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Reports of hate crimes continue to rise

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 11/14/18, 10:10 am

Reports of crimes motivated by racial, religious, sexual, and other prejudices spiked across the United States by 17 percent in 2017, rising for the third straight year, with a 37 percent increase in anti-Semitic crimes, according to an FBI report released Tuesday. Some of the increases might be the result of better reporting by police departments, but law enforcement officials say they don’t doubt hate crimes are on the rise. A little more than two weeks ago, an anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue as they gathered for Saturday services.

The FBI report showed a nearly 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes and a 16 percent rise in hate crimes against African-Americans. There were 1,130 reported incidents targeting people because of their sexual orientation, a small increase compared to 2016. Anti-Muslim hate crimes were down about 11 percent, according to the report. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the crimes were “despicable violations of our core values as Americans,” adding, “The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes.”

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Wed, 11/14/2018 01:51 pm

    "Hate crimes are violent crimes."

    Let us grant the probable intent of this statement, which is to say that hate crimes are as bad as any other violent crime.

    But what is a hate crime?  How do we codify this in the law?  Do we elevate crimes motivated by hate--whatever that means--above equivalent crimes done for pleasure or profit?  Do we execute only those who murder from hate?  Their victims are not more dead than any other murder victim.

    Is Justice truly blind when we differentiate between hate crimes and other crimes?

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 11/14/2018 02:20 pm

    I have never accepted the differentiation between a "hate" crime and a "non hate" crime. If Jesus told us to "love thy neighbour as thyself", then it seems to me that all mistreatment of our fellow man, whether done for pleasure, profit or "hate", is a failure to love our neighbour. At the root of failing to love is hate. So wouldn't that make all crimes, mistreatments, offenses, etc. a derivative of hate?

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 11/14/2018 06:08 pm

    According to, a hate crime is a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity."  The site also says that "hate itself is not a crime."  I suspect the intent is to punish people more severely when their crimes are motivated by bias against someone for who they are.  It seems to me that Christians should be against bias, since God loved us even when we were his enemies.  There may be fear of how these crimes will be defined, but I think we must cling to the Lord and do HIS will and let him be in control of the outcome.

    Here's my two cents re whether justice is blind: we obviously want to follow the Bible as Christians; but not everyone in this country is a Christian.  Even Christians can't agree about what things should or should not be done! I heard a very prominent televangelist teach that Jesus drank grape juice and that alcoholic beverages should be forbidden.  A church in my hometown forbade dancing in the 70's; another forced women to wear dresses.  In Europe in earlier times Christians had others burned at the stake because of disagreements about the faith. Can you imagine if we had to sort all that out to interpret the laws of our nation?  I suspect that was at least part of the reason why our country was not founded on the Bible but on the Constitution, which gives us freedom of religion. 

    Christians have benefitted for many years because those who founded our nation ascribed mostly to Judeochristian beliefs about morality, and our laws have largely reflected it; but it's not a given that our laws will always reflect our beliefs. We can still uphold the Bible as GOD'S standard and show others that God's way works.  Those who rely on the world must be constantly tossed around by laws and ideas that are based on changing ideas of right and wrong, and surely some of them crave a standard that never changes!  (Even those I talk to who claim that truth is relative act as if there are absolute standards.)

    As others have said, we should certainly remind each other what the Bible says.  We can continue to exercise our rights as citizens so that our laws will continue to reflect our beliefs as much as possible.  Jesus said that in this world we would have trouble and that we would be persecuted for following him, so it should be no surprise that it happens.  It's been happeing to me to some degree since the 1970's!