Hate Crime Laws, the most recent notches torn from the liberty tree, ostentatiously violate
the First Amendment.
The recent explosion of hate crime legislation, arrests and convictions may be embraced by
the general public as justified because crimes committed against individuals, motivated by
their perceived group identity, evokes a special sense of injustice in a free society.
The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, and the
Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equality under the law conflict with the First Amendment
guarantee of freedom of association, not to mention involuntary genetic identity.
While courts wrestle with these conflicting interests, the climate of
"political correctness" fills the sails of government agencies that recklessly veer off
course into the ocean of tyranny.
In the Irish Echo's July 28-August 3, 1999 article, entitled
Shamrock Under Fire,
author Jim Smith documents an outrageous violation of the First Amendment administered by
the Boston Housing Authority. The Irish Echo learned that the Boston Housing Authority
officials were asking Irish residents to remove displays of Shamrocks from the doors and
windows of housing developments around the city. The Irish Echo quotes Lydia Agro,
BHA's communication director:
"There are a number of symbols that have been identified by some of our residents as making
them uncomfortable and unwelcome," Agro said. "In response to those concerns, we're
including shamrocks along with swastikas, Confederate flags and other symbols which may
According to the article, most of the Irish residents in the public housing facilities are
senior citizens on fixed incomes. Some had been there for more than 20 years.
Ironically, some experienced a time when
their ethnic group was subject to discrimination in America. Some fought and lost loved ones fighting
the Nazi regime in World War II. The BHA's behavior was awarded by the federal Department of Housing
and Urban Development with a nomination for the "Best Practices" awards.