On Randy Fine, Chickens And Roosting.

On March 6, 2019 of this year, we wrote a post concerning an amendment to a bill authored by State Representative Randy Fine. The beginning of our post read:

This post came out of our research into the ridiculous bill Representative Randy Fine is proposing that would lower legal governmental notices and thereby lowering the transparency within governments and governmental entities.

In looking at the bills Fine has proposed this year, we caught a glimpse of this little dandy called HB 741 – a bill on “anti-semitism.”

The bill is an amendment to Florida Statute 775.085 Evidencing Prejudice While Committing Offense

The statute is basically a hate crime law, the first section of which reads:

The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor shall be reclassified as provided in this subsection if the commission of such felony or misdemeanor evidences prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim: (emphasis ours)

Fine wants to add the following language:

3. “Religion” includes, but is not limited to, anti-Semitism. For purposes of this section, the term “anti-Semitism” includes all of the following:

a. Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a Jewish or non-Jewish individual or his or her property or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.

b. Examples of anti-Semitism include:
(I) Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
(II) Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective, including allegations such as the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government, or other societal institutions.
(III) Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the State of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
(IV) Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
(V) Accusing Jewish citizens of countries other than Israel of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

c. Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:
(I) Demonizing Israel by using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel, Israelis, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, or blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
(II) Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
(III) Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

However, criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic.

We saw the amendment as an assault on free speech.

We still see it that way.

For a supposed conservative and Republican, Fine’s idea to restrict speech based on the content of that speech is repugnant to us.

(While it seems like we are picking on Fine, we have seen similar calls for content based restrictions from the left / Democrats.)

The chickens are now coming home to roost on Fine’s bill, or similar bills.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is made up of 56 nations plus the Palestinian Authority, met Thursday in Jeddah and called for the adoption of an international law criminalizing criticism of Islam. But that kind of law could never be adopted in the United States, could it? Think again.

The OIC’s secretary-general, Dr. Yousef al-Othaimeen, called upon the nations of the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to crack down on speech that was “insulting religions or prophets.” It was clear, however, that al-Othaimeen couldn’t have cared less about speech insulting Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism or any of the revered figures of those religions. He cared only about criticism of Islam.

“There are laws against anti-Semitism and racism,” said al-Othaimeen. “So we request a law against mocking religions.” He didn’t explain why laws against racism should lead to laws against criticizing belief systems, since, after all, contrary to the assumptions of Rachel Dolezal, Shaun King, and Elizabeth Warren, one cannot change one’s race, but one can change one’s beliefs, including religious beliefs. Al-Othaimeen likely knows this, but cited racism because he knows how to pull the right strings to get the Western intelligentsia to do what he wants.

“Islamophobia,” he continued, “is a sentiment of excessive fear against Islam that is transformed into acts of intolerance and discriminations against Muslims and even violent crimes against people with Islamic attires.”

No one should discriminate against Muslims or anyone, and genuine intolerance, when it shades over into illegal activity, and violent crime should always be prosecuted. But the OIC wants to go much farther than that, and get Western societies to criminalize criticism of Islam altogether.

Uh oh.

But this muzzling of criticism of Islam could never happen in America, right? Wrong. In fact, this is a lot closer to happening than most people realize. In October 2009, the Obama administration joined Egypt in supporting a resolution in the U.N.’s Human Rights Council to recognize exceptions to the freedom of speech for “any negative racial and religious stereotyping” (a highly subjective category). Approved by the U.N. Human Rights Council, the resolution called on states to condemn and criminalize “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.” Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton affirmed the Obama administration’s support for this on July 15, 2011, when she gave an address on the freedom of speech at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference on Combating Religious Intolerance. “Together,” she said, “we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression and we are pursuing a new approach. These are fundamental freedoms that belong to all people in all places and they are certainly essential to democracy.”

But how could both religious sensitivities and freedom of expression be protected?

Clinton had a First Amendment to deal with, and so in place of legal restrictions on criminalization of Islam, she suggested “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” She held a lengthy closed-door meeting with OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in December 2011 to facilitate the adoption of measures that would advance the OIC’s anti-free speech campaign. But what agreements she and Ihsanoglu made, if any, have never been disclosed. Still, the specter of an American Secretary of State conferring with a foreign official about how to restrict the freedom of speech in order to stifle communications deemed offensive to Muslims was, at the very least, chilling.

Nor was that a singular case. In July 2012, Thomas Perez — then the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, was asked by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.):

Will you tell us here today that this administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?

Perez could have simply answered yes, and maybe even cited the First Amendment. Instead, Perez refused to answer the question directly. Franks persisted, ultimately asking it four times. Perez at one point responded that it was a “hard question.” He simply refused to affirm that the Obama Justice Department would not attempt to criminalize criticism of Islam.

If such a bill is put forth by someone, Fine will have one of two choices.

He will have to support the bill under the idea that the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. If it is illegal to make comments about Israel and Judaism, Fine will have to vote in favor of a bill that would grant the same restrictions to the Islamic faith. Oddly, that would mean that Fine would be supporting banning speech that would criticizes what is arguably the religion that is against Judaism and seeks to wipe Judaism off the face of the earth. Instead of allowing the speech, Fine would have to vote against criticism of Islam.

The second choice is that if he not does support such a bill, he will be furthering the notion that he believes in protection only for some speech on religions, but not all speech. He will be demonstrating that his commitment to the First Amendment is about as deep as drop of water.

Not a good look, no matter what.

The answer is a simple one: repeal the original law. Fine should show a commitment to the US and Florida Constitution.

It’s that easy.

We have said this before and will say it again: whether you say you are a Republican or say you hold to conservative values is not based on whether you have the letter “R” after your name on the ballot.

Whether you are a Republican and believe in conservative values is based on your actions. Period.

When you begin to attack and restrict speech, you may call yourself a Republican, but you are nothing but a RINO.

One Response to “On Randy Fine, Chickens And Roosting.”

  1. Thomas Gaume says:

    He has filed two additional bills along the same lines. One to fund Jewish Day Schools, and other to fund a holocaust memorial in Tallahassee. The job is supposed to be about representing the people in the district he was elected from as his first priority, not his own personal agenda. Two word comes to mind, self serving.