Cross-posted at:  http://www.tips-q.com/851745-another-hate-crimes-talking-point-debunked

Claim: The right wing evangelical theory goies something like this: United States Code Title 18, Section 2, is evidence of how the legislation could be used against people who merely speak out against homosexuality. It states:Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal. Thus, a Christian pastor or other teacher could be tried for openly speaking out against homosexuality if someone misconstrues their message as encouragement to commit a violent crime against another person – even if the Christian leader never advocated the offense.

False

Intent or knowledge is a Key factor In third-party responsibility for crimes (aiding and abetting – USC 18:2).

Conviction in such cases typically requires intent or knowledge of the ensuing criminal actions. Indeed, it would constitute a violation of  the First Amendment if speakers or publishers could unwittingly cause crimes for which they then could be held responsible. HR1913 includes specific First Amendment applicbility.

Federal criminal law creates a general “aiding and abetting” offense for those who “provide knowing aid to persons committing federal crimes, with the intent to facilitate the crime.” Importantly, the aider and abettor's state of mind must be “knowing” and “intengional”; recklessness alone is not enough.

t

davidhart

davidhart