I have been irked by many of those who oppose adding sexual orientation bias to the hate crimes laws, especially for their claims that if the bill becomes law, it will make merely expressing opposition to homosexuality a crime. No, it won't, any more than people who, say, tell Hindus that they're devil-worshipers have committed a crime under the existing laws that provide an extra penalty for crimes committed because of religious prejudice. I find this attempt to misrepresent the proposed legislation despicable, and am only slightly less contemptuous of the belief behind it, which is that no extra penalty should attach to committing a crime against someone because of her sexual orientation. However, I can respect the position that all hate-crime laws are wrong because they penalize the bias motive. (Saying that hate crime laws are unusual in penalizing a state of mind is inaccurate; we give greater penalties for a crime motivated by revenge than by obedience to another's direction).
Whether out of the genuine belief that we should not criminally penalize bias, or in order to appeal to the white voters who shunned him before*, the incoming governor of Louisiana apparently has taken the relatively principled position of opposing all hate-crime laws, not just the ones that include sexual orientation: "A born-again Roman Catholic, Mr. Jindal made a particular campaign target of these [deeply conservative northern and eastern parishes of Louisiana that once supported the Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke], visiting them frequently and bringing his brand of devout Christianity to their rural churches. His social-conservative message -- teaching 'intelligent design' as an alternative to evolution in public schools, a total ban on abortion, repealing hate-crimes laws -- would have been welcome in these areas."
Note to the Times: Don't you have to be born a Catholic in the first place in order to be a born-again Catholic? If you were born a Hindu and become a Catholic, that's called conversion. Y'all need to get the Southern stereotype shortcuts unjammed on your keyboards, at least when you're talking about brown folks.
UPDATE: Allegedly Jindal calls himself a "born again Catholic" -- and in this campaign ad, calls himself a "born-again Christian" -- so call off the anti-Grey Lady dogs.
But he is not a natural fit for Louisiana. The state likes its governors to know the fundamentals of the Cajun two-step, speak some derivation of French patois, and at least get to a duck blind, regularly and publicly. But Mr. Jindal has labored assiduously to overcome the disadvantage of being a non-Cajun, Rhodes Scholar policy wonk whose given name was Piyush, and who has a penchant for 31-point plans. ...
For months, the congressman has cultivated the rural areas where he lost in 2003, “witnessing” in remote Pentecostal churches, neutralizing his image of being hyperqualified -- head of the state health department at 24, head of the university system at 28 and under secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services at 30 under President Bush -- that did not help him the last time. In one recent debate, Mr. Jindal boasted that he had made 77 trips to north Louisiana since announcing his candidacy.
Insinuations about his excessive intellectual capacity are still being made. “It’s not going to be about the smartest person in this race,” Walter Boasso, a Democratic state senator and one of Mr. Jindal’s opponents, said recently. But such remarks do not seem to be catching on with voters apparently weary of bumbling at the Capitol in Baton Rouge and at City Hall in New Orleans.
This time, Mr. Jindal is aiming his multipoint plans at ethical reform in state government, schools and economic development, and attacks on his wonkishness have fallen flat.