbians and homosexuality."...

Ake was thus convicted of a felony, and sentenced to 14 days' in prison, with credit for time served before trial, plus 2½ years' probation, 200 hours of community service, and a $2000 fine. In February 2005, Ake was discharged from probation....

the story here is in any event not about that conviction, which may well have been perfectly sound....

I don't shed many tears for Ake himself. He certainly acted badly; and ultimately he got his license back.""

Really? A libertarian law professor believes that convicting someone for quoting the Bible in a 'hostile manner' may be perfectly sound? That overcoming the consequences of this act, which required seven years and an appeal to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, (and included 14 days in jail, 200 hours of community service and a $2000 fine) are justified and an acceptable outcome for the judicial process(when you say you don't shed many tears for Ake, I assume that this process was acceptable, simply because it came out ok in the end).

I'm simply flabbergasted that your opinions towards freedom of speech (see earlier threads discussing publishing personal information about undercover agents and jury members), and your views of the threat of government power could possibly support this as an acceptable outcome.


Sk
7.30.2009 5:02pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
@ troll

The Boy Scouts are a private organization and can exclude whomever they like. The state cannot keep a person who has CPA skills from working as a licensed CPA just because it does not like his views.

Unless the Boy Scouts become "too big to fail" a la the Jaycees. See Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees 468 U.S. 609 (1984). Once the organization (yes, even a private one) becomes so large, it must accept a sort of state-sponsored status such that it can no longer exclude any of the groups that it has become politically incorrect to not tolerate, such as gays/lesbians.
7.30.2009 5:15pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

So am I correct that this is the consensus libertarian view here?

A. Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal for a public official to discriminate against homosexuals. (Factually true)

B. A CPA is a public official tasked with public accounting (you don't need to be a CPA in order to be an accountant.)

C. And yet, it should be wrong to consider whether the person you are licensing to be a public accountant has discriminated against -- and is likely to again discriminate against -- homosexuals in his private life prior to become a public official.

That makes sense.



Your premises are wrong. First, it is not against Pennsylvania law for a public official to discriminate against homosexuals. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act does not forbid sexual-orientation discrimination, and neither does any other state law that applies to licensing. There are probably some federal constitutional rules that forbid discrimination to some extent, I am not aware that the state constitution has been so interpreted.

Second, a CPA is not a public official. Obtaining a state license does not make one a public official.
7.30.2009 5:15pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
@ Oren

I agree with the PASC that the revocation was illegal and ought to be reversed, but please don't try to sell me on the notion that a professional license is a god-given right.

A professional license is not a god-given right, it is, unfortunately, a state controlled operation, which is the problem. Some of us liberty-minded individuals would prefer not to cower to officialdom and the thought police in order to work and live.

Reminds me of the driver's license, also not a "god-given right" that's licensed by the state. People who spout hate speech are probably likely to be "road-ragers" right? We should probably not license bigots to drive. See where this has the potential of going?

No, you're probably not concerned...
7.30.2009 5:24pm
/:
The government's job is to protect me from prostylization. You have no right.
7.30.2009 5:25pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
What I don't understand is how gays have been able to convince society that homosexuality is normal. We now know it is not just a weird habit, but just because you are born with a condition doesn't make it normal.

Biologically speaking gayness is a birth defect, an inability to function as your body was made (as an atheist I won't say designed). If everyone was gay the human race would die out. Rather than celebrate it, why aren't there programs to help people overcome it?

My wife was born without feet but she uses artificial legs to function normally. If her condition was treated like gayness she'd be encouraged to crawl on the floor with pride, and the crawlers lobby would be demanding that rubber sidewalks be paid for by the government.

It is similar with transgender. If people say they want to cut off their hand or foot because it doesn't feel right they are deemed mentally ill. But if they want to cut off their sex organs, hey let's give it a name and make insurance pay for it. Talk about inmates running the asylum!
7.30.2009 5:28pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Some Christians do not regard homosexual behavior as a sin. Those that do are nonetheless commanded to "love [their] neighbor as [themselves]" and "hate the sin not the sinner".

The problem with this is that many Christians do not actually follow through with this, and some interpret it to mean that it's OK to impose massive discrimination and hardship in an effort to convert gays into straights and stop the "sinning".

In other words, it isn't bigoted to say that homosexuality is a sin-- but that doesn't mean that lots of people who say that aren't in fact bigots. Many are.
7.30.2009 5:30pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

@ troll

The Boy Scouts are a private organization and can exclude whomever they like. The state cannot keep a person who has CPA skills from working as a licensed CPA just because it does not like his views.
----
Unless the Boy Scouts become "too big to fail" a la the Jaycees. See Roberts v. U.S. Jaycees 468 U.S. 609 (1984). Once the organization (yes, even a private one) becomes so large, it must accept a sort of state-sponsored status such that it can no longer exclude any of the groups that it has become politically incorrect to not tolerate, such as gays/lesbians.



You are suggesting some tension between the Jaycees case and the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could not determine their membership. But Jaycees dealt with the issue of a private club, whereas the Boy Scouts case dealt with a private organization.
7.30.2009 5:32pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Except the second sentence: The CPA license should guarantee that the accounts prepared by this person are prepared in accordance with the relevant (legal) provisions. I don't see why one should lose one's license for being an unpleasant person. That's just bad business, nothing more.

Usually, there are anti-discrimination laws that apply to the professions. To the extent the accountant is violating those laws in his practice, the accountancy board would certainly have cause to take action.
Anti-discrimination laws apply to businesses generally, not specially to CPAs. It's one thing to subject an accountant to liability for discrimination against Xs; it's another to deny him a license for doing so. It makes no more sense than denying someone an ice-cream selling license or a lawn-mowing license because he discriminates against Xs.


Obligatory libertarian footnote: there shouldn't be anti-discrimination laws at all.
7.30.2009 5:33pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
Ouch. I meant to say "ruled that the state could not determine the Boy Scouts' membership." (still a pretty inept way of expressing myself--I got distracted.)
7.30.2009 5:36pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
@ troll,

In the interest of full disclose, Randy Barnett's textbook on Constitutional Law pointed out the tension to me.

But Jaycees dealt with the issue of a private club, whereas the Boy Scouts case dealt with a private organization.

Right...? Both private, I am missing your point. Club v. organization? what difference does that make?
7.30.2009 5:37pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

Obligatory libertarian footnote: there shouldn't be anti-discrimination laws at all.



Obligatory objection: whose liberty should take precedence and why? (no need to answer here)
7.30.2009 5:39pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
Well...in any event...

The issue here that I see is that as more private activities are publicized (via regulation and licensing controls), we are going to see more and more regulation of private thought incidental to private-now-publicly-licensed activities.
7.30.2009 5:40pm
ShelbyC:

What I don't understand is how gays have been able to convince society that homosexuality is normal. We now know it is not just a weird habit, but just because you are born with a condition doesn't make it normal.


I don't think most people think it's normal. But many folks are fortunate enough to have an upbringing that tells them you should treat folks with respect event if they do things you don't consider "normal".
7.30.2009 5:40pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
One thing that has me confused here is why Eugene thinks calling and leaving voice mails (when not actually interfering with the ability to use the phone or voice mail or being told to stop) is worthy of being a crime, but is opposed to similar cyberbullying laws on Constitutional grounds. Why the difference?

Why shouldn't it be illegal to send someone 15 emails telling them that god finds her behavior to be despicable, but leaving 15 voice mails can be?
7.30.2009 5:43pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

@ troll,

In the interest of full disclose, Randy Barnett's textbook on Constitutional Law pointed out the tension to me.

But Jaycees dealt with the issue of a private club, whereas the Boy Scouts case dealt with a private organization.

Right...? Both private, I am missing your point. Club v. organization? what difference does that make?



I dunno. Jaycees dealt with a state law that set a limit (I think 400 members) above which state anti-discrimination law would apply. Boy Scouts did not involve such an issue.

Are the cases in tension? Probably. I'd have to read Boy Scouts to see how it handled Jaycees. If I had my druthers, I would have voted the other way on Jaycees. Sometimes I am not a very good alleged liberal.
7.30.2009 5:43pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
And on an Administrative Law point:

The "Board" here is essentially a lawless entity except for when the real courts (Art III courts or here, PA commonwealth court) actually do step back into the fray from their abdications and substitute their judgment for that of the Agency or Board. I read the dissent, which was god-awful, and essentially advocated a 100% deference standard to the Board, pretty much no matter what. That, as I see it, is a huge problem.
7.30.2009 5:43pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

One thing that has me confused here is why Eugene thinks calling and leaving voice mails (when not actually interfering with the ability to use the phone or voice mail or being told to stop) is worthy of being a crime, but is opposed to similar cyberbullying laws on Constitutional grounds. Why the difference?

Why shouldn't it be illegal to send someone 15 emails telling them that god finds her behavior to be despicable, but leaving 15 voice mails can be?



I did not think it appropriate to bring up the subject here, but now that you have, I want Prof. Volokh to discuss whether anti-bullying laws are constitutional.
7.30.2009 5:45pm
Secret (mail):
Normal? What is normal? Is normal simply that it's more likely than not? As in gays are only 10% of the population and therefore they are not "normal?" I suppose then that white people are not normal since the majority of the people on the planet are not white. Or men. Women outnumber men, at least in this country. Left handed people - not normal. Totally not normal.

And in case you were not aware, people born with physical issues are called handicapped (which is frankly an unfortunate word) and the government actually does do a lot to make them feel more "normal." Ever heard of the ADA? And I know plenty of people born to live their lives in wheelchairs who are perfectly proud of who they are. As they should be. I don't see anyone telling them they shouldn't fight for the right to have access to the same accommodations that you do.
7.30.2009 5:46pm
ShelbyC:

Why shouldn't it be illegal to send someone 15 emails telling them that god finds her behavior to be despicable, but leaving 15 voice mails can be?




In both the phone and email cases (especially the phone) you're using someone's property without their permission.
7.30.2009 5:47pm
rick.felt:
If I thought about (had intent) to kill somebody, I should be punished more than if I thought about just hurting somebody and kill them accidentially. More thought crime.

The distinctions between types of homicides focus on how culpable the killer is for the victim's death. The less culpable we judge the killer to be, the less of a punishment the killer gets. It's not about whether we approve of his motive.
7.30.2009 5:50pm
FWB (mail):
If this was a state law, how does it sqaure with the "equal protection" clause of the 14th? If even a single grouping is made that separates that group from the total population, then the law is NOT equal protection of all persons. And we already have harassment laws, etc that cover certain actions.

Tiocfaidh ar la!
7.30.2009 5:50pm
FormerStudent:
A surprisingly civil discussion here...


Which Justice said that the right to be left alone ought to have been in the BoR? I can't recall...


I think it was Brandeis as well, but I don't think he was talking about the right to never have an unpleasant encounter with a fellow citizen. He was talking about the right to be left alone by the government.
7.30.2009 5:52pm
ShelbyC:

Jaycees dealt with a state law that set a limit (I think 400 members) above which state anti-discrimination law would apply. Boy Scouts did not involve such an issue.




Are the Jaycees an expressive organization?
7.30.2009 5:57pm
troll_dc2 (mail):

A surprisingly civil discussion here...



Why is it a surprise? One of things that I like about this Web site is that most discussions deal with the issues raised by the bloggers and usually avoid personal attacks. It is a chance to explore issues from a lot of different angles.
7.30.2009 5:57pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Anti-discrimination laws apply to businesses generally, not specially to CPAs. It's one thing to subject an accountant to liability for discrimination against Xs; it's another to deny him a license for doing so.

At least here in California, David, the various licensing boards have broad authority to investigate violations of antidiscrimination law.

Remember, it isn't, also, an all or nothing "deny him a license or not" situation. There are many things that can be done short of that.

But perhaps other states are different and leave discrimination claims to their versions of the EEOC. They only should be handling discrimination claims if they are authorized to.
7.30.2009 5:58pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
In both the phone and email cases (especially the phone) you're using someone's property without their permission.

By that logic, if you say something unwelcome to someone using a hearing aid, you are using their property without their permission.
7.30.2009 5:59pm
CCTrojan:

I don't think most people think it's normal. But many folks are fortunate enough to have an upbringing that tells them you should treat folks with respect event if they do things you don't consider "normal".


I treat homosexuals with perfect respect. I have not ever called a homosexual person a name, or discriminated against a homosexual in my business practices, or even thought that a homosexual person was less of a person than anyone else. That is not enough for most homosexuals. They want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women. Because that is never going to happen, I get to be labeled as a hateful bigot by a group of people that I have never in my entire life done anything to harm or offend.
7.30.2009 6:00pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I think it was Brandeis as well, but I don't think he was talking about the right to never have an unpleasant encounter with a fellow citizen. He was talking about the right to be left alone by the government.

It's a digression, but no, Warren and Brandeis classic article "The Right to Privacy" was not just about governmental intrusion, but private intrusion as well. They had a long discussion in there about the 19th Century equivalent of gossip columnists, as I recall.

Of course, they were arguing for a common law privacy right (assertable against both the government and private parties), not constitutionalizing privacy rights.
7.30.2009 6:01pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
They want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women.

Well, there's a difference between arguing that this is what God intended and advocating laws discriminating against gays and lesbians when it comes to STATE-recognized (i.e., civil, not religious) marriages.

It's not bigoted at all to say homosexuality is a sin. But when you start using government power to punish gays and lesbians, that's a whole different matter.
7.30.2009 6:03pm
Secret (mail):
CCTrojan-

What homosexuals WANT is certainly different than what they are asking the government to do. Certainly as a homosexual, I WANT you to not think that something I cannot change is not sinful (it really is not a lifestyle anymore than your heterosexuality is). I certainly WANT you to teach your children whatever you choose, but also teach them that not everyone in this world shares those beliefs and those people should be treated with dignity and respect because that is what your faith tells them to do (not saying you do not, but certainly not everyone who shares your beliefs do).

I would question what you would call someone who thought your daughter was subordinate to your son. That she should wear a burqa that covers her from head to toe, walk behind you and you and your son, marry who you decide she should with no say in how she feels and not be allowed to be free to feel or think the way she wants. What would you call that person? Probably something far worse than a bigot. But yet, there are millions of people who's faith, like yours, dictates the lives they lead. Should we just accept that and think it is okay?

I fully support your right to believe what you want about me. I support your right to teach your children whatever you want while they are under your roof. But I do not believe you have any right to let your beliefs dictate what I can do with my life. My life is my life. If I want to marry the person I love, who just may not fit into the love your faith tells you is the only appropriate one, who are you to tell me otherwise anymore than I am to tell you how to raise your children or believe what you believe. Don't you see that in as much as you refuse to change your beliefs, I refuse to live under a government that uses those beliefs to dictate my behavior.
7.30.2009 6:06pm
Oren:

Really? A libertarian law professor believes that convicting someone for quoting the Bible in a 'hostile manner' after repeatedly being told to desist may be perfectly sound?

Indeed.

A professional license is not a god-given right, it is, unfortunately, a state controlled operation, which is the problem. Some of us liberty-minded individuals would prefer not to cower to officialdom and the thought police in order to work and live.

And some of us would like the liberty not to worry about our CPA hijacking our bank account and fleeing to Nicaragua (iirc, they still don't have an extradition treaty).


Reminds me of the driver's license, also not a "god-given right" that's licensed by the state. People who spout hate speech are probably likely to be "road-ragers" right? We should probably not license bigots to drive.

If you demonstrate that you are incapable of refraining from actually physically assaulting your fellow then, yes, you ought to have you license to drive revoked until such time as you can control your actions.

I don't give a single whit what this guy actually believes, I just think that he ought to confine himself to expressing it in a manner that does not violate the rights of others. He need not reform his viewpoint, only his actions, to be square with me.
7.30.2009 6:08pm
ShelbyC:

They want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women.


But isn't it perfectly understandable that they want that?
7.30.2009 6:09pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
And some of us would like the liberty not to worry about our CPA hijacking our bank account and fleeing to Nicaragua (iirc, they still don't have an extradition treaty).
What does that have to do with being a homophobe, or a telephone harasser for that matter?

If you demonstrate that you are incapable of refraining from actually physically assaulting your fellow then, yes, you ought to have you license to drive revoked until such time as you can control your actions.
Unless you assault them with your car, what does it have to do with a driver's license?
I don't give a single whit what this guy actually believes, I just think that he ought to confine himself to expressing it in a manner that does not violate the rights of others. He need not reform his viewpoint, only his actions, to be square with me.
That's not what the board ruled, however.

And what does it have to do with being a CPA?

Moreover, whatever he did wrong, it was eight years ago, and he hasn't been convicted of doing it since. So I think he has shown he can control his actions.
7.30.2009 6:17pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
And some of us would like the liberty not to worry about our CPA hijacking our bank account and fleeing to Nicaragua (iirc, they still don't have an extradition treaty).

And a state license will never alleviate those fears. That's not liberty you describe, but security.
7.30.2009 6:22pm
Oren:
DM, let me restate my position.

(1) The PA board was correct to look at his felony conviction and subject him to higher scrutiny in deciding whether he is suitable for an office of Public Trust.

(2) The PA board ought to look at general moral uprightness in regards to being a CPA.

(3) The PA was incorrect to conclude that his license ought to be revoked.
7.30.2009 6:23pm
DangerMouse:
They want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women.

Actually, they want much more than that. They want you to be convicted of a felony for leaving a message on a voicemail about your beliefs, and then they want that felony conviction to dog you for the rest of your life and prevent you from being able to practice as a CPA, until such time as you change your beliefs to fir their politically correct ones. That's the lesson here in this case: turning all politically incorrect people into felons who can't get jobs.
7.30.2009 6:24pm
BGates:
Certainly as a homosexual, I WANT you to not think that something I cannot change is not sinful

I don't think homosexuality is a sin, but the argument you present here is not a good one. The prisons are full of people who acted on inborn, natural impulses, which hurt other people. You nor I nor CCTrojan want to shrug and say "pyromaniacs are God's children too," and legalize arson. Homosexuality is different from innate criminal tendencies because it doesn't hurt anyone.
7.30.2009 6:25pm
BD (mail):
Homosexuals are not the only ones who want you to believe that...there are plenty of straight people who wish Christians would stop being so uptight about their beliefs and thinking the rest of the world needs to follow suit.

Men and women having sex is necessary for reproduction (for the most part), but is reproduction the limits to relationships and why they exist? Should people who have no interest in reproduction suffer discrimination, disdain, etc. simply because they do not want children? Give me a break.

If homosexuality is unnatural, then why are there homosexuals in nature? And even if it is some scientific anomaly, who cares? Does it hurt you that two men want to have sex together or live together or marry one another? Or two women? What exactly is the impact of that on your life?
7.30.2009 6:25pm
ShelbyC:

And some of us would like the liberty not to worry about our CPA hijacking our bank account and fleeing to Nicaragua (iirc, they still don't have an extradition treaty).


While, then you should be free to only use accountants that have been checked out by the state. The problem with licenses is that they prevent someone from enganging in their profession with willing clients.
7.30.2009 6:27pm
Secret (mail):
BGates-

Sorry I thought the fact that gays do not hurt other people was fairly obvious. I also do not think there is much foundation that pyromaniacs are born that way. Nor are arsonists necessarily pyromaniacs. Please get out your Venn Diagrams and try that analogy again. Or don't because it does not really apply.
7.30.2009 6:29pm
SuperSkeptic (mail):
turning all politically incorrect people into felons who can't get jobs.

Testify DangerMouse!
7.30.2009 6:33pm
SAm (mail):
I hope all "Christians" who hold his views are convicted and turned into felons. It's the least they deserve for oppressing the rest of us with their mythological beliefs.
7.30.2009 6:36pm
CCTrojan:

Homosexuals are not the only ones who want you to believe that...there are plenty of straight people who wish Christians would stop being so uptight about their beliefs and thinking the rest of the world needs to follow suit.


You have demonstrated a complete ignorance of Christianity. Bravo!

If a person believed that they had discovered knowledge that was necessary for a human being to reach his or her maximum potential and happiness, wouldn't the bigotry and hatred be evident in the unwillingness to share it, rather than in the desire to share? Why are you so certain that Christians "impose" their beliefs on others out of uptightness or a desire to be right rather than out of concern?


Does it hurt you that two men want to have sex together or live together or marry one another? Or two women? What exactly is the impact of that on your life?


It doesn't hurt me. It hurts them. They, of course, do not believe that, but that doesn't change my beliefs. I don't condone any law that encourages behavior that I believe God does not condone. I am not a fan of lax divorce laws. I have no problem with prohibition. And frankly, I would never have complained if adultery laws were still on the books. I am cognizant of the problems with enforcing those kinds of laws, and I am in no way advocating for their return. However, I believe strongly that it is my duty to vote according to the dictates of my conscience. I want laws that reflect what I think is "right," and I vote for them. This is a democracy, and in general the majority rules. But I also respect that our constitution, which might prevent my beliefs from being "imposed" on others, also protects me from their beliefs to some extent.

That is why I do NOT think that those who supported Prop 8, or who oppose gay marriage, should be villified. If the time comes that the majority view changes, so be it. Likewise, if the courts deem the law inconsistent with the constitution, so be it. But no person should be assumed to be a hateful person because they elected to vote according to the dictates of their own conscience.
7.30.2009 6:59pm
aGuestUser (mail):
I hope all "Christians" who hold his views are convicted and turned into felons. It's the least they deserve for oppressing the rest of us with their mythological beliefs.

For the sake of your fellow man, let us hope you don't have a jury summons anywhere near your mailbox.

For your own sake, let us hope you are never tried before a jury of your peers.
7.30.2009 7:03pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
One critical difference between consideration based on intent to kill or premeditation in murder law vs what we see in hate crime law though.

In the question of premeditated murder it isn't enough to have WANTED to kill someone for a long time, nor is it enough to THINK ABOUT doing so, it is rather a question of deliberation, decision making, and planning.

For example, one might want to kill someone for a year and then one day lose control of oneself and do it. However, that isn't enough to say it was premeditated. In short premeditation covers practical elements, not mere thought. Similarly intent to kill is another element which is practical rather than merely motivational. I.e. it isn't usually important WHY one intended to kill, but rather the idea is that a killing that springs from intent is more likely to repeat than one which springs from mere recklessness.

However with hate crime law (which I generally oppose but would support some imaginable versions which are different from what we have today), the punishment is motivation-- it doesn't apply to the question of whether a crime was intended, or whether it was planned, but rather the simple question of the political views which lead to it. This is where I see it as dangerous to individual liberty.

It would be better to replace hate crime law with crime with intent to intimidate legislation. In other words, if you try to commit a property crime seeking to intimidate gays, Jews, teachers at your local high school, etc. the fact that you sought to intimidate a group through the crime should be held against you (and to the same standard regardless of what group you were targetting).

THe other issue here is that of harrassment. I don't see any evidence the guy was told to stop calling. Unless there is a deliberate attempt to deny the subject use of honest services (say by filling up the voice mail every evening), I think one element of a harassment claim ought to be the fact that a perpetrator is told to stop but continues anyway.
7.30.2009 7:09pm
Danny (mail):
@ einhverfr
That really makes sense, I thought that was how those laws were set up anyway.
7.30.2009 7:17pm
ShelbyC:

By that logic, if you say something unwelcome to someone using a hearing aid, you are using their property without their permission.


Only if the hearing aid had an activation switch, that I reached over and flicked.
7.30.2009 7:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
If a person believed that they had discovered knowledge that was necessary for a human being to reach his or her maximum potential and happiness, wouldn't the bigotry and hatred be evident in the unwillingness to share it, rather than in the desire to share? Why are you so certain that Christians "impose" their beliefs on others out of uptightness or a desire to be right rather than out of concern?

1. As pointed out above, when one favors having laws that make life miserable for gays in the hope that it will convince them to be straight or stay in the closet, that's bigotry.

2. Christians who tell themselves what you said need to familiarize themselves with the concept of "officious intermeddling". If you deliberately involve yourself in things that are none of your business, it really isn't a justification to say that you are saving the person from him- or herself.

That is why I do NOT think that those who supported Prop 8, or who oppose gay marriage, should be villified.

The people who supported Prop. 8 were not loving the sinners. They were hating the sinners. Specifically, they were saying that the sinners shouldn't get the same benefits from the government that they get, in order that an incentive may be created so that people decide to be, or live as, straights. That's exactly what people mean when they say that we need to act to encourage the formation of families with a male and a female raising children. It means, if you are gay, we want to create incentives for you to stop being gay and live as a straight person.

Again, I don't deny that there is such a thing as non-bigoted belief that homosexuality is a sin. But you can't be a non-bigot if you think that your belief that homosexuality is a sin gives you the right to punish and discriminate against gays and lesbians.
7.30.2009 7:50pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Only if the hearing aid had an activation switch, that I reached over and flicked.

A phone call doesn't flick any activation switch. The voice mail is either on or off, and the caller has no control over that fact. The caller is no different than the person talking to someone with a hearing aid; in both cases, the speaker has no control over the technology. In that situation, it's silly to call it a use of someone else's property.
7.30.2009 7:52pm
Secret (mail):
CCTrojan -

I have my sincere doubts that when the majority comes around, which I trust you recognize is on your doorstep, you will feel so open to it. The fact is, even if the law changes to reflect the equality that homosexuals desire, you will still feel the way you feel. That is your prerogative.

I was unfortunately raised a Christian and attended services for well over two decades. I'm well aware of what it means to be a Christian. There are plenty of Christians who do not feel the way you feel. They are no less Christian. It's the attitude that your way is the only way, that you have it right and everyone else is wrong, which is why you and so many are "vilified" by gay people. We're frankly sick of it.

As much as I despise your beliefs as you do my lifestyle, I certainly am not advocating laws that says Christians should be denied services, benefits or rights under the laws of this country. I do not picket outside their churches telling them that their beliefs are misguided. I do not try to get Christian teachers fired simply based on the fact they worship outside of schools. If you do not want me to flaunt my "lifestyle" in front of your children, please do not flaunt yours in front of me.

As for your motivation regarding why your beliefs are imposed on me, that is irrelevant. Your beliefs are rejected by me and that should be the end of it. If you want to live in a nation that puts religious beliefs over individual liberties, then feel free to move to Saudi Arabia. This is the United States.
7.30.2009 8:06pm
Danny (mail):

If a person believed that they had discovered knowledge that was necessary for a human being to reach his or her maximum potential and happiness, wouldn't the bigotry and hatred be evident in the unwillingness to share it, rather than in the desire to share? Why are you so certain that Christians "impose" their beliefs on others out of uptightness or a desire to be right rather than out of concern?


Kind of like the special knowledge that the French revolutionaries and Stalin had about religion, which they used to help ex-Christians reach the full of their (rational, secular potential) with a guillotine if necessary. It was all in the name of humanity and progress, of course.
7.30.2009 8:33pm
/:
then feel free to move to Saudi Arabia. This is the United States.

Leaving voice messages quoting the Bible is like murdering women unless they cover their entire entire bodies.
7.30.2009 8:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

(2) The PA board ought to look at general moral uprightness in regards to being a CPA.

I noticed this repeatedly argued in this discussion thread--with no apparent awareness that even in 1960 (maybe in 1970, even), "moral uprightness" was something that excluded all homosexuals.

You would wonder a bit about homosexuals intent on using governmental power to impose a standard of "moral uprightness," but that's what happens when your notions of morality are completely untied to anything but lust.
7.30.2009 8:41pm
BN (mail) (www):
Actually, they want much more than that. They want you to be convicted of a felony for leaving a message on a voicemail about your beliefs, and then they want that felony conviction to dog you for the rest of your life and prevent you from being able to practice as a CPA, until such time as you change your beliefs to fir their politically correct ones. That's the lesson here in this case: turning all politically incorrect people into felons who can't get jobs.


Speech may be free but an audience isn't. You can scream about teh gheys in the village square until you pass out. That doesn't mean you can do it in front of my house every day. There is a line and Ake crossed it by repeatedly calling this woman.
7.30.2009 8:48pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Jumping way back (to the issue)

einhverfr:
Given that folks invest a fair bit of time and effort becoming CPA's, I guess the question is whether the commonweath can arbitrarily strip someone of the right to continue in his/her chosen profession.

In my opinion, at a minimum, there ought to be some direct link between the behavior in question and the ethical duties of a CPA, and it ought to be a stronger link than, say, the link between a potential traffic officer's speeding tickets and his/her performance.



Actually, I agree. But can't the same be said of real estate agents? Granted the specific education is a matter of weeks rather than years, but there still is expense, education, testing, and a period of what is essentially apprenticeship to receive the license in some states.

Hodgkins never got his license back, and his crime was if anything even less connected to the skills and ethics of his licensed profession. Perhaps the answer is not to reduce the primary punishments but to ensure that secondary punishments, such as restrictions of licensure, are restricted to situations where the original offense has a direct relationship to the ethics required for the position.
7.30.2009 8:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):


Speech may be free but an audience isn't. You can scream about teh gheys in the village square until you pass out. That doesn't mean you can do it in front of my house every day. There is a line and Ake crossed it by repeatedly calling this woman.


Where is that line drawn? How many times (exactly) can you call and tell the person that the bible says their behavior is highly objectionable before it is harassment even when you are not told to stop by the person?
7.30.2009 8:59pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Chimaxx:


Actually, I agree. But can't the same be said of real estate agents? Granted the specific education is a matter of weeks rather than years, but there still is expense, education, testing, and a period of what is essentially apprenticeship to receive the license in some states.

Hodgkins never got his license back, and his crime was if anything even less connected to the skills and ethics of his licensed profession. Perhaps the answer is not to reduce the primary punishments but to ensure that secondary punishments, such as restrictions of licensure, are restricted to situations where the original offense has a direct relationship to the ethics required for the position.


100% agreed.
7.30.2009 9:01pm
BN (mail) (www):
Where is that line drawn? How many times (exactly) can you call and tell the person that the bible says their behavior is highly objectionable before it is harassment even when you are not told to stop by the person?


The line is drawn where the jury/judge says its drawn.

I would personally draw the line a two times. One is a mistake, two is a pattern.

Here is a novel idea, leave teh gheys alone. That woman didn't deserve to have some nut case calling her. Hopefully this case gets a lot of publicity and the usual suspects will think twice before leaving harassing messages.
7.30.2009 9:06pm
Secret (mail):
The line is drawn when your intent in calling is to harass and not deliver a message. Calling more than once with the same message having nto received a response should indicate that the woman is not interested in the bull you're slinging. To call again is harassment. Apparently a judge/jury agreed. I feel fairly certain had she been leaving messages at his house about how homosexuality is awesome, many of those on here feigning outrage would feel that her actions were inappropriate.

As for homosexuals' standards of morality being "untied" to anything but lust, yes, the gays want the gay marriage so that they can...ummmmm....sleep with a bunch of other people? Got it. I don't think it is their standard of morality that is tied to lust...I'm fairly certain it is those who choose to use sexual orientation as a line to draw in the sand to divide people that are obsessed with sex, not the people who simply want to live their lives, love who they love and not be treated differently by the government they support with their tax dollars and obedience.
7.30.2009 9:44pm
Danny (mail):
You can't win with the Christianists... in the 1970s, when there was no prospect of gay marriage and some gays made "free love" and sexual liberation a part of their identity, they said they hated gays because they were promiscuous and not interested in marriage. Now that gay culture has changed they attack the gays for wanting to settle down and get married. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. There is no point in arguing with Christianists and hardline conservatives because they have an existential hatred unamenable to argument.
7.30.2009 10:02pm
Anatid:
rick.felt:

This isn't remotely right. An insane person is not capable of understanding the act and/or controlling his impulses. It's not the same as a rational person who freely chooses murder.


Can you please provide me with a definition of "insane"? This definition needs to include at least 90% of 'insane' people and exclude at least 90% of 'sane' people.

Keep in mind that:
- On average, over one-third of people randomly chosen off the street will meet criteria for at least one mental illness (do you often experience anxiety that causes you distress?)
- Mental illness evaluation is highly subjective, influenced by the evaluator and the paradigms to which he subscribes (is it schizophrenia? multiple personality disorder? depends which books you read)
- Mental illness definition is also highly subjective, influenced by social trends (go to a transgendered forum and ask them what they think of gender identity disorder in the DSM-IV-TR)

CCTrojan:

[Homosexuals] want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women. Because that is never going to happen, I get to be labeled as a hateful bigot by a group of people that I have never in my entire life done anything to harm or offend.


Out of curiosity, what would you do if one of your children discovered s/he was gay? Would it affect your ability to be a supportive parent?

It's not my place to step into your home and tell you how to raise your children. That said, I've known far too many honest, decent gay kids who suffered unnecessarily because their families reviled and condemned homosexuality at the expense of love for their child. Other families, of course, might not approve of their child's sexual orientation but can still be loving, understanding parents. At a bare minimum, it's a legitimate concern.

Driving fast cars is a lifestyle. Wearing your hair long and partying at night is a lifestyle. Sexual orientation isn't a lifestyle any more than devotion to God is.


However, I believe strongly that it is my duty to vote according to the dictates of my conscience. I want laws that reflect what I think is "right," and I vote for them. This is a democracy, and in general the majority rules. But I also respect that our constitution, which might prevent my beliefs from being "imposed" on others, also protects me from their beliefs to some extent.


Are any gay folks voting to invalidate your marriage?

It is absolutely your right to hold whatever beliefs you choose, and to teach them to your children. But when you vote to restrict the rights of thousands of other people based on these views - particularly when the only harm you perceive is to the people themselves - it's a different story. I personally enjoy the idea of mandatory neural stem cell implants in the prefrontal cortex for serial killers and serial rapists as a form of rehabilitative treatment, if the technology was up to par, but I still would not vote for a bill that proposed this. I prefer to keep my votes out of people's brains as well as their bedrooms.

Calling you "hateful" is out of line. Being disappointed that you are voting to interfere with the lives of thousands of happy couples, who do not in any way affect you, is reasonable. At a bare minimum, I am a pragmatist and believe in harm reduction, and I don't see how encouraging homosexuals to commit to stable monogamy rather than promiscuity can be a bad thing.

Secret:

I also do not think there is much foundation that pyromaniacs are born that way. Nor are arsonists necessarily pyromaniacs.


A highly disproportionate number of violent criminals meet criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Both of these disorders are difficult to treat and are believed to have a neurochemical basis, which originates during fetal development and the first few years of life. A highly disproportionate number of violent criminals show reduced activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible for exercising impulse control, particularly in social settings. This brain region is also, for the most part, unchanging after infancy. A highly disproportionate number of violent criminals show anxious-avoidant attachment patterning, which can be consistently detected in children as young as one year of age, and does not change throughout life in ~80% of subjects.

I'm sure free will is in there somewhere. But some people are simply predisposed to have an easier or more difficult time avoiding committing crimes. I am reminded of this every time I refrain from eating a cookie before dinner and watch a family member snarf cookies, unable to stop herself, even if she tries.
7.30.2009 10:08pm
Danny (mail):

That said, I've known far too many honest, decent gay kids who suffered unnecessarily because their families reviled and condemned homosexuality at the expense of love for their child.


It has been estimated that a shocking 40% of homeless
children in the USA are gays and lesbians who were thrown out my their families


Sexual orientation isn't a lifestyle any more than devotion to God is.


Actually religion is much more of a lifestyle. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years, Judaism 3,000 humanity tens of thousands of years. Sexuality, including homosexuality, is much older than humanity itself, let alone religion.
7.30.2009 10:24pm
Putting Two and Two...:
CCTrojan:

I don't condone any law that encourages behavior that I believe God does not condone. I am not a fan of lax divorce laws. I have no problem with prohibition. And frankly, I would never have complained if adultery laws were still on the books. I am cognizant of the problems with enforcing those kinds of laws, and I am in no way advocating for their return. However, I believe strongly that it is my duty to vote according to the dictates of my conscience. I want laws that reflect what I think is "right," and I vote for them. This is a democracy, and in general the majority rules. But I also respect that our constitution, which might prevent my beliefs from being "imposed" on others, also protects me from their beliefs to some extent.

That is why I do NOT think that those who supported Prop 8, or who oppose gay marriage, should be villified. If the time comes that the majority view changes, so be it. Likewise, if the courts deem the law inconsistent with the constitution, so be it. But no person should be assumed to be a hateful person because they elected to vote according to the dictates of their own conscience.


In suggesting that you view "gay sin" just as you view other "sins", you go out of your way to make sure everyone knows you wouldn't dream of advocating the return of laws restricting divorce, adultery, etc. Then, in the next paragraph, you make it quite clear that you supported and voted for Prop 8, which restricts "gay sin".

Do you really not see the inconsistency?
7.30.2009 10:30pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Does a State Board not have any interest in assuring that all citizens will receive good and competent service, especially under civil-rights protections?

Is it irrational to expect that Mr. Ake will treat his clients, existing and prospective, pretty badly should he discover they are gay?
7.30.2009 10:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
"What I don't understand is how gays have been able to convince society that homosexuality is normal. We now know it is not just a weird habit, but just because you are born with a condition doesn't make it normal.

Biologically speaking gayness is a birth defect, an inability to function as your body was made (as an atheist I won't say designed). If everyone was gay the human race would die out. Rather than celebrate it, why aren't there programs to help people overcome it?"

There are. They are called ex-gay groups. Their failure rate is monumental because you can't change your sexual orientation. If you are bisexual, you can repress your desires, but they never go away. Heck, if you are gay, you can repress your desires, but they never go away.

There are plenty of people who think the exact same way as you do. Then one of their children comes out as gay. Usually, the parents either a) disown the child and refuse to have anything more to do with him or her, or b) realize that being gay is something innate, not harmful to anyone, and realize that making their child unhappy by rejecting them changes nothing, and they eventually come to accept the child.
7.30.2009 10:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

It has been estimated that a shocking 40% of homeless
children in the USA are gays and lesbians who were thrown out my their families

I hear similar claims made a lot. I find it very hard to believe that many families are throwing their kids out for being gay--especially since nearly every family that I have known with a gay child has gone out of their way to lavish praise on their child for doing so. It is far more likely that the high rates of substance abuse among homosexuals are the source of high rates of being kicked out by parents.
7.30.2009 10:46pm
Idiot creationist lawyer:

In suggesting that you view "gay sin" just as you view other "sins", you go out of your way to make sure everyone knows you wouldn't dream of advocating the return of laws restricting divorce, adultery, etc. Then, in the next paragraph, you make it quite clear that you supported and voted for Prop 8, which restricts "gay sin".

Do you really not see the inconsistency?


I am not a California resident. I did not vote on Prop 8.

That being said, I did not say I wouldn't dream of advocating for the return of those laws. I don't advocate for anything, really. My point is that I am not out trying to bring those laws back because I can accept that the majority of Americans don't want them. I am willing to acknowledge that I live in a democracy and I cannot expect everyone to see things my way, and that there will be laws with which I disagree.

But if a vote came on the ballot to make adultery a crime I would vote yes. Sorry to all you people who can't keep their pants on, And it wouldn't matter because most people would vote no.
7.30.2009 10:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

You can't win with the Christianists... in the 1970s, when there was no prospect of gay marriage and some gays made "free love" and sexual liberation a part of their identity, they said they hated gays because they were promiscuous and not interested in marriage.
Source? Remember that the primary objection to homosexuality has always been homosexuality itself--not promiscuity.
7.30.2009 10:48pm
Randy R. (mail):
Trojan: "[Homosexuals] want me to stop believing that their lifestyle is sinful and stop teaching my children that God intended for men to be married to women. "

I think if you had a gay child, he or she would really like you to stop thinking that their lifestyle is sinful and just accept them for who they are. Indeed, PFLAG is filled with parents that do just that.

Now, it's great that you think it's sinful, but do you really think that preaching this to your children is going to stop them from being gay if they are? We don't choose our desires, any more than you choose yours.

Sin is sin because it's a choice -- you choose to steal bread, for instance. But I certainly don't think being gay is a sin because that's just who I am, and I have no choice over my desires. Which should be good news to you -- if your children aren't born gay, you have nothing to worry about. There is no amount of gay propaganda we can instill in your kids that will make them desire someone of the same sex if you they don't already have it.

So your desire to vote against gays rights isn't anything about promoting morality, or trying to create a society that you approve of. It's merely a desire to punish people you don't like.
7.30.2009 10:49pm
CCTrojan:

I am not a California resident. I did not vote on Prop 8.

That being said, I did not say I wouldn't dream of advocating for the return of those laws. I don't advocate for anything, really. My point is that I am not out trying to bring those laws back because I can accept that the majority of Americans don't want them. I am willing to acknowledge that I live in a democracy and I cannot expect everyone to see things my way, and that there will be laws with which I disagree.

But if a vote came on the ballot to make adultery a crime I would vote yes. Sorry to all you people who can't keep their pants on, And it wouldn't matter because most people would vote no.


That was me. I was at a different computer.
7.30.2009 10:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As for homosexuals' standards of morality being "untied" to anything but lust, yes, the gays want the gay marriage so that they can...ummmmm....sleep with a bunch of other people?
One of the first gay couples that married in Mass. told a reporter that they had an "open marriage." For a lot of gay men, marriage is about health benefits and having someone to come home to after a night of casual sex.
7.30.2009 10:51pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


There are. They are called ex-gay groups. Their failure rate is monumental because you can't change your sexual orientation.
And you are wrong. Professor Spitzer, who led the movement to get homosexuality removed from DSM-III, found that about half of those who made a serious effort at doing so, were able to change not just behavior, but sexual and romantic orientation. Maybe you are stuck--a lot of others are not.
7.30.2009 10:53pm
Danny (mail):

I find it very hard to believe that many families are throwing their kids out for being gay--especially since nearly every family that I have known with a gay child has gone out of their way to lavish praise on their child for doing so.



Well unfortunately it still happens a lot. I am going to hazard a guess that you are white and know a lot of educated middle-class people. Many of the homeless gay kids come from poor, minority backgrounds, so when their parents throw them out they have no safety net. Those are the ones who are more likely to end up living in a car or on the street.
7.30.2009 10:54pm
Putting Two and Two...:
It appears (PDF) that he made "numerous" calls to her and left "numerous" voice messages.


...Ake made a series of telephone calls to the
executive director of the YMCA, described by Ake as follows:
Q. Who’d you make the phone calls to?
A. The Executive Director, Ms. Arnold – Jan Arnold – who I
was talking to since I had moved into the Y back in August
2000, requesting to have the Bible Study. I had numerous
conversations with her throughout this time.

Q. Well, what was the gist of the conversations then with her?

A. Basically, I basically shared what the Bible talked about
was – with that kind of unnatural lifestyle – about lesbians
and homosexuality.
Q. Well, at the time, did you know she was a lesbian? That
you were actually talking about lesbianism with a woman
who was a lesbian?
A. Oh, yeah. I knew at the time. I didn’t know when I first
moved in.
Notes of Testimony, 12/11/07, at 14 (N.T. ___); Reproduced Record at 47a (R.R.
___). The statements were not made directly to Ms. Arnold, as Ake further
explained:
A. I left them on a tape machine.
Q. Oh.
A. I didn’t speak to her directly. I left them on an answering
machine.
I didn’t say anything threatening. I just made
voicemail messages based on my religious – strong
religious convictions after I was evicted from my own
organization. I consider myself a Christian.


Not the clearest explanation of what happened, but it looks like there were only "numerous" messages. Odd that he calls them "conversations".
7.30.2009 10:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Does a State Board not have any interest in assuring that all citizens will receive good and competent service, especially under civil-rights protections?

Is it irrational to expect that Mr. Ake will treat his clients, existing and prospective, pretty badly should he discover they are gay?
Let's make the year 1950. "Does a State Board not have any interest in assuring that all students will have good and competent teachers? Is it irrational to expect that Mr. Johnson won't be tempted to molest the little boys?"

It is astonishing to me how many homosexuals have learned nothing from the way things used to be--except that now that they are in control, they are going to use their power to abuse those that don't agree with them.
7.30.2009 10:56pm
CCTrojan:

I think if you had a gay child, he or she would really like you to stop thinking that their lifestyle is sinful and just accept them for who they are. Indeed, PFLAG is filled with parents that do just that.

Now, it's great that you think it's sinful, but do you really think that preaching this to your children is going to stop them from being gay if they are? We don't choose our desires, any more than you choose yours.

Sin is sin because it's a choice -- you choose to steal bread, for instance. But I certainly don't think being gay is a sin because that's just who I am, and I have no choice over my desires. Which should be good news to you -- if your children aren't born gay, you have nothing to worry about. There is no amount of gay propaganda we can instill in your kids that will make them desire someone of the same sex if you they don't already have it.

So your desire to vote against gays rights isn't anything about promoting morality, or trying to create a society that you approve of. It's merely a desire to punish people you don't like.


I am not sure you have even thought about this. First of all, Christianity doesn't condemn being a homosexual, it condemns homosexual behavior. So even if, as you assume, it is not a choice to be homosexual, it is still a choice whether to engage in homosexual behavior. If my kids were heterosexual and single at 40, I would still want them to refrain from sexual activity because that is meant to be between a married man and woman.

You may think that's unrealistic, but I know plenty of people, like myself, who did not have sex before marriage. Just because the public is unwilling to accept traditional Christian values, that doesn't mean God has changed his view of things.

I teach my kids what is right. They are free to choose how to live their lives. I will always love them, whether or not they make the right decisions. I don't teach them these things because I am trying to "stop them from being gay." That's ridiculous. I am teaching it to them because it is the truth and it is my responsiblity as a parent to teach my children who they are and why they are here.

Why do so many posters believe that Christians are at home teaching their children to hate people? That's nonsense.
7.30.2009 10:58pm
Anatid:
Clayton-

Do you know if Spitzer evaluated his subjects on the Kinsey scale? I would guess that a determined 3, 4 or 5 could much more easily realign to be functionally heterosexual than a 6.

Can you provide the link to this study? I'd love to read his methods.
7.30.2009 11:02pm
Anatid:

Why do so many posters believe that Christians are at home teaching their children to hate people? That's nonsense.


Has anyone actually said that in this thread?
7.30.2009 11:03pm
Danny (mail):
Yeah, and I’m not racist. I don’t hate brown people, I just hate melanin. Whoever has it I would advise them to get help. Sure some people end up having more melanin than others but rest assured if the white people I knew had black skin, I would think the same thing of them.

Actually many Christians in the USA used to believe this, they called blackness - not black people - the "mark of Cain"
Funny how the people enslaved felt singled out.

This logic didn’t work with white supremacy, and it won’t work with hetero supremacy either.
7.30.2009 11:08pm
cmr:
It's so funny that some people feel right in denying this man state recognition for his abilities as a CPA, because there is no fundamental right to be licensed to practice accountancy.

There is no inherent right to state recognition...?

I wonder where I've heard THAT argument before.
7.30.2009 11:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
Trojan: "First of all, Christianity doesn't condemn being a homosexual, it condemns homosexual behavior."

Officially, this is true. As a practical matter, not at all. Just as one example, the Catholic church requires all priests to be celebate. Therefore, it shouldn't matter whether they are gay or not. But the church officially states that any seminary student who shows homoesexual tendencies is not eligible for the priesthood.

SEcond, you can't separate the two. All Christians (as well as other people), assume that if you are gay, you are having sex. There have been lots of gay people fired from their jobs, or evicted from their apartments, or otherwise discriminated against merely because they were gay. No one asked the first if they are virgins, or sexually active.

"So even if, as you assume, it is not a choice to be homosexual, it is still a choice whether to engage in homosexual behavior."

Not any more a choice than for you as a heterosexual to engage in heterosexual behavior. What you are really saying is that if you are gay, you must remain celebate and virgin your entire life, and that's okay. That's an unfair and unrealistic burden to place upon an entire population. Of course, it's easy for you to require that -- since it doesn't apply to you at all.

"If my kids were heterosexual and single at 40, I would still want them to refrain from sexual activity because that is meant to be between a married man and woman."

But at least they have the hope of falling in love and expressing their love once married. That's something you wish to deny to all gay people.

"You may think that's unrealistic, but I know plenty of people, like myself, who did not have sex before marriage."

AGain, you at least can have sex now that you are married. That is something you wish to deny all gays. And then you vote against gay marriage. Talk about a catch-22!

"I teach my kids what is right. They are free to choose how to live their lives. I will always love them, whether or not they make the right decisions. I don't teach them these things because I am trying to "stop them from being gay." That's ridiculous. I am teaching it to them because it is the truth and it is my responsiblity as a parent to teach my children who they are and why they are here"

which is exactly why suicide is the leading cause of death among gay teens. They grow up listening to you talk about how gays are sinful, disliked by God, wrong, live a sinful lifestyle, and all that. So when one of your child reaches puberty, and starts to realize that he is gay, he knows that his dad will hate him, his church will hate him, that his desires are sinful and the worst depredations ever.

"Why do so many posters believe that Christians are at home teaching their children to hate people? That's nonsense."

No, you are merely teaching your kids to hate themselves for being gay. And judging from the tremendous amounts of depression that gay teenagers experience, you have accomplished that in spades.

When you complain that gays want acceptance, this is the reason why -- we want gay kids to grow up knowing that they will be loved and accepted by their families, not just 'tolerated.' Every child deserves that, but many Christians don't believe it, and that is their shame.
7.30.2009 11:26pm
Brian K (mail):
Mental illness evaluation is highly subjective, influenced by the evaluator and the paradigms to which he subscribes (is it schizophrenia? multiple personality disorder? depends which books you read)

something tells me that the book you are reading is not the DSM-IV-TR (look it up) and that you are not a psychiatrist.
7.30.2009 11:26pm
Brian K (mail):
scratch the "look it up" part, i missed your reference to it earlier.
7.30.2009 11:27pm
Danny (mail):

For the record, as an agnostic gay guy I think that he should get the license. I don't see how religious views are relevant to crunching numbers (unless your religion supports tax evasion), and if his ideas are considered anti-social or inappropriate for the workplace then it is a workplace issue, between the employer and him.

If only some conservative Christians could be so intellectually honest: some still support employment and pay discrimination against the gays they "don't hate"
7.30.2009 11:47pm
ReaderY:
Nothing in Hodgkins v. North Carolina Real Estate Comm'n indicating that the park was the place where the sex was to occur.

The North Carolina Supreme Court had held that although the crime against nature and attempted crime against nature had previously been held to be infamous crimes, solicitation to commit the crime against nature was not. Infamous crimes, as the term iplies, create a presumption of lack of moral turpitude. Solicitation was a gray area in this respoect; the conduct, however, was not.
7.30.2009 11:52pm
ReaderY:
That said, the post implies that the accountant merely told the individual he thought her conduct was wrong and the individual characterized this as "harassment", and the First Amendment should some protection to disagreement with people's behavior so that people aren't permitted to criminalize any and all criticism of what they do.

But what was the actual nature of the accountant's conduct? We don't really know. Perhaps it was harassment by a more traditional, viewpoint-neutral definition.

I would tend to agree that if the state can criminalize conduct, it can make not committing it a condition of a professional license. Therefore the real issue is whether conduct should be criminalized. This is true whether the conduct involved is committing homosexual conduct, or committing homophobic conduct. The first rule of the First Amendment is that it is viewpoint neutral, it doesn't care which side in a political conflict is right, only that both sides get to express their viewpoint according to the same set of rules.
7.30.2009 11:58pm
CCTrojan:

which is exactly why suicide is the leading cause of death among gay teens. They grow up listening to you talk about how gays are sinful, disliked by God, wrong, live a sinful lifestyle, and all that. So when one of your child reaches puberty, and starts to realize that he is gay, he knows that his dad will hate him, his church will hate him, that his desires are sinful and the worst depredations ever.


I have not taught my children anything of the sort. It is amazing what kind of horrific things you can imagine up in your mind about Christian households.

Why would I waste my time teaching my kids that other people are bad? Disliked by God??? Why would any person teach that to their children?

Honestly, this conversation is a perfect example of why liberals and conservative Christians have so much trouble seeing eye to eye. I'm a lawyer. My wife is an architect. We are normal, educated people. We aren't some kind of cultists teaching our children to hate or discriminate. But the gay marriage crowd wants us to be treated as hateful because we fdo not wish to call their relationships by the same name as ours.
7.30.2009 11:58pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Just for the record:

Anatid expresses doubt about this claim by Clayton Cramer:
And you are wrong. Professor Spitzer, who led the movement to get homosexuality removed from DSM-III, found that about half of those who made a serious effort at doing so, were able to change not just behavior, but sexual and romantic orientation. Maybe you are stuck--a lot of others are not.


Anatid: You are right to be suspicious of this discussion of Spitzer's study, because it has little to do with what Spitzer actually found--which was that in 45-minute phone studies, almost half of 200 people who claimed to have successfully changed their sexual orientation (that was the entry requirement of the study) were able to convincingly describe a credible change of orientation. Of the 200 participants, 78% were activists in the ex-gay movement, and 19% were paid representatives of the ex-gay movement.

So this wasn't 50% of "those who made a serious effort" but 50% of a carefully culled group (two-thirds of the participants were referred to Spitzer by Exodus or NARTH) who already claimed to have successfully changed sexual orientation as a requirement for being included in the study, were able to sustain that impression over a 45-minute phone interview with a therapist investigator.

Spitzer has repeatedly spoken out against the sort of misrepresentation and misuse of his study Cramer has made in this thread:

"To my horror, some of the media reported the study as an attempt to show that homosexuality is a choice, and that substantial change is possible for any homosexual who decides to make the effort." (Spitzer, Robert. Commentary: “Psychiatry and Homosexuality” Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2001)
7.31.2009 12:00am
neurodoc:
If Ake had said the same things while standing in front of Ms. Arnold as he did in the series of voicemail messages he left her, would he have breached any Illinois law(s)? I assume he wouldn't have, and that seems a tad strange. Might it not be more intimidating/threatening/harassing to have someone in your face letting go with this unwelcome Biblical invective than to have them leave it on your machine, where it can be easily enough ignored or erased? Or sent through the mail? Any good reason(s) why a message delivered over the phone should be treated differently from the same message delivered in person or in writing?

I don't mean to minimize the potential intimidating/threatening/harassing effect of voicemail messages, just to question why the legal consequences should depend on the means by which the message is conveyed rather than purely on the content. Is there some reason why the same message delivered in person or in writing is entitled to greater protection than when conveyed by phone?
7.31.2009 12:09am
Randy R. (mail):
Trojan: "I have not taught my children anything of the sort. It is amazing what kind of horrific things you can imagine up in your mind about Christian households.
Why would I waste my time teaching my kids that other people are bad? Disliked by God??? Why would any person teach that to their children? "

Many do. True story: My friend Hans worked on a ballot initiative in Michigan several years ago. One of their public spokesman was a teacher in that state. He had a gay son, and the son was taunted a lot in school by other kids (gosh, were did the kids learn that it's okay to tease gays? But I digress). When the teacher heard an anti-gay slur from one of his students in class, he confronted the student, who responded: "If God can kill gays, why can't I?"

The teacher immediately moved his family to another part of the state.

Or how about the two brothers in Redding, CA? They broke into a gay couples house one night and shot them to death. During the trial, they said that they were merely doing God's work, and expressed no remorse. Where did they learn that?

If you are teaching your kids that it is right to be straight, and wrong to be gay, then how can you not be teaching them that gay people are 'wrong.'? And if gay people are wrong, and violating God's laws, and willingly are sinners, then aren't they 'bad' people? Children aren't stupid.

You stated earlier: "God intended for men to be married to women." So then what about those people who persist in violating God's intentions, and persist in 'harming themselves' as you put it, and persist in having homosexual sex when they could just as easily be celebate and virginal for their entire lives? It doesn't take much imagination that some people would conclude that these gays are recalcitrant sinners, and they are not deserving of any sympathy, rights, or tolerance, let alone acceptance.

I'm not saying that you or all Christians are teaching your kids to hate gays, but that is the effect. And it primarily Christian-based organizations that fight all gay rights laws, and perpetrate that sort of garbage that claims that gays are some sort of evil part of our society that must be stopped.
7.31.2009 12:24am
Anatid:
Brian K: The existence Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder, and still called such by many popular press and media) is a topic of debate in the psychological community. Some schools of thought hold that it is a highly rare dissociative response to severe and prolonged trauma in which the victim dissociates certain memories and personality aspects into another "personality," with episodes of memory loss when the "other personality" is "in control." Others believe that this personality shattering is the result of therapist suggestion. Since the treatment of DID has historically been implicated with less-than-empirical hypnosis and psychodynamic therapy, it's extremely difficult to describe, quantify, and standardize, despite a number of compelling case studies.

No, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'm also not an idiot. I used the older phrase because a greater percentage of the readership of VC would recognize it and understand my example. The example was taken from a case study of a patient whose symptoms, to varying degrees, resembled both DID and paranoid schizophrenia.


Chimaxx: Thanks! Best example of sampling bias I've seen in years. I'll track down the rest of that paper.

CCTrojan: Try to keep in mind that Randy is something of an outlier, okay? But I think moderate liberals and moderate conservatives can have a great deal to talk about.
7.31.2009 12:24am
Danny (mail):
@ CCTrojan

I wouldn't take it personally.. "conservative Christian" covers a wide range of people viewpoints. Some of those people ARE cultlike and some practically obsessed with gays, or teach that the dinosaurs never existed, etc. Obviously that is not true of all conservative Christians and it is true of lots of secular people too. I do not believe that people who are really sincerely religious are motivated by hatred. I do think that many, even most of the people who are referred to as "conservative Christians" in the USA are actually not motivated by actual religiosity but by a kind of right-wing nationalism with a religious veneer. Gay kids can usually come to terms with a religion that doesn't accept them IF it is just a religious question. They just want to know that the parents' love is unconditional and sincere. Too often, that love is conditional (and not just among religious people).
7.31.2009 12:25am
Randy R. (mail):
neurodoc: " Is there some reason why the same message delivered in person or in writing is entitled to greater protection than when conveyed by phone?"

Yes, because in most teenaged slasher movies, the killer stalker usually taunts his victim on the phone. He rarely does it in person, and almost never is so quaint as to write a letter.
7.31.2009 12:26am
Randy R. (mail):
Anatid: "Try to keep in mind that Randy is something of an outlier, okay?"

And proud of it!
7.31.2009 12:28am
Randy R. (mail):
TRojan, quoting me: "They grow up listening to you talk about how gays are sinful, disliked by God, wrong, live a sinful lifestyle, and all that."

You are right == I should not have assumed that this is what you teach your kids. My apologies.

Nonetheless, many parents do teach exactly this to their kids. Just watch that documentary "Jesus Camp." Surely we can all agree that this is not right.

Does that bring me back into the circle?
7.31.2009 12:32am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BN:

Here is a novel idea, leave teh gheys alone. That woman didn't deserve to have some nut case calling her. Hopefully this case gets a lot of publicity and the usual suspects will think twice before leaving harassing messages.


You also advocate drawing the line at 2 voice mails. So if you meet an attractive person of the opposite (or same, whatever) sex and call a few times to ask him/her out, that cold be called stalking or harassment? I think harassment should start after the perpetrator is told to stop.

Randy R:

I think you misunderstand the concept of sin at least according to many denominations of Christianity. I am not a Christian but have had this discussion with pastors from many denominations.

The basic issue is that most Christian denominations teach that sin is an inherent aspect of the human condition and one which is not a matter of choice. I.e. we cannot choose not to sin. We are however saved through grace of god (via Christ) despite this and in the process made into less sinful people. I am not saying I agree with this interpretation, only that it seems fairly mainstream.

In this view, being gay is a sign perhaps of not being saved, but it is a symptom rather than a problem.
7.31.2009 12:37am
Secret (mail):
Trojan says:

But the gay marriage crowd wants us to be treated as hateful because we fdo not wish to call their relationships by the same name as ours.

Um yes, I call that hateful that you think somehow your relationship is more valid than mine. You will never convince me that you love your wife more than I do my husband. So fine, you win this one, gays want to paint you as hateful. Maybe they do. If the shoe fits...
7.31.2009 12:37am
Brian K (mail):
Anatid,

I know what DID is. I also know that if a fellow medical student of mine had confused schizophrenia with DID he would have failed the course or rotation. and i say this as someone who was lucky enough to see a patient with previously diagnosed DID on my rotation. It is possible that a patient might have both DID and schizophrenia (or some other psychotic* disorder) but the combination is so rare that it would literally get a chuckle from my attending before she explained why you were wrong.


*using the medical definition
7.31.2009 12:38am
Secret (mail):
In fact, I would argue that if anything, I love my partner more than you ever could because I do it in spite of how the world views us, how you view us and how we are treated both by the the government we pay for and abide by and in spite of how others feel about us. And yet, I still love. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Maybe that angers you that you can't stop it...but that just shows you how genuine and true and honest MY love is for my partner. It's as real as yours and I don't need your acceptance to validate it.
7.31.2009 12:46am
Randy R. (mail):
Ein: "The basic issue is that most Christian denominations teach that sin is an inherent aspect of the human condition and one which is not a matter of choice. I.e. we cannot choose not to sin."

Thanks for the reminder. Yes, I understand that (and that some religions consider us all guilty of 'original sin.') But the everyday concept of sin is that it is the equivilent of doing something that is considered bad. Lying, therefore, is a sin, as is adultery, theft, murder, and so on. This is precisely why many Christians claim that all our laws are rooted in Christian morality. And this is exactly the type of sin I was taught in CCD class. So, we were told not to sin, and if we do, then we must confess it and repent. If we do not, then we go to hell, or at least purgatory.

there is another class of sin that is goofy and makes no sense (to me at least), like the law against graven images, eating shellfish, wearing clothes of mixed fibers, and so on. Some believe in them, some don't, and some just pick and choose which wants they like.

Homosexuality, as viewed by most Christians that I"ve encountered, is considered something that is bad, and gays should turn away from sin and repent, and if they don't, then they deserve to burn in hell. You need only go to some websites to see them say exactly that.
7.31.2009 12:57am
Danny (mail):
In my hometown in the rural Midwest, one stereotype of the conservative Christian is often somebody with a kind of Jerry Springer background who did "lotsa boozin' and usin'" or crashed their car after a 15th DUI (EVERYONE seems to have at least one DUI, that's respectable), found Jesus in AA and then got really preachy. Then after they lose their job at the factory or the pullout method failed again s/he is stuck with a fourth or fifth unplanned kid, they start declining again until another crisis happens and then they shape up and get religious again. If you ask them of course they "hate the queers" because they are "ain't goin' to heaven" and they "don't believe in none of that evolution stuff", but they really don't know anything about religion or about evolution, and have probably never read the Bible. They have very conservative political views (but would never read a newspaper) because in their ears to "believe in evolution" or "accept gays" simply has a secular, urban ring to it, and so it sounds like uppity, middle class urban people.

Many of the people called "conservative Christians" look like this. They do not post on legal blogs. They are not people who studied koiné Greek (they would think Jesus spoke English) or debate the concept of sin.

This is a caricature I know but the point is not that conservative Christianity must lead to hating people and being alienated from society, but that many people who are already full of hatred and alienated from society and have an uneducated background are going to gravitate towards (and probably misuse) some form of conservative Christianity because they crave the rigidity and rules
7.31.2009 1:00am
DCP:

I didn't even know people still boarded at the YMCA.

In my hometown, every YMCA has been converted into an upscale gym where Yuppies (of both sexes) run on fancy treadmills after work and the staff seems anything but religious.

I assumed the days of wayward vagrants in need of a cot, shower and Bible were over. Or is this just my city?
7.31.2009 2:19am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
But the gay marriage crowd wants us to be treated as hateful because we fdo not wish to call their relationships by the same name as ours.

Just like Southern whites didn't want to admit that blacks should be called human beings as they were.

Look, is there any sense in which a "wish not to call their relationships by the same name as ours" is anything other than hateful bigotry. You are basically saying you are superior because you bang people of the opposite sex and they bang people of the same sex.

You have the right to say anything you want about gays. But you don't have the right to do so and not be criticized as a bigot. And being exercised about gay relationships being described the same way as your own is pure bigotry.
7.31.2009 2:52am
un_pc (mail):
Somebody up there said...

Does it hurt you that two men want to have sex together or live together or marry one another? Or two women? What exactly is the impact of that on your life?


I am a heterosexual male in my 40's. I don't really want to think about two men having sex with each other, but nowadays I have to think about it fairly often because I get hit over the head with it more than I used to get hit over the head with the fact that I was going to hell if I didn't repent.

I feel like homosexuals must have some need for people like me to celebrate their homosexuality, and that I do not understand at all. I mean, I like to have sex with my wife, and I'm sure there are many gay men who would not like to have sex with my wife or any other woman, and that's ok with me. I don't really need them to approve of my sexual activities.

I don't see how any law could cover the situation adequately.
7.31.2009 3:12am
David Schwartz (mail):
neurodoc: It's much more efficient to harass someone in person. This is why we restrict advertising by FAX more heavily than we restrict advertising by going door-to-door. In person, someone can simply walk away from you. You can't do that on the phone (at least, not without imposing high costs on yourself until they follow you).

That said, I think "harassment" by phone should be constitutionally protected unless it rises to the level of physical threats or intimidation or if it's repeated after the recipient makes clear that they do not wish further contact from the caller.
7.31.2009 5:50am
David Schwartz (mail):
neurodoc: It's much more efficient to harass someone by telephone than in person. This is why we restrict advertising by FAX more heavily than we restrict advertising by going door-to-door. In person, someone can simply walk away from you. You can't do that on the phone (at least, not without imposing high costs on yourself until they follow you).

That said, I think "harassment" by phone should be constitutionally protected unless it rises to the level of physical threats or intimidation or if it's repeated after the recipient makes clear that they do not wish further contact from the caller.
7.31.2009 5:51am
Not a CPA:
You're forgetting in all of this that professional licensing, be it as an accountant, a lawyer, etc., is a governmental function that no person has any kind of "right" to. The government can set what standards it chooses in whether or not to give those licenses, and it is not denying someone a "right to work" if it withholds it.

In fact, you can be a practicing accountant without a CPA license. You are limited in what you can do and where your career can go, but a CPA license is not necessary to be a professional accountant. I have no problem with the government withholding a license it is not required to give because of the criminal conduct of an applicant, no matter how old the crime, if that's what the state feels is best for the license.
7.31.2009 8:37am
/:
Surely we can all agree that this is not right.

No, but it's none of your business or the government's, so it doesn't matter.
7.31.2009 9:42am
Eugene Volokh (www):
ReaderY: According to the Hodgkins opinion, "In its order entered on 8 July 1996, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission ... found that petitioner ... accompanied the man to another public park 'for the purpose of performing the sexual act.'"
7.31.2009 9:50am
Randy R. (mail):
un pc: "I feel like homosexuals must have some need for people like me to celebrate their homosexuality, and that I do not understand at all."

Welcome to the club. You should see how much we are hit over the head about your heterosexuality! I can't turn on the tv set without seeing some sort of romance between a man and a woman. I can't go to the movies without there being at least one married couple featured. I go to the supermarket, and I see couples shopping together, or to the park and seeing couples hold hands. What is it with you straight people? Always flaunting your heterosexuality in front of me! It's like you have to show off and celebrate your relationships all the time. And every time I see a straight couple, all I can think of is sex, sex, and sex.

I just don't understand you people. Perhaps there should be a law against you people so that I don't have to think about all the sex you are having?
7.31.2009 10:37am
Mark h. (mail):
What I want to know is -- why didn't the lesbian just block his number?
7.31.2009 10:48am
BN (mail) (www):
You also advocate drawing the line at 2 voice mails. So if you meet an attractive person of the opposite (or same, whatever) sex and call a few times to ask him/her out, that cold be called stalking or harassment? I think harassment should start after the perpetrator is told to stop.


Leaving a message to invite someone out on a date and leaving a message to tell someone he is EVELL! are very different things. I don't think a judge/jury would have a hard time seeing the difference.

Also, someone above answered the 'how many times before it becomes harassment' question way better than I did. He/she said:

The line is drawn when your intent in calling is to harass and not deliver a message. Calling more than once with the same message having nto received a response should indicate that the woman is not interested in the bull you're slinging. To call again is harassment. Apparently a judge/jury agreed. I feel fairly certain had she been leaving messages at his house about how homosexuality is awesome, many of those on here feigning outrage would feel that her actions were inappropriate.
7.31.2009 10:52am
Seamus (mail):
You're forgetting in all of this that professional licensing, be it as an accountant, a lawyer, etc., is a governmental function that no person has any kind of "right" to. The government can set what standards it chooses in whether or not to give those licenses, and it is not denying someone a "right to work" if it withholds it.

Good point. Since we're agreed that the state doesn't have to let anyone be a CPA and in fact can deny CPA certification for reasons that have nothing to do with ability to do accounting work, but which are indicative of what society deems "being a bad person," lets also enact laws that yank the licenses of CPAs who are convicted of:

DUI;
sleeping with their 17-year-old girlfriends when they themselves were 18;
selling horsemeat for human consumption;
selling a kidney;
"sexting" provocative photos of themselves;
having a gun in their luggage when they report to Walter Reed Hospital in the District of Columbia for treatment;
using Vicodin left over from their spouses' prescription;
gambling online, at a site located in a country where online gambling is legal;
bestiality;
violation of the Mann Act;
cockfighting; or
bigamy.

We sure wouldn't want that kind of degenerate auditing our company's books, would we?
7.31.2009 12:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

selling horsemeat for human consumption;


Not a crime unless you live in Texas or Illinois (and might not even be a crime there) if you import the meat from Canada first!

Importing horsemeat from Canada is quite easy, actually. You just need to accompany with some paperwork and USDA lets it in.
7.31.2009 12:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Also Seamus:

Certainly you are aware of the historical religious reasons for banning horsemeat consumption in Scandinavia, right?

What if I chew a piece of horse liver in preparation to officiate public meetings?
7.31.2009 1:00pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
@einhverfer:


However with hate crime law (which I generally oppose but would support some imaginable versions which are different from what we have today), the punishment is motivation-- it doesn't apply to the question of whether a crime was intended, or whether it was planned, but rather the simple question of the political views which lead to it. This is where I see it as dangerous to individual liberty.

It would be better to replace hate crime law with crime with intent to intimidate legislation. In other words, if you try to commit a property crime seeking to intimidate gays, Jews, teachers at your local high school, etc. the fact that you sought to intimidate a group through the crime should be held against you (and to the same standard regardless of what group you were targetting).




This is one of the best posts that I have ever seen on this blog. It seems to solve the problem of dealing with hatred without bringing in political viewpoints. I will be using the idea exprssed here a lot.

However, if this approach were to be adopted, I do not see how a federal hate-crimes law could be constitutional. Tying it to race, sex, national origin, etc. implicates Congress' powers to enact appropriate legislation under the Fourteenth Amendment (although I am not sure how such legislation could apply to private activity). If you remove such a link, where does Congress' authority come from? If you rely on the Commerce Clause, bear in mind that the Supreme Court said in U.S. v. Morrison, in striking down the Violence Against Women Act, that there has to be some sort of economic activity for the commerce power to be implicated.

A general prohibition-against-bad-conduct law would seem to be beyond the authority of the federal government to adopt.
7.31.2009 1:01pm
Seamus (mail):

What I want to know is -- why didn't the lesbian just block his number?



Because that wouldn't get him sent to jail, duh.
7.31.2009 1:07pm
Seamus (mail):

Reminds me of the driver's license, also not a "god-given right" that's licensed by the state. People who spout hate speech are probably likely to be "road-ragers" right? We should probably not license bigots to drive. See where this has the potential of going?



Unfortunately, we're already going there. In Virginia, I believe that people who are behind on their child-support payments can have their driver's licenses yanked. So yes, we're moving toward a society where only good people are allowed to have any government license that is characterized a privilege rather than a right.
7.31.2009 1:13pm
SeaDrive:

"basically shared what the Bible talked about was -- with that kind of unnatural lifestyle -- about lesbians and homosexuality."


Right here we have a claim to be skeptical of. References to homosexual behavior in the Bible are, pretty much without exception, obscure or included in lists of other offenses many of which are not considered acceptable behavior. Almost certainly the Bible was not "shared." Much more likely the "shared" information was a rigid moral code of a much later time.
7.31.2009 1:34pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
You're forgetting in all of this that professional licensing, be it as an accountant, a lawyer, etc., is a governmental function that no person has any kind of "right" to. The government can set what standards it chooses in whether or not to give those licenses, and it is not denying someone a "right to work" if it withholds it.
I'm not "forgetting" that; I disagree with it. But even assuming for the sake of argument that government can set standards for working in one's chosen profession (*), the government cannot arbitrarily deny people a license. Even in the post-Carolene world, there at least must be a rational basis for the decision.



(*) Please keep in mind that hanging your hat on the argument that this is "professional licensing" won't fly (to mix metaphors); all sorts of occupations in the U.S. are licensed nowadays, not just the traditional "professions" of law, medicine, etc.
7.31.2009 1:39pm
DCP:

Good point. Since we're agreed that the state doesn't have to let anyone be a CPA and in fact can deny CPA certification for reasons that have nothing to do with ability to do accounting work, but which are indicative of what society deems "being a bad person," lets also enact laws that yank the licenses of CPAs who are convicted of:

DUI;
sleeping with their 17-year-old girlfriends when they themselves were 18;
selling horsemeat for human consumption;
selling a kidney;
"sexting" provocative photos of themselves;
having a gun in their luggage when they report to Walter Reed Hospital in the District of Columbia for treatment;
using Vicodin left over from their spouses' prescription;
gambling online, at a site located in a country where online gambling is legal;
bestiality;
violation of the Mann Act;
cockfighting; or
bigamy.


Or better yet, since homosexual acts (sodomy) were illegal in many jurisdictions up until very recently, how would these people feel if every gay CPA, lawyer, doctor, etc. was stripped of his license to practice on moral grounds for engaging in criminal sexual behavior? I imagine that would have caused quite the stir.
7.31.2009 1:45pm
troll_dc2 (mail):
Can a committed Christian be a libertarian? The more I read posts by the professed Christians here, the more I think not.
7.31.2009 1:52pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Can a committed Christian be a libertarian? The more I read posts by the professed Christians here, the more I think not.

Sure they can. Remember, the phrase "committed Christian" does not mean the same thing as "Christian conservative".
7.31.2009 2:09pm
pete (mail) (www):

Can a committed Christian be a libertarian? The more I read posts by the professed Christians here, the more I think not.


I think so. Christians have a wide range of views on what the appropriate role of government consdiering that the main thing the bible advocates politically is that leaders act honestly and justly. It says that some specific things are unjust such as giving preferencial court treatment to the rich, but gives a lot leeway in what the government is supposed to do policy wise. It says do not oppress the poor for instance, but does not say you should or should not have a welfare state to do that.

However, you could not go all the way to anarcho libertarianism and still be a Christian, since the various parts of the bible repeatedly states that God has ordained government to do some things and Jesus had no problem with people being forced to pay some taxes for instance.
7.31.2009 2:39pm
MikeF:
As a committed Christian, I think that govt should have no place in sanctioning marriage. If we as a society decide that two persons living together is good and deserves some benefit, then the govt can provide those benefits. However, if people want to call themselves husbands/wives then feel free. I may be a bit of an outlier on this issue though.
7.31.2009 3:03pm
Danny (mail):
I don't think the political views of many conservative Christians have much to do with the Bible at all, or else issues like homosexuality and abortion wouldn't even come up so much. I think that it is perhaps primarily a class and ethnic culture war with a religious veneer. Like other parts of the world the "conservative side" (religious or not) is composed of people who fear demographic changes and globalization and who imagine that returning to an idealized past, in this case signified by a rigid social hierarchy that existed in 19th century America. Gays have become a scapegoat for the decline of the whole hierarchy that was brought on by heterosexuals and THEIR social changes. Libertarianism as a philosophy is not based on this kind of grievance. Theocracy and libertarianism are mutually exclusive opposites. Ethnic nationalism or class resentment (the other interpretation of Christianism) and libertarianism are also mutually contradictory opposites. One must die for the other to live, intellectually speaking.
7.31.2009 3:16pm
Danny (mail):
correction: "they dream of returning to an idealized past"
7.31.2009 3:17pm
Hans Bader:
The CPA's speech, while unpleasant, was protected speech that should not have been prosecuted under either the hate-crimes law or the telephone harassment law. Worse has been held protected by a federal appeals court. See United States v. Popa. 187 F.3d 672 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (racist phone messages containing epithet were protected speech).
7.31.2009 3:34pm
MikeF:
My guess is that Ake's speech was more than simply informing her that her lifestyle did not conform to the laws set out in the Bible. As is generally the case, more information on the actual offending language etc would certainly help the discussion but lacking that the current discussion is fine.
7.31.2009 3:39pm
David Drake:
Danny said:


Theocracy and libertarianism are mutually exclusive opposites. Ethnic nationalism or class resentment (the other interpretation of Christianism) and libertarianism are also mutually contradictory opposites. One must die for the other to live, intellectually speaking


I disagree strongly with this. Libertarianism is to me a political position. It says that the government should interfere as little as possible in our lives--that is, that we should have the greatest possible liberty vis a vis government. It says nothing about other forces we may deem powerful determinants of our behaviour.

BTW--your use of the word "Christianism" leads me to believe you are proselytizing for your religion. Please don't do that here.
7.31.2009 4:36pm
Danny (mail):

Libertarianism is to me a political position. It says that the government should interfere as little as possible in our lives--that is, that we should have the greatest possible liberty vis a vis government. It says nothing about other forces we may deem powerful determinants of our behaviour.


Then you are not a theocrat. Theocracy is a political position that says that the government should force people to follow a divine law whether they want to or not. Theocrats do not regard religion as a choice among many, as you seem to.



BTW--your use of the word "Christianism" leads me to believe you are proselytizing for your religion. Please don't do that here.


I do not have a religion, sorry Skepticism and agnosticism, by virtue of being empirical are the antithesis of dogma. "Empirical religion" is a contradiction in terms.
7.31.2009 4:55pm
Jesus is an anarchist. (www):
Can a committed Christian be a libertarian?

That's the default, fundamental teaching. Jesus is an anarchist.

People tend to confuse "spiritualism" (for want of an expedient term, but not to be confused with modern connotations) with ascetism, which is as grave a mistake as confusing the blood flow with capillary dilation in one's nose.
7.31.2009 5:18pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
troll_dc2:

However, if this approach were to be adopted, I do not see how a federal hate-crimes law could be constitutional. Tying it to race, sex, national origin, etc. implicates Congress' powers to enact appropriate legislation under the Fourteenth Amendment (although I am not sure how such legislation could apply to private activity). If you remove such a link, where does Congress' authority come from? If you rely on the Commerce Clause, bear in mind that the Supreme Court said in U.S. v. Morrison, in striking down the Violence Against Women Act, that there has to be some sort of economic activity for the commerce power to be implicated.


Well, actually, it is only an enhancement to other penalties. So the question is whether committing a violation of a law regarding interstate commerce was a means towards an end of intimidating groups. A simple argument is that these enhancements affect cases where Congress is already using its powers properly only.
7.31.2009 8:15pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
> Isn't the problem more with society's unwillingness to give felons who have served their sentences a second chance?

Not really. Its more a problem with the overfelonization of crime.

Sometimes, you don't want to give much of a "second chance" to a murderer or rapist. The problem lies more in the fact that the discrimination is against all felons, and a rapist, a murderer, an Oxycontin abuser and a serial message-leaver are all equally felons.
8.1.2009 10:07am
neurodoc:
Randy R: Yes, because in most teenaged slasher movies, the killer stalker usually taunts his victim on the phone. He rarely does it in person, and almost never is so quaint as to write a letter.
I assume that is meant facetiously, not in answer to my legal question about punishing words left in a voicemail message that would go unpunished if communicated in person or by means other than a phone call, e.g., email, fax, letter, singing telegram, delivery of a taped message, text, etc. (A text message wouldn't count as a phone call for purposes of this law, would it, though made with a telephone?)

Messages delivered by phone can be treated differently from ones delivered by other means? It seems so, though I wonder if it would stand up to challenge.
8.1.2009 3:08pm
Randy R. (mail):
You are correct. MOstly. But on some level, our fears are often created or stoked by what we see on tv and movies. I was never afraid that my sister would actually go missing for no reason until I saw on Fox News that that's exactly what white single women do all the time.
8.2.2009 1:14am
davod (mail):
What is a Christianist?
8.3.2009 7:15pm

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