Dozens Arrested on Hate Speech Charges
by Belson Wissels
He thus became the first American charged under the Language and Overt Vitriolic Expression (LOVE) Act of 2010, which went into effect at midnight. President Barack Obama signed the act into law with little fanfare last month as the nation's attention was focused on health insurance reform.
Based on the failed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Act of 2009, the LOVE Act was patterned after Britain's Public Order Act, which has been employed by law enforcement officers in the UK to prevent citizens from expressing disagreement with the lifestyles of others.
Benjamin "Ben" Dover, a full-time lobbyist for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Dalliance (GLAD), was still in jail this morning when his "wife," Dallas Short, was unable come up with enough money to post the $1,000 bail.
"I had $999," Short said, "and that wasn't quite enough. Can you spare a buck?"
This reporter agreed to make up the difference in exchange for an exclusive interview with Dover. An hour later Dover gave his side of the story at a coffee shop across the street from the Jackson County Jail.
"I didn't say that Catholics harm the planet," he said. "I said that Catholics who fail to use birth control contribute to the world's overpopulation problem, and their descendants harm the planet. I think that's a very clear distinction. My lawyer said he doesn't think the hate speech charge is going to stick because it's not people I hate; it's their actions."
Dover said he had fought for passage of the LOVE Act because he had thought it would be used to punish preachers who called homosexuals sinful.
"I clearly support punishing homophobes," he said. "I also think the law should be used to arrest, jail and fine racists as well as Christians who criticize atheists or even agnostics like me. What I really hate are Christian hypocrites."
At that point an undercover police officer approached, produced his badge, displayed a handheld digital recorder, identified himself as Lieutenant B. Eli Kreiss, and handcuffed Dover.
"You're going back to jail," he said. "You said you hate Christians and hypocrites. That's clearly against the law, which makes it a crime to use any expression that is quote, 'threatening, abusive or insulting.' "
Minutes later the county jail was crowded and noisy as officers worked to process dozens of newly arrested suspects. As they waited to have their fingerprints and mug shots taken, suspects complained about their nylon handcuff ties and protested their arrests.
"All I said was that the Seventh Day Adventist Church is a cult," said Agnes T. Ickman, a transvestite who wore a T-shirt that read, "Thank God I'm Agnostic."
He/she said she/he thought the U.S. Constitution protected free speech but couldn't afford to challenge the LOVE Act on his/her salary.
"The fine is only $365," she/he said. "I'll probably just pay it and watch my language more carefully from now on."
A black man wearing a purple suit, a lavender hat and white gloves sat meekly on a wooden bench, a length of silver gaffers tape over his mouth. Next to him was a young woman who appeared to be 18 to 20 years old, wearing fishnet stockings, a black miniskirt, false eyelashes, a red halter top and a badge that read, "Kansas City Police: Sgt. Dee Coye."
"We had to protect him from digging himself into too big a hole," Coye said. "I arrested him on a pandering charge for trying to be my pimp, but then you should have heard what he called me. Hate speech, for sure!"
An entire row of suspects who were lined up for mug shots wore the t shirts that precipitated their arrests. Words silk-screened on the shirts portrayed a variety of hate speech, including, "Religion Kills," "Bible Lies," "Barack, The Audacity of Hypocrisy," "Republicans Are Dumb," and "George Bush is Satan."
Two celebrities, who were in town for a televised debate scheduled for Monday evening, were being fingerprinted simultaneously.
Glenn Beck of Connecticut was arrested for allegedly calling the Reverend Al Sharpton a racist, while Michael Moore was arrested for allegedly mocking former General Motors CEO Roger Smith, former President George W. Bush and the most popular talk show host in America, Rush Limbaugh.
"On Moore's website somebody called Karl Rove a war criminal," said Indonesian-born language investigator Watshir Tung. "Not only is that against the LOVE Act, but it's also libel. Another guy called Sarah Palin an idiot, former President Jimmy Carter a coward, and the late Ronald Reagan a bumbling fool. We're committed to tracking down the criminals who perpetuate this abusive hate speech because we are dedicated to creating a kinder, gentler nation."
Obama's language czar, U. Faye Mizzem, warned Americans to clean up their language.
"The LOVE Act should present very few problems to most citizens if they choose their words carefully," she said. "We are publishing a new brochure, 'Politically Correct Term Guide,' which will be available online and at jails nationwide. The brochure lists words and terms that are not acceptable along with euphemisms that are permissible.
"For example, you can't say liberal, but you can say progressive. The N word, of course, is out, and we've ruled against colored as well as black. African-American is OK but could be banned in the future. Church is out; non-secular study area is OK. Global warming is out; climate change is in. You can't say stupid, but you can say, 'having an apparent inability to reach conclusions that seem self-evident to others.'
"The new motto is 'Speak well. Stay out of jail.'"
Quote of the Day
"The tolerant liberals suddenly become very intolerant when their official religion is challenged." — Ann Coulter.