I wouldn't like that at all.
But I'm not convinced that 'hate crime legislation' is a good idea, either. It's too close to establishing legal controls on what people think. Crimethink, anyone?
On the other hand, I think I understand why intent is sometimes considered in criminal cases.
"Louisiana Man Convicted of Civil Rights Violation in Connection with Cross-Burning"The press release doesn't mention the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacists: but let's face it. Anybody who's lived in America during the last century is going to associate burning crosses with the KKK.
Press release, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Orleans (January 22, 2010)
"Daniel Earl Danforth of Minden, La., was convicted yesterday by a jury in Shreveport, La., of a civil rights conspiracy, use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, and obstruction of justice in connection with a cross-burning near the home of an interracial couple in Athens, La., the Justice Department announced.
"Sentencing has been set for April 14, 2010. At sentencing, Danforth, 31, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years for the civil rights conspiracy; 20 years for obstruction of justice; and an additional 10 years for use of fire.
"At trial, evidence revealed that on Oct. 23 or 24, 2008, Danforth agreed with his two cousins to build, erect, and burn a cross near the homes of a cousin and her African-American boyfriend (now husband), and other relatives who approved of their interracial relationship. Danforth and his co-conspirators built the cross using two pine trees, wire or cable, and a large nail. One of Danforth's cousins then went to get diesel fuel to use to burn the cross. Meanwhile, Danforth and his other cousin transported the cross to an area adjacent to the victims' homes where, using chainsaw gas, they set the cross on fire in order to intimidate the victims. On Oct. 26, 2008, Danforth telephoned a relative who was living with the victims and directed her to the location of the burned cross...."
There's a reason for that.
Earlier in the 20th century, the KKK had used burning crosses as a sort of propaganda weapon against people they didn't approve of. By the sixties, those burning crosses had become emblems not only of the KKK, but of opposition to the civil rights movement. Which is another topic.
That illustration was made in 1928, by the Reverend Branford Clarke. It was, according to the Wikipedia description page, an "illustration in Heroes of the Fiery Cross".
I think the good reverend deserves credit for putting that "THE BALLOT" label on the Klansman's club. Very civilized of him.
Most - many, anyway - Americans probably know that the various iterations of the KKK weren't all that happy with black people being free. Or being around, for that matter.
I would be upset about white supremacists' expressed hatred toward blacks, even if that were the only group they despised.
But I think it's okay to point out that some cliques of 'real Americans' are none too well-disposed toward other groups, too.
Whether the person who put that online really believes it, or it's some sort of practical joke, I don't know. And yes: I checked. the domain for that page is registered by an outfit in the United States.
As with so many other odd beliefs, there's a germ of truth there.
The Catholic Church is controlled by a Jew: and was founded by one. Jesus of Nazareth's mother and foster-father were both Jews. My Lord made no secret of his Jewishness.
I'm just glad that gentiles can join His outfit. (just a thought: check out Galatians 2, and read the whole chapter)
(more: "'Catholics and Muslims along with the fake Jews all are Satanic Cults' - Who Knew?," (April 2, 2009))
I've been over this sort of thing before:
There was a fellow in America, not too long ago, who killed a number of people because he thought they were having sex, the wrong way.
"The Catholic Church has some markedly counter-cultural beliefs about sin: for starters, that it exists. But hating a sin is not the same as hating a sinner. I wrote about that in connection with the supposed object of hatred in this crime, earlier this year. (March 13, 2009)
"I know: there are wack jobs who say that they're Christian and appear to have very little going for them except hatred for a short list of preferred targets: blacks, Jews, foreigners and Catholics often make the list. (October 2, 2008) But I don't assume that they're any more representative of Protestant Christianity, than politicos like Pelosi are representative of Catholicism. (March 8, 2009)
"And yes: these little 'First Church of Holy Hate' groups generally teach hate of homosexuals, too...."
(August 1, 2009)
Oh, right: I've written about that, too:
2380, Leviticus 13:24) (The Church's concern for animals doesn't end there: Catechism 2417, 2418, for starters)Back to the question in the heading: how can I defend that couple?
"To hear some people talk, you'd think the Catholic Church was against people having any fun at all.
July 23, 2009) Not even if you're killing someone who's doing something you don't particularly approve of...."
(July 24, 2009)
It doesn't matter that the Church doesn't approve of shacking up without getting married first. Those folks are people who are due the same respect as anyone else: and who should have a reasonable expectation of safety in their home.
A burning cross on the lawn, given America's history, tends to make people who aren't 100-percent White Anglo-Saxon Protestant a bit uneasy. And I should think it would give a WASP cause for concern.
The 'interracial couple' angle? With my family connections, that really isn't an issue.
On the other hand, Catholics can be as emotional as their nature permits - provided that they decide to make good use of their emotions.
"In themselves passions [emotions] are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, 'either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way.'44 It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason.45Bottom line? By themselves, emotions aren't good and they aren't bad. But we're supposed to use our emotions, not the other way around. That's where morality comes in.
"Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1765)
"The term 'passions' refers to the affections or the feelings. By his emotions man intuits the good and suspects evil.
"The principal passions are love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness, and anger.
"In the passions, as movements of the sensitive appetite, there is neither moral good nor evil. But insofar as they engage reason and will, there is moral good or evil in them.
"Emotions and feelings can be taken up in the virtues or perverted by the vices.
"The perfection of the moral good consists in man's being moved to the good not only by his will but also by his 'heart.' "
Because I'm a Catholic, and it's in the rules.
"The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it:Not to seem confrontational, but if you've got a problem with that: don't take it up with me, talk to God.
"Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design."40
- "Jessica Logan, Sexting, Suicide, What Guys Want, and Malignant Virtue"
(December 8, 2009)
- "Who Knew? Assertions, Assumptions and Assorted Weirdness from All Over"
(most recent update: November 21, 2009)
- " 'I Hate Barack Obama' - Maybe Not the Best Message from a Pulpit"
(September 1, 2009)
- "Tolerance: Yes, it's a Good Idea"
(August 3, 2009)
- "Three Killed in Tel Aviv Gay Youth Club: There's No Excuse"
(August 1, 2009)
- "Beach Killer Joseph Burges: A Case of Horribly Warped Christianity"
(July 24, 2009)
- "Psycho Santa's Slaying"
(December 26, 2008)
- "Obama, the Black Pope, and American Culture"
(November 12, 2008)
A tip of the hat to FBIPressOffice, on Twitter, for the heads-up on the press release.