Should Church Vandalism Be Considered A Hate Crime?

That’s essentially what New York state senator Jeffrey Klein is arguing when he explains proposed legislation to make vandalizing a house of worship a felony.

And I agree with him.  Desecrating the grounds of institutions that represent specific subset communities is not simply attacking the specific owners of that property but sending a threatening message to the members of that group’s wider community.  Similar protection should be afforded to activist organizations, be they environmentalist, LGBTQQ, African American, or freethinking.  When vandalism rises above personal harassment to involve group intimidation, it’s a distinctly more extensive crime with a wider potential negative impact.  And especially as an act that tries to intimidate people away from gathering together peaceably or expressing their ideas freely, it must be punished.

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