From KELOland: Protesters vandalize Brookings Catholic church

Members of a church on the campus of South Dakota State University are concerned about some overnight vandalism.

Someone armed with a spray can wrote on a sign and on the side of the brick church.

Lance Catron a member of the church, said, "It's disheartening. I mean this is the place I come to worship each week. This is my place and when people come here and do this it's disheartening."
Read it all here.

You know, I'd put up a bounty on the people who did this, but I'd rather make a donation to the church to repair the damage. This is no different - NO DIFFERENT - than the type of people who would burn down black churches in the South. It's a hate crime. It's bigotry masquerading as a political statement.

I went to church here during college. Not as often as I probably should have, but it was still my church at one time.

It's a cowardly act, and incredibly beneath people who engage in legitimate debate. I at least have respect for people on both sides of the issue. I might not agree, but they are fellow countrymen entitled to their views.

The type of people who do this... I find it hard to vocalize such disgust for their cowardly act.

My sincere hope is that they are caught. Because no matter their accomplishments, they will bear the stigma of having vandalized a church as a postscript to those accomplishments for the rest of their lives.


Max Power said…
It is despicable, yes. Based on that picture, however, it doesn't come close the burning of any church. The difference between defacing and destroying is a difference in kind, not in degree. Also, based only on the photo, this does not appear to be a hate crime.

That being said, it is incredibly offensive. I've never understood people (mostly kids) who deface a church. Its inexcusable.

It also doesn't make any sense, considering the Catholic church is generally opposed to war on moral grounds.

But I just want to respectfully disagree with you that this is 1) a hate crime, or 2) on par with the burning of a church.
Anonymous said…
CCP was also my church while at SDSU, and I can't think of a less appropriate place, or a less appropriate method to protest the war.

Hit and run vandalism is just cowardly, but the church still stands. The paint can be removed. Let's offer a prayer for CCP and its mission, for the vandal, and for the people in Iraq.
Anonymous said…
If the people who defaced this church consider themselves pro-choice, they just did the rest of the pro-choice people (myself included) a grave disservice. You can't sink much lower than to deface property - especially a church!
I hope they catch whoever did this before someone else follows suit. Emotions are so strong in the state that anything is apt to happen in the next couple of months.
Anonymous said…
PP, I have to agree with Max Power here. There is no way this is a hate crime.

After all, it was a Catholic church and thereby extention Catholics attacked.

Don't you know PP that Catholics and their churches simply cannot be the victims of a hate crime?
Anonymous said…
What a stupid, obsene and cowardly act. I hope whoever did this is caught and prosecuted to the full extent.

I also, however, completely agree with Max Powers points 1 and 2.
Anonymous said…
And remember, PP, Property Damage is not Violence. Or so the Vail resort arsonists tried to claim before they were put in the Colorado penal system.

Brad S.
Anonymous said…

Please take a deep breath and realize that "hate crime" is a liberal invention meant to punish people for their views in addition to their crimes.

Respect their right to have their view (wrong or not) and condemn them for their crime, and their crime alone.
Anonymous said…
I do hope they find who did this. I think we all might be suprised. In the past, pro-life groups (probably not the only ones) have destroyed thier own sites to get attention and press. It is a good way to win supporters.
Anonymous said…
Anon 11:20 - You are missing the point. Hates crimes are committed because of someone's viewpoint. People have a right to their own viewpoints - even when they are skewed toward certain groups of society. But they do not have the right to act on those viewpoints in a criminal manner.
Publisher said…
Right on Max! BTW, why can't we read your blog?
Anonymous said…
Ok. I agree with you that this is despicable. And I agree that there should be a distinction in the law for hate crimes. But no different than burning an African-American church in the South??? Please.

Anonymous said…
12:07, you serious? Have they shot their own doctors as well, blown up clinic, picketed their own houses, yelled at their own kids, mailed aborted fetuses to their own legislatures, killed the easter bunny?

Go away.
PP said…
Okay, I might concede that the imagery was a little exaggerated.

But both are hate crimes directed at places of worship, and that was more the point.
Anonymous said…
12:14 - I think you missed my point.

I wasn't saying they have a right to act on their viewpoint; I was saying their criminal act shouldn't be punished to a greater degree because of their viewpoint. That equates with punishing them for their viewpoint.
Anonymous said…
3:26 PM - The purpose of the law is to make the punishment bad enough so someone won't harm another person, or that person's property, just because of who that person is, whether he or she is of a different race, belongs to a different religion or has a different sexual orientation.
It's the same deterrent theory that people use to validate the death penalty.
Or do you think it's okay to commit crimes against people just because they are different from you?
Anonymous said…
"Or do you think it's okay to commit crimes against people just because they are different from you?"

Yeah - that's exactly what I'm saying...

I disagree with you. Legislators propose hate crimes legislation in order to impose greater penalties on people who commit crimes with what those legislators think is *worse* intent. Racially motivated assault is *worse* than "regular" assualt. Two people who commit essentially the same crime - striking someone - would be punished differently b/c one was a racist. I think that's wrong - not because I'm a bigot (I'm not) or because I think it's ok to act that way. But because I think that's punishing a person based on their viewpoint.
Anonymous said…
6:54pm Right on !!
Anonymous said…
Anon 6:54 PM -
My question -
"Or do you think it's okay to commit crimes against people just because they are different from you?"
Your reply -
"Yeah - that's exactly what I'm saying..."

Am I understanding you correctly that you do think it is OKAY to commit crimes against people just because they are different from you?
The question did not ask whether it was okay to punish them differently, but whether it is okay to commit the crime because they are different.
If that isn't what you meant, I suggest you read the question again and think it through. And if you do think it is okay to commit the crime for that reason ... well, there goes your claim that you aren't a bigot.

Maybe it was a Freudian slip.
Anonymous said…
1:04 - That was sarcasm. I thought the question was dumb enough that it would be easy to tell. If you read & gave maybe just a skosh of thought to what I was writing, I think you'd be able to see that.
Anonymous said…
A crime is a crime and should be punished as such. Why is it "more wrong", legally, to assault a person because he is gay than to assault an elderly person who may be too weak to fight back? Both are crimes, and should be dealt with equally. The "hate crime" is at best discriminatory, and at worst, pandering.
Anonymous said…
2:47 AM - Since I don't know you and can't see you to pick up on nonverbal cues, I can only go by the exact words that you write. When you are writing on a blog, if you don't mean it, you had better not write it.
Maybe it WAS a Freudian slip.

7:32 AM - People don't just go up and assault elderly people. They almost always are stealing from them too, which results in TWO charges - assault and robbery. People who commit hate crimes do it for the sheer pleasure of pounding on someone just because he or she is different.
So how do you feel about cross burnings?
Anonymous said…

The question was absurd, so I gave you an equally ridiculous answer. I can assure you it was not a slip of the tongue, as I was typing it and meant to type it. I'm not a bigot, but thanks for asking.

Let me give you a tip. If 7:32 replies with "I love cross burnings," that would probably be another sarcastic answer. You should be prepared for that, as your question has nothing to do with what we're talking about - whether hate crimes unconstitutionly punish thought - and deals instead with feelings on racism. You seem wholly unable to address what both s/he and I've been saying.

So please, without adding other charges or motives, tell me this: Why is a white man assaulting a black man because he's black worse (and deserving harsher punishment) than a white man assaulting a white man because he's mad at him? I suspect the only answer you can give to that question would be "because the first white man was racist."
Anonymous said…
1:05 PM - No, that is not my answer.
If the white man assaults the white man, for purposes other than to rob him, in most instances it is because of something that the other white man did or that the first white man perceived that the second man did.
If the white man assaults the black man for the same reason that he assaults the second white man, then it should be prosecuted in the same manner.
It's a different story though if the white man assaults the black man, not to rob him or because of anything that he has done, but simply because he exists.
It's no different than if someone with brown eyes walked up and pummeled you because you have blue eyes, and he or she hates people who have blue eyes. The color of your eyes is something over which you have no control*.
Is it any worse than assaulting someone to rob them? No, but that act already carries multiple charges which should result in more punishment.
Is it any worse than hitting someone who provoked the other person? If someone hit you because he was mad at you due to some real or perceived act, you wouldn't like it but you probably would understand why it happened.
On the other hand, if someone hit you solely because your eyes were not the same color as his, and you knew that someone else - or even a gang of people - might do the same thing again and again, my guess is you would want laws in place that would deter people from doing that.
It's one thing to have one's own opinions. It's quite another to act on those opinions when it means assaulting someone or damaging his or her property.
Nothing is uglier than hate.

*Yes, I know you can wear colored contacts, but you cannot change the color of your skin - unless you're Michael Jackson.
Anonymous said…
4:18 - You didn't answer the question. For starters, you start by dreaming up motives for an assault that includes another crime.

What I read from your post tells me that you avoided giving a straight answer to my question because that answer would have been exactly what I expected.

"If the white man assaults the black man for the same reason that he assaults the second white man, then it should be prosecuted in the same manner."

You then basically say that if there is an assualt based on hate/racism, then it should be punished worse. (please correct me if I'm wrong)

"Nothing is uglier than hate."

You are in favor of punishing people because they hate, i.e. based on what they think in addition to what they do. I think that is wrong, and I think it is unconstitutional.
Anonymous said…
12:07 AM - You understood me correctly. I believe hate crimes should be punished more severely as a deterrent. If that is punishing someone for their thoughts, so be it. The point is that they are punished only if they act on their thoughts.
We obviously are not going to agree on this, but you do present a better argument than what I usually see here.

Now here is something else to consider. One of the differences between first and second degree murder in South Dakota is premeditation.
Here is the situation:
Someone plans a murder only by thinking through what he will do at a certain time. This person does not tell anyone else what he plans to do, and he does not take any physical actions ahead of time, such as acquiring a weapon. He only thinks about it and decides when he will do it.
After the murder is committed, a detective finds the perpetrator's journal where he wrote his thoughts down. It tells about his plan to push the other person off a cliff when they go on their regularly scheduled outing into the mountains.
The journal clearly shows that the murder was premeditated. First degree murder carries a higher penalty than second degree murder. If the man is found guilty of first degree murder, is he being punished more severely because he thought about the murder ahead of time instead of just acting on the spur of the moment?
You tell me.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the compliment.

I think your murder example is distinguishable. There are several types of homicide, based upon how the crime was committed: while drunk behind the wheel, involuntarily while doing something dangerous, in the heat of passion, with a depraved heart, or with premeditation to name a few.

In the case of premeditation, you describe it as "thinking ahead of time." That's fine - let's go with that. That makes it 1st degree/premeditated murder, which has a steeper penalty. He is punished to a greater extent for planning his crime ahead of time.

I would distinguish punishment for premeditated murder based on a difference between fact and opinion. The murderer in your example is punished to a greater extent because of the fact that he planned the murder ahead of time. That punishment is not based upon any motive he might have - but merely the fact that he planned it. In the context of hate crimes legislation, a criminal is punished for their opinion about the victim's minority status. The murderer in your example is not punished for how he views something; he is punished for the fact that he planned the murder. It's punishing the cold calculating nature of the offense and not the personal views of the murderer toward the victim.

As for the deterrent effect, I guess I would just make the argument that others have made against steeper punishments as a deterrent. I think it's ineffective because people who commit these crimes (or most other crimes for that matter) are not thinking rationally when they do what they do. They don't think about the consequences of their actions, and therefore don't take a moment to reflect about the sentence (or possibility of an enhanced sentence) they would receive should they be found guilty in a court of law.
Anonymous said…
Brevity is a virtue. Look up the word succinct before all of you post again.

Anonymous said…
Barry, Sorry that you didn't find it as interesting as we did. I suppose we did get somewhat carried away, but it's refreshing to debate someone at this site who can respond in an intelligent, unemotional manner without using words like idiot and stupid.
(Is this succint enough for you?)
Anonymous said…
I meant succinct. I know how to spell it - and what it means.
Anonymous said…
I know it's simplistic, but all crime is rooted in hatred.

Here's a scenario that would cause headaches for the liberals....a straight black man mercilessly beats the heck out of a gay white man, or vice versa. Never mind what inspired the it a hate crime?
Anonymous said…
Yes, silly. Of course, in SD we don't recognize sexual orientation as anything other than a position a hetro man may be in when making whoopi to his wife every third thursday of the month.
Anonymous said…
Anon 9:26 - You forgot about the sheep.
Anonymous said…
The sheep get theirs on Tuesday's.
Anonymous said…
4:23 - Is all crimed rooted in hatred? How about people who steal or embezzle to support a drug or gambling habit?
Their drug or gambling habit might be related to hate, but their stealing is often a crime of convenience. They need money to feed their habit, and whoever is unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time becomes the victim.
How about people who patronize prostitutes? Granted, there are some people who would do that because of hatred for the prostitute or a family member, but there are also men who would rather pay for sex than risk having to deal with an intimate relationship.
I could say more, but Barry wants me to be succinct.

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