Thursday, December 24, 2009

FBI Says Catholics Susceptible to Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes schmate crimes. It's bad law. We should abuse it and run it into the ground. Does anyone know if it would be a good idea to start up a Catholic advocacy and civil rights organization to exploit this bad law and make a lot of cash?

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- According to a recent FBI report, religious groups are not exempt from being targets of hatred.

The FBI's report on hate crime statistics for 2008, released in late November, showed that the majority of hate crimes in the U.S. were motivated by racial bias but that religious groups and homosexuals were the next largest targets.

The overall number of reported hate crimes -- more than 7,700 -- increased about 2 percent in 2008. Although racially motivated hate crimes -- the largest category -- decreased by less than 1 percent, crimes against religious groups increased by 9 percent and crimes based on sexual orientation increased 11 percent over the previous year.

Hate crimes include acts of vandalism or property damage, intimidation or physical attacks. The FBI downplays year-to-year comparisons of hate crimes compiled since 1992, saying the increased figures could simply be the result of more local agencies tracking crimes. Civil and human rights groups say the figures are not accurate enough because not all hate crimes are reported.

Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, told reporters Dec. 17 that he was committed to putting a stop to violence stemming from hatred and bias and planned to hire 100 additional staffers to assist with the expanded federal hate crime laws.

In documented crimes against religious groups in 2008, Jews were targeted the most -- 66 percent -- while Muslims accounted for 13 percent and Catholics were victims of 5 percent of hate crimes.

The Anti-Defamation League said the new figures show a need for a national initiative to combat hate crimes.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told USA Today that attacks on Catholics could be motivated by the church's opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. As Catholics become more vocal on issues, he said, they become targets for those who disagree with them.

The sense of a growing anti-Catholic sentiment was the focus of an Oct. 29 blog entry by New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. The entry was an expanded version of an op-ed he submitted to The New York Times that was not published.

In the entry, the archbishop likened anti-Catholicism to "a national pastime," citing frequent examples of anti-Catholic bias in the pages of The New York Times. He also said the bias was prevalent in the "so-called entertainment media."

Laurie Goodstein, one of the reporters singled out in the archbishop's blog, responded by saying she was disturbed to read his characterization that her work and that of her colleagues was anti-Catholic.

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