HALL: Democrats reveal total hypocrisy on protected classes in debate over antisemitism

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I sat through the three-hour-long floor debate on House File 2504 over the weekend, not really believing what I was hearing from House Democrats.

The bill simply provides a definition of antisemitism for government entities to use in determining whether or not an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory antisemitic intent.

It received unanimous support in the subcommittee. It received unanimous support in committee.

Then, on the floor of the House, Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines) offered an amendment that turned things upside down.

Abdul-Samad is a former lieutenant in the Black Panther Party. Later in life, he reconnected with Islam and became a Muslim. It was Abdul-Samad’s clerk who in 2012 wrote a threatening letter to Abdul-Samad with racial slurs and white powder.

The former clerk admitted in his plea the white powder was used in order to “simulate a biological agent or toxin, and he perpetrated the hoax for the purpose of creating fear in others.”

All that said, Abdul-Samad clearly fired up his Democrat caucus over the bill defining antisemitism.

I came away with a few eye-opening observations from the floor debate.

The first is that suddenly and without warning, Democrats seem opposed to any legislation that provides more protection to one group of people than it does to all people. I’m not sure if this means that the Democrats will be adding a platform plank calling for the removal of hate crime legislation and the Iowa Civil Rights Code, but if it is, great.

I’ve never understood the idea of a hate crime or added protections in the law for certain people. Nobody is “more dead” because they were killed for being (insert whatever special class of person you wish here).

Here is some of what I heard from Democrats on the House floor:

“What’s so important about this code is that, when it speaks to religion, it’s basically telling us it is all religion. That’s what we want. There’s no gray area there. We don’t need a gray area. It’s either right, or it’s wrong.” – Rep. Phyllis Thede (D-Bettendorf)

“Crimes against Jewish people are evil. And should not be tolerated. But neither should crimes against any other religion. Or people for being gay, black, Muslim, Hispanic, Asian or any other person in the state of Iowa.” – Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines)

“House File 2504 is a bill that elevates one group and excludes others. Instead of doing this, we should seek to elevate all people in the state of Iowa.” – Hunter

“Who are we to decide which groups get to be protected under the law if not all groups. Who are we to decide who should and should not be safe against hate crimes. Who are we to pick and choose?” – Rep. Jennifer Konfrst (D-Windsor Heights)

“This is one of those pieces of legislation that is harmful because it really really says Jews who have been discriminated against are religiously different, better, superior to those others of you who have faced discrimination because of your religion.” – Ruth Ann Gaines (D-Des Moines)

“We don’t want antisemitism, of course, we don’t. But we also don’t want other groups that have been discriminated against religiously to think that what they’ve experienced is a different kind of pain, a lesser pain, a pain that is not as important. We as legislators want to be inclusive, and that is what we’re saying tonight. This bill is exclusive and I will not be voting for it.” – Gaines

“Need I remind us in this body we have been sent here to stand for everyone. In my district, I couldn’t tell you how many religious beliefs exist. It is my job to stand here for every single one of them. The amendment that was offered tonight would’ve made sure Iowans of all religions and religious beliefs should be protected.” – Rep. Timi Brown-Powers (D-Waterloo)

“At a time when violence is high and individuals who are unstable tend to distort our words, this may create the perception that because we have not in this legislative code been inclusive, the other groups have less significance.” – Ras Smith (D-Waterloo)

Hunter also said that the law is saying crimes against Jews are more serious than crimes against gays, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Muslims.

So doesn’t that argument apply to protections for other protected classes?

If Democrats are suddenly supportive of stripping special classes from the Iowa Civil Rights Code, get it done! Liberty and justice for all is the goal of government, not a little more liberty or a little less justice than anyone else. Liberty and justice for ALL.

Hunter went so far as to mention the Declaration of Independence and stressed ALL men are CREATED equal and no person should be prioritized.

So, the obvious observations here — Hunter said all men are created equal — not born, so is he now making a pro-life argument? And if no person should be prioritized, how does he justify putting a woman’s choice over a child’s right to life?

Here’s another interesting element to one of the arguments by Thede. Suddenly, separation of church and state didn’t apply.

“We are charged, as Christians, to accept all faiths, to understand all faiths, all religion,” she said. “We don’t get to choose who we like, who we don’t like because that’s not what we’re about. We’re taught to love, we’re taught to respect and we’re taught to understand our differences.”

She later continued…

“My faith keeps me going. I believe in Almighty God, I believe in Him wholly. He does things the right way. I have to follow what He does…It’s important that I follow my Christian faith…I don’t get to put someone on a hierarchy…So, today, please follow your faith. Follow what God tells you to do.”

Again, whoa. Where is this argument on countless other issues that impacts the Christian faith? Is it now OK for legislators to stand up and encourage members of the House to vote based on what their Christian faith tells them? Is church and state no longer separate?

And finally, how about the inclusion of atheists and agnostics among religious groups by House Democrats. This was constant from many members.

So, if atheism and agnosticism are now recognized religions by our legislators, will they work to keep atheist and agnostic beliefs out of our schools and government?

Quite a revealing debate by Democrats. Hopefully, the three-hour-long hypocrisy isn’t lost on all of them and they’re serious about all laws applying equally across the board to all Iowans.

But I have a hunch that wasn’t really their intention.

And oh, by the way, let’s say roles were reversed. Let’s say Democrats wanted to put into Iowa Code a definition of Islamophobia. Would every Democrat vote against that as well? Because every single argument they presented against this bill would apply to that one.

I think we know the answer to that. And based on my reference points, it wouldn’t reveal much consistency from the Left.

Author: Jacob Hall