Church will not oppose hate crimes legislation, clarifies previous position

Lawmaker hopeful stance from the Church of Jesus Christ 'ends the blockade' on bill getting a hearing

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  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 28, 2019 7:20 p.m.

    @BradJames - Manti, UT

    Talk about hate crimes! If you are not part of the predominant religion then you are not correct and your opinion is discredited & dismissed. Isn't this in and of itself a hate crime?

    What makes your Divine Being right and my Divine Being wrong? Churches should stay out of politics.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2019 12:04 p.m.

    @Third try screen name wrote: "The problem with hate crimes/hate speech is that they are so subjective. Evidence in court needs to be objective."

    Anyone who's spent much time in a courtroom will tell you that subjective evidence is offered and ruled on all the time. That's why the credibility of a witness is so important in determining whose version of the events is the most reliable and closest to the truth.

  • TheTheist Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2019 11:40 a.m.

    @Sophie 62
    How so? Do you really believe in elevating the status of certain groups so that people so that those who commit crimes against them have greater punishment, or to word it differently, have people be sentenced to lesser punishments because the victim does not belong to one of such groups? That is a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

  • Edmunds Tucker , 00
    Jan. 27, 2019 8:28 a.m.

    'Kind of buried in the artilce is this -' sought to allow prosecutors to seek a one-step increase for offenders convicted of a misdemeanor crime against a person or their property based on a belief or perception of the victim's ancestry, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion or sexual orientation. A class A misdemeanor, for example, could become a third-degree felony''
    Bottom line? Makes a misdemeanor a Felony. 3 felonies get a life sentence. This is a solution looking for a problem. The whole issue was rejected decades ago when the Equal Rights Amendment was debated. Misdemeanors include speeding tickets, possession of drug paraphenalia, bar room brawls. Possible prison term jumps from one year to five years to life. says enhance a penalty if ''the person is determined to have committed a hate crime;'' This is already on the books, and was discussed in 2005. See Utah 76-3-203.3. Penalty for hate crimes -- Civil rights violation.

  • Sophie 62 Spring City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2019 1:47 a.m.

    Most of the comments in this thread illustrate exactly why hate crime legislation is needed.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Jan. 25, 2019 11:36 p.m.

    we do not need a law specifically targeting a certain group of people. Assault is already a crime. just use existing law to prosecute all crimes regardless of religion, gender, etc.

  • 👌Antidote To Chaos ,
    Jan. 25, 2019 12:59 p.m.

    Hate crime legislation is very discriminatory in practice.

    Look at Eric Clanton, the Antifa professor who hit multiple people in the head with a U-lock. He was not charged with a hate crime, though it clearly was a hate crime. He got off with basically nothing, despite a long history of hate crimes.

    Look at Yvette Felarca. Once again, a long string of hate crimes, but never facing hate crime penalties.

    Equal protection, not special protection for violent ANTIFA communists.

  • xyzxyz Nashville, TN
    Jan. 25, 2019 1:39 a.m.

    It is not fair for a man to be punished for his beliefs: it brings people onto unequal footing. I should not be punished for believing something others do not believe. But it is right to be punished for breaking rules. Who is to determine what a man is thinking or the feelings of his heart? Since matters of the heart cannot be forced, neither should we assume to force all people to believe in certain feelings. But it is fair to punish people hurting or destroying others' life or property.

    It is not right to bring people onto unequal ground indefending themselves. A hate crime would punish a man for his beliefs.

  • J2 Riverton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:08 p.m.

    Agree with everyone else who commented that "hate crime" laws are nothing more than bad legislation that violates the Equal Protection clause.

    Purely political and patently unequal.

  • Left Field Cocoa Beach, FL
    Jan. 24, 2019 6:16 p.m.

    "We want to make it clear that we do not oppose the hate crimes legislation." Wow. If that's not letting your light so shine before men, I don't know what is.

  • wrj SANDY, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 5:52 p.m.

    I’m trying to show some sympathy here but I don’t understand why elected government officials need the permission of the church to do their job. That seems very unfair to the rest of the voting public.

  • Stacey23 Westminster, CO
    Jan. 24, 2019 4:36 p.m.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

    The church needs to stand up for the Bible. Nothing else matters.

  • Yar Springville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 4:05 p.m.

    I certainly don’t oppose those anti-discrimination measures. As long as it’s implemented in a manner that’s fair for everyone, I say “Go for it!”.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 2:00 p.m.

    "What's the difference between punching a person because you don't like them and punching them because you don't like their race/religion/national origin/gender/sexual orientation?

    Intent." Prove intent.

    Courts will plea these issues to lower levels. It is what they do. Creating laws enhancing the penalty is about making people feel good that they are doing something even though the courts will plea it down to get a guilty confession. Think you can mandate the courts? That is what the recent prison reform was about. People being charged based on mandatory sentencing.

  • The Trooper South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 1:33 p.m.

    Hate crime laws are not about protecting people or about justice. They are about politics. They are there to allow elected law enforcement officials a chance to grand stand. They exist so that social just warriors can feel like they have achieved some sort of victory for the oppressed over the oppressors. They result in no material changes in minority communities, but lots race baiting from the usual suspects.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 1:01 p.m.

    @search diligently
    "A white attacks a black = hate crime. A black attacks a white = no hate crime."

    Either of those scenarios might be a hate crime or might not be. Depends on the circumstances around them.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:58 p.m.

    "Crimes should be punished for what was done, not necessarily why it was done."
    The law disagrees with you.

    I run over your mail-box? Intent is the difference between it being a criminal vandalism charge and a civil damages suit.

    Killing a person? Intent is the difference between it being a death-penalty/life-in-prison offense (premeditated), to a few years in jail (manslaughter), to getting a slap on the back and a hand-shake (self-defense).

    Fraud for that matter. It can cover an activity that, if done sincerely, is just stupid, but not a crime. But if done maliciously, is a crime.

    Which brings us to slander/libel, often requires malicious intent. It's not a problem if you're just ignorant.

    Heck, *conspiracy to commit a crime* is purely a crime of intent, that doesn't require any actual illegal activity to have taken place.

    So yeah. That's a quaint notion that hasn't been part of our legal system since before our legal system split from the British legal system over two hundred years ago.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:48 p.m.

    Way too many people opposing a hate crime law with a (doesn't exist anywhere in the US) "hate speech" law.

    Educate yourselves. Hate crime laws are *enhancements* to existing crimes. They do not criminalize any behavior. They are not "hate speech" laws.

    Put simply, if you think that any hate crime law is going to criminalize speech, you need to read more.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:43 p.m.

    Apple lover now,
    The LDS church is made up in part by US citizens and residents of the State of Utah, so why do they not have a right to an opinion and a stance just like you do. Take your opinions and stance on issues up with your State that you live in. Here in Utah, we will voice our opinions as members of all faiths and backgrounds. I may not like your opinion, but you certainly have the right to voice it, as well as any organization that you may be a part of. This is America.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:38 p.m.

    I'm not a fan of "hate crimes" legislation. Crimes should be punished for what was done, not necessarily why it was done. I do not think hate crimes legislation protects anybody. Those who are so myopically filled with hatred against a specific group will attack them whether it is a class A misdemeanor or a 3rd degree felony. Most people don't even know which crimes fit in which classification, nor the difference between them. So, this doesn't deter any criminal activity. Once they've decided to commit crime against somebody they are going to do it - regardless of the step up in classification.

    That's my opinion on the proposal. That in no way reflects on the fact that I think people that attack anybody - but particularly attack somebody because of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual preference, religion, sex, etc - have done something reprehensible and should face the full force of the law.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:20 p.m.


    You stated "As if there is no difference between driving into a crowd because the driver got the pedals mixed up vs. driving into a crowd to commit an act of terrorism."

    The first act has no intent to harm. None. It is an accident. There is not an issue. It would not be prosecuted as murder or terrorism.

    The second is murder regardless of whether terrorism is a goal or not. There intent can be an issue. The question remains as to whether it should (though who is being cowed by the murder is a valid point of consideration).

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:21 p.m.

    Hate crimes, hate speech, hate smirking, hate etc.

    Frankly, a crime is a crime. The motivation regardless of the reason still makes it a crime.

    If we want motivation to be punished, then give judges some sentencing leeway or up the punishment for the actual crime.

    Motivation ought to be one of the aggravating factors. But not the whole reason.

    We should punish for the actual crime. Not for what they are thinking when they did it.

  • 💡Light and Truth📜 Windermere, FL
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:55 a.m.

    A crime is a crime. Hate crime laws violate the equal protection clause. They should be against the constitution.

    Just shows that minorities want special privileges, not equality.

  • JLindow St. George, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:46 a.m.

    @Twin Lights

    What's the difference between punching a person because you don't like them and punching them because you don't like their race/religion/national origin/gender/sexual orientation?


    My example stands. If you choose not to understand, that's on you.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:46 a.m.

    I would call a church with lobbyists, lawyers and a PR department well prepared. Any individual or group of individuals has a right to voice their opposition to or support for proposed legislation.

  • UtahDevil Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:27 a.m.

    "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not stand in the way of legislation to... " Stand in the way? They have no right to get in the way...

  • Yuge Opportunity Here Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 11:13 a.m.

    What do you call a church with lobbyists, lawyers and a PR department?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 24, 2019 10:42 a.m.


    That example does not work. One is murder. The other is not (as there was no intent to kill).

  • Shane333 Orem, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 10:39 a.m.

    The US government already has laws for addressing terrorist activities. Creating hate crime laws for addressing terrorism is redundant.

    There are already laws for addressing the varying nature and motives of crime: Different degrees of homicide is a classic example.

    'Hate Crime' is legislated classism. We should be working to overcome societal divides, not cementing or creating societal divides through legislation.

  • Bill Meeker El Paso, TX
    Jan. 24, 2019 10:16 a.m.

    I'm older than the majority of commenters here and can say I understand how appealing legislation like this can sound, but there are great risks each time our Congress passes a law they forward to a federal agency to implement. Administrations change, individuals within these agencies change and in time, the People are at the mercy of a government agency enforcing a rule in regulation that has no association with the original intent of the legislation. And it is truly an unusual law that doesn't pit one group against another. If it isn't written in a matter providing limitations, it is certain to be abused. History has proven to us, government officials abuse the power given them; they simply can't help it.

  • JLindow St. George, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    Whenever hate crime legislation is the topic, the same types of arguments from people who choose not to understand the issue are brought up: All crimes are hate crimes, or the crime should be treated the same regardless of motivation.

    As if there is no difference between driving into a crowd because the driver got the pedals mixed up vs. driving into a crowd to commit an act of terrorism.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 9:34 a.m.

    While there are some good arguments for, there is also danger in hate crimes legislation. It elevates taking stronger action against some. Justice should be blind but here is what can happen:

    A white attacks a black = hate crime. A black attacks a white = no hate crime.

    A LGBT is in a fight with a non LGBT. Both get hurt but because one is LGBT the punishment gets affixed to the non-LGBT.

    As someone mentioned here, caution sb used in applying the hate crimes legislation to see what the offending party says and does prior to the incident. Does the sum of the evidence clearly demonstrate that the person seeks to commit a crime solely based on the target belonging to an identifiable group?

    While the media jumped on the student with a MAGA hat being in the face of the native american the other day, a case could be made that the native american walked up in the face of the student and pounded his drum next into his ear. Certainly if the student walked up to the native american and pounded or yelled into the ear of the native american it would be considered a hate action.

    There must be a two-way street in application of any hate crime legislation... it should cut both ways.

  • SonOfWisdom Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 9:26 a.m.

    Maybe I don't understand the nature of the LDS Church's influence in matters like this, but it sounds confusing. Thatcher describes it as a blockade, but it sounds like the LDS Church didn't make a comment either way for 2 years.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 24, 2019 9:08 a.m.

    How is it that the church not weighing in prevented this bill from getting a hearing?

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:52 a.m.

    The problem with hate crimes/hate speech is that they are so subjective. Evidence in court needs to be objective.

    The interpretation of thoughts and motive are impossible to prove.

    Then there is the issue of authority. Exactly who gets to decide what "hate" is? The media? The SPLC? Exactly when does patriotism morph into jingoism...then nationalism...then supremacy.

    What is the difference between a Shep Fairey image of Obama in a t-shirt at school, and one with the words "America First" on it?

    As we've seen recently, what is hateful about a MAGA hat? Or a call for better corder security, "Built that wall"?

    Any effort to delve into hate weakens the process of justice. The concept of hate can be manipulated, and courts don't need that.

    A guy's manifesto prior to a crime should be entered into evidence. People who threaten other people should be investigated. But let's not construct hate out of wearing a red baseball cap.

  • county mom Austin, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:44 a.m.

    I'm sad for your neighbors.
    Any members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that have lived outside of Utah have faced prejudice and some have had crimes committed against them. I have.
    While all crime is a formed of hate, jealousy, and fear. Most crime is aimed at individuals, not meant to strike fear in a larger group.
    I believe that encouraging, perpetuating or even just allowing any group of criminals or individuals to commit crimes against any other group or individuals, with expressed intent to strike fear in all or any of that group, is a hate crime.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:31 a.m.

    It's pretty sad that no legislation gets done in Utah unless approved (or at least not "opposed") by the LDS church.

    @KSM's Dad;

    Read Utefan60's comment, he answered your question nicely.

  • BradJames Manti, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:26 a.m.

    Everyone follow the Church's example. It's just more evidence that the Brethren take their marching orders from Jesus Christ Himself. This is His Church after all.

  • Applelovernow Henderson, NV
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:20 a.m.

    I am also surpirsed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would even comment on this legislation. This is a job for law-makers, not the Church leaders. I hope that in 2019, Utah legislature is listening to their voters, not just members of the dominate church of the area.

  • KSN Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 8:07 a.m.

    Perhaps we need to add "political orientation" to the list. It certainly appears that the Covington students were on the receiving end of hateful speech and near universal condemnation simply because their hats revealed their political orientation - leading some Media folks to suggest that they should be put through a "woodchipper", etc.

  • KSM's Dad Ogden, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 6:24 a.m.

    What exactly is a hate crime? If a person is killed in a fit of rage by a spouse, is that a hate crime? It wasn’t done out of love. If a youth is assaulted because he or she is gay, and another youth is assaulted randomly, the first is hate and the second is ambivalence? Both are assaulted. This is creating a higher class of citizen with more protections than others.

  • Utefan60 , 00
    Jan. 24, 2019 6:10 a.m.

    Hate crimes are much different than other crimes, and in most parts of the country they are prosecuted, and enhanced penalties are sought. Why?

    These despicable crimes not only target individuals, but they target groups of people already discriminated against by society. It isn't just a crime against an individual, it is usually a crime meant to elicit fear in a larger group. To "put people in their place".

    A neighbor couple was targeted by the High Schoolers in my neighborhood. They were the best neighbors anyone could have. They were a same sex couple. Their home was vandalized, and targeted. They lived in fear. One night their fears were realized as a group targeted their home and property. That ended up in a hospital visit for one on them, trying to legally defend their home. Felony charges were filed. And the prosecutors wanted enhanced charges.

    What was so disgusting was the attitude of many of the neighbors, and others who condoned these kid's behaviors. "Kids will be kids" That was unbelievable. Yes these crimes are far different. Utah needs to get up to date. Now! Before someone dies.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 5:19 a.m.

    "We want to make it clear that we do not oppose the hate crimes legislation." Not opposing things is a fine first step, but I'll welcome the day when they actually support hate crimes legislation rather than simply "not opposing" it.

  • SusanScrubOak Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2019 12:36 a.m.

    “The proposed law would not have affected free speech and other constitutional rights and didn't create a new protected class of people except for the purpose of enhanced criminal penalties.”

    Interesting to note that about Thatcher’s former proposed law. If that’s the key difference, it is no wonder the new proposal hasn’t been made public.

  • The-Antidote Highland, UT
    Jan. 23, 2019 11:42 p.m.

    I am grateful for and, support, and sustain our Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Leaders that guide and direct the lay members, and our politicians in the most positive way forward. I feel it's important to heed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints counsel on this complex hate crime legislation.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Jan. 23, 2019 10:44 p.m.

    Hate is taking down capitalism by telling a baker what she must put on a cake. And it is un-elected judges trying to control our lives. Yet we are growing up as a nation and seeing foolishness for what it is.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 23, 2019 10:33 p.m.

    We do not need hate crimes legislation that protects any particular group or where does that end? We need hate crimes legislation and to treat all people the same when it comes to holding people accountable for hate crimes.

  • SusanScrubOak Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 23, 2019 8:49 p.m.

    "I'm interested in stopping people who are using criminal actions to threaten and intimidate entire communities."

    Loaded statement of, as yet, indiscernible meaning. All eyes on this one.