Democracy at Work in Palm Springs: A Hate Crime in Action

The rage against diversity of thought is reaching warlike proportions in some parts of California. Witness the frightening way “democracy” (as in mob rule) worked when a Christian woman dared to show up at a Prop. 8 protest in Palm Springs. Be sure to watch the very end where they show how the incident began. Tolerance? Love? Freedom of speech and thought? This is one of the more frightening things I’ve seen. Hat tip to Connor Boyack.

This video should become part of the standard training to help people recognize genuine hate crimes.

The commentator said something about seeing “a lot of hate on both sides.” Where was the hate of the Christian woman? Was it in her smile as she was assailed and threatened? Was it in trying to pick up the cross that protesters tore from her hands and stomped on? Was it in refusing to shout and curse the angry mob around her? Or was it in having a differing view and daring to express it with a visible symbol (the cross)? Help me spot the hate here.

Update, Nov. 12: Some people have had a hard time imagining that any kind of crime was being committed here. I suggest you imagine what it must have been like for the elderly old woman who showed up at City Hall to stand up for her beliefs, however misguided you think they are. Can you imagine being a short, elderly woman showing up to “stand up for Jesus” by carrying a large cross that you had made? (If that’s beyond your abilities, think of an elderly lesbian carrying a rainbow flag at a protest led by angry Mormon missionaries.) As you walk across an open area with your cross raised, you are suddenly surrounded by much bigger people, including large and burly men who begin shouting at you. Some grab the cross away from you and hurl this sacred symbol of your faith toward the ground. A possession of yours has just been stolen by force. The crowd presses in more tightly and begins stomping violently on the cross. They are doing more than simply destroying your possession, which most people ought to be able to recognize as a crime. They are angrily, deliberately, and, yes, hatefully, destroying what they know to be a symbol of your religious belief. Then they continue yelling at you, cursing you, and demanding that you leave, with arms flailing inches from your face. Do you think this might have appeared to be physical and emotional intimidation? Do you think emotions of hate were deliberately and persuasively conveyed? Or is this what you call civil discourse?

This is public property we are talking about, City Hall, not a private club where the woman slipped past the bouncers. She has as much right as they did to be there. Might it be possible that some of her rights were threatened by that group? Will they apologize for the theft, the destruction of property, the intimidation, the verbal and emotional abuse? Of course not.

I am surprised that some of you cannot imagine this being an example of a crime. How much further would it have had to go to qualify? Does the victim have to be maimed, her home burned to the ground, and her Starbucks gift card mangled, before the words “crime” and perhaps even “hate” might begin to apply?

Look, I don’t like the whole concept of “hate crimes” since very few crimes qualify as loving in the first place. I prefer criminalizing actions rather than thought. But if “hate crime” is to be a legal concept, why not include this as an example. It’s a mild example since the courageous woman wasn’t bloodied or killed, and I will certainly admit that some gays have suffered bigotry far more devastating than this. By discussing this case, in no way do I wish to ignore the reality of assaults and other crimes against gays. Crime and hate must stop. But advocating the traditional legal definition of marriage is not an act of hate, however angry it makes some people.

The video is chilling – but you’re probably not going to see this played endlessly on every major TV network for the next six months. You’re probably not going to hear about this incident at all except on a few fringe blocks. But if the reverse situation had occurred – imagine angry Christians shouting down a peaceful lesbian protester calmly and courageously waving a rainbow banner, then grabbing her banner and stomping it into the earth, then swarming around her with curses and hate, demanding that she leave, and blocking cameras to keep the world from seeing her – can you imagine anything but massive national attention, even international attention, with all sorts of efforts from angry politicians to deal with the “Christian menace”? Can you imagine how such things would play out if the roles were reversed?

So what is a hate crime? Maybe the FBI can give us some guidance. From an FBI page on “hate crime”:

A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.

In response to mounting national concern over crimes motivated by bias, Congress enacted the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990. The law directed the Attorney General to collect data “about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” . . .

As a result, the law enforcement agencies that participate in the national hate crime program collect details about an offender’s bias motivation associated with the following offense types: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism of property.

So if people charge at a woman because she’s carrying a cross, yell at her, curse at her, grab her cross and destroy it, surround her and shout at her, could that possibly count as intimidation or destruction of property with some twist of bias based on the religion of the victim? Could it possibly be a hate crime? I’m just wondering out loud here. I’m not a lawyer and not even a very good judge of things like love and hate. I had the hardest time spotting the hate of that woman, and I had an even tougher time seeing the love in the actions of the mob with who had “love” all over their protest signs. I guess I’m emotionally dyslexic.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

71 thoughts on “Democracy at Work in Palm Springs: A Hate Crime in Action

  1. But Jeff it’s all about love!!!! It was love that caused those people to snatch the cross and stomp it. It was love that fueled their yelling in her face. All these people want is to express their love and not be deprived of their rights. Can’t you see the fruits of the spirit of love?

    How dare the church use proper democratic measures to spread their hate and bigotry!

    *Note sarcasm*

    Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

    The only thing that upsets me more than the blatant hate and intolerance demonstrated in these rallies allegedly fighting against those very things, is the members who sympathize with them. A bunch of Thomas B. Marshes in the making.

  2. Wow…if that cross were bait, they took it hook, line, and sinker.

    Rational thought on the issue is nowhere to be found at these types of rallies, and that goes for both sides. People get caught up in the emotion and lose all respect for each other. Sad to see people act this way.

  3. Cowardice…..

    Afraid a little lady might take away their spotlight. Seemed as though they took away some of her rights there. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    When MLK marched peacefully, he drew great admiration and benefited the cause of the black man. While the anti-Christian behaviors of the opponents of Prop 8 looked more like crazed lunatics that disgrace their cause.

  4. My understanding is that the church only lobbied members, not non-members, and not the public. Not a dime was spent in lobbying or publicity by the church (other than air fare sending some church leaders to california.)

    The only Mormons lobbying were members exercising their own first amendment freedoms on their own time and on their own dime.

  5. If you are a member of a church that does not support gay/lesbian marriages then that is fine. You and your church are completely free to restrict who is blessed before God in marriage, in your church. Having said that however I do not believe that the church has any right to impose its doctrines on society when the imposition of those doctrines results in a removal of equality from an identifiable group. Remember that marriage in the secular world is between the state and the couple and is designed to give certain rights to both of the couples under law. The church is not responsible for the LEGAL aspects of marriage, they are there to provide a way for God to bless the marriage and to sanctify it in Him.

    I am greatly saddened to see that their are people of faith that have such a great amount of hatred for others that they would impose their will on them. A gay couple getting married does not mean that the world is coming to an end, it will not affect anybody else. Witness what was being said by various religious leaders during the women’s suffrage movement …. strangely similar to the rhetoric being thrown around today.


  6. Ooops, spelling error, “I am greatly saddned to see that ‘their’ …. ” should have been ‘there’



  7. SB,

    At this point, it isn’t religion imposing their beliefs on society. The people have spoken. They don’t want SSM. It is the homosexual community and their supporters who are trying to impose their beliefs on society. And, selfishly, just as we are accused of acting, they have no qualms about imposing their beliefs.

  8. One other thing: We don’t hate homosexuals. They are God’s children just like the rest of us. This has nothing to do with hating a particular group of people. We hate the sin, but we can separate the sin and the sinner and still love the sinner. My children do things I absolutely hate, but I love my children with all my heart.

  9. The people have not spoken. 51% of the people have spoken one way 48% have spoken another. When 51% of the people vote to remove a benefit that the other 48% liked, it is a recipe for disaster. This is in no way a reconciled problem simply because a majority of the people ruled one way. What you simply get here is tyranny of the majority. From the white hot anger this result produced, clearly those in favor of this proposition won the battle but are losing the war. Which side has more to lose? It seems to me that those in favor of the proposition have less to lose if gay marriage is allowed. Those who favor gay marriage have more to lose, and thusly they are far more passionate. They will eventually “win” something and leave behind scorched earth.

    I am saddened to see them continually go to the courts to change public opinion rather than the legislature. It undermines the rule of democracy. Then again, we don’t have a perfect democracy. We have a Republic we vote for representatives to judge better than the masses.

    As far as “hate crime” is concerned, just remember, that in this country, long ago, gays could be sentenced to death for gay actions. Just look up the state laws in Virginia and Connecticut for example. They were far harsher than laws against blacks. Just look at the persecution gays have had to deal with throughout the history of this nation of ours. Keep that in perspective when you see an angry man take a woman’s cross and stomp on it. Gays have been KILLED because they were gay. When gays start killing Christians because they are Christian, then come talk to me about hate crimes.

    Seriously, Christians have got this persecution complex down masterfully. They welcome it. They revel in it. It feeds their religiosity to unhealthy levels.

  10. “My understanding is that the church only lobbied members, not non-members, and not the public.”

    I guess all those Yes on 8 signs were designed to be seen by Mormons only? Are you kidding me?

    And as to protests – if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

  11. A lot of the protesters keep talking about “equal rights”. What right is it they are talking about? The right of a person to marry one person of the opposite sex?

  12. Dan, as several posters already mentioned, They are going to follow the Lord and Obey the Prophet.
    Please, do not try to use logic or reasoning here, it will never trump Abraham like Obedience from some of these people.

  13. Dan,

    “It undermines the rule of democracy.”

    Rule by majority is how a democracy functions. Just because it’s a close majority does not mean it should be ignored. With a record number of voters turning out, it sounds an awful lot like there were plenty of people to make the choice for the state of California. It’s just really unfortunate to see the sour grapes by the losers.

  14. Jeff, what crime was being committed? I saw a bunch of shouting and pumping of fists, but could not spot the hate crime.
    Or are you like the little old lady? Just trying to wind people up? Just goading people into a frenzy?
    I think the little old lady should bring a lot more friends with her next time she wants to bait an angry group like that. Especially ones that have just had their rights stolen.
    So, Jeff, if you please? What was the hate crime?

  15. Well, it was tyranny of the minority to begin with. But in this country, the majority rules when it comes down to a vote.

    And yes, we do have representatives for these kinds of issues, but they are frankly too afraid to really take it on. I’m not suprised either. They can’t win. So, since our representatives aren’t taking it on, it’s left up to the people (or judges) to decide–and yes, they’ve spoken.

    Oh, and my persecution complex demands that I remind you that Mormons were killed because they were Mormon and practiced polygamy. Missouri’s governor, at the time, issued an extermination order against Mormons making it legal to kill them. Maybe we need to take up the plural marriage issue again since we’ve been so persecuted. The country owes us.

  16. anonymous @ 6:52,

    I was meaning that those who favor gay rights going to courts to give those rights instead of the legislature. That undermines democracy.


    I didn’t know that Governor Boggs was gay. Clearly Christians have been killed because they were Christian. Mormons were killed because they were Mormon. What I said was, show me where a gay killed a Christian because he was Christian, and then we’ll talk about hate crimes. I personally have not heard of such an incident. However, I do know of numerous incidents of Christians killing gays because they were gay.

  17. tatabug:

    With respect:

    Gays are not ‘imposing’ anything on you by marrying, they are simply accessing rights available to married couples. (like the right to family only hospital visits). Whereas having a segment of society saying that they cannot marry DOES impose on the gay community by prohibiting access to those same marriage rights.

    I realize that you (specifically) may not ‘hate’ gays (or gay marriage) but you still do not have the right to impose your beliefs on someone else.

    You also mention your children by way of analogy. This is flawed, as your children, by law, are under your protection and guidance. Anyone else that is not a member of your family is NOT bound to look to you for protection or guidance. If they do want the guidance then they can join the church of their own free will.



  18. Dan,

    I understand that there is a difference in the persecution. It just seems to me like you are justifying the anger of homosexuals in this issue because they were persecuted. Well, we were persecuted too. Does that give us a right to get angry and take that anger out on our fellow countrymen? Maybe at the time that we were being hunted and killed, but not now. No one is trying to hunt and kill us for being Mormons. Neither is anyone trying to kill homosexuals because they are homosexuals. See my point?

  19. tatabug,

    What I’m saying is that taking a woman’s cross and stomping on it, yelling at her, is not a hate crime, and doesn’t even come close to what has been done in the past.

  20. Christians have imposed their beliefs on everyone in this country for far too long.
    Freedom of religion has never been freedom from religion.
    But, tide is changing. These kind of protests would not have happened 50 years ago. Or even 30 years ago.
    I see Gays having same rights as every one else in the not too distant future.
    Time for Christians to stop killing Gays.
    Jeff, your saying that the video showed a hate crime was a joke. But then again, when you have girded up your loins in righteousness you can point your finger at anyone that doesn’t share your views.

  21. SB,

    Here is a comment I made on another Mormonity post in response to the same thing you’ve suggested:

    I believe we would’ve lost something, and I think if you can’t see that, then maybe you don’t really understand the sacred nature of marriage. Something we hold so sacred would’ve become even further eroded. And what’s worse, “the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

    If you take the word of the prophets, we have a lot to lose–a whole lot more than homosexuals. Homosexuals can get married. They can even have virtually the identical privileges of married couples. It just won’t be recognized as marriage by the State. It won’t get the public’s stamp of approval. But if a homosexual couple’s love is strong enough, and they are secure enough in their sexual identity, it shouldn’t matter what society thinks.

    Unless the homosexual agenda goes much deeper and is much more sinister than simple public approval (and I suspect it is for some), then they really have lost very little.

    No worries though. They will eventually get their way. It may take judicial fiat and the shredding of the Constitution to get it done, but it will happen. At least we can say we fought the good fight by standing up for our convictions.


    So it isn’t a crime to deface someone else’s property? You don’t think there was some hate involved, whether or not it qualifies under the law as a hate crime? Again, it seems you are making justifications here which is what I’m concerned about.

  22. SB,

    Gays already have the legal rights you’ve suggested.

    And yes, they are imposing their beliefs, same as us. They believe they have a right to marry and we don’t. We believe that there are qualifications for marriage. They either don’t or they have set their own qualification requirements for it.

    The analogy of my children had nothing to do with legal garbage. It has to do with the love of human beings for each other in spite of their sins. Sorry you couldn’t see that.

  23. tatabug @ 7:25

    You make my point for me. In your post you comment about the ‘sacred nature of marriage’. EXACTLY!! In the church the marriage is solemnized in the eyes of God and thus becomes sacred in nature. A Marriage license granted by the state has NOTHING to do with God or the ‘sacred nature of marriage’, as I have pointed out before it is a legal document, nothing more, nothing less.

    And NO they are not imposing on you….get it straight. Having them marry does NOT impact on YOU AT ALL. It will not change the way you live, work, eat, or sleep. As an example, granting women the right to vote did not impact on anybody back then despite all of the yelling about how it would change society for the worse. I dare say that you would probably look askance at anyone who would dare suggest that the right to vote be removed from women.

    Gays do not have all the legal rights of married individuals. Look it up sometime, property rights for deceased partners, parenting rights, etc. NONE of these are available unless you are legally married.

    As to the children issue. Yes I do understand that what you are referring to is about the love of another human. However the entire debate over gay marriage is a legal one and involves access to the legal rights that married people have. This is not a discussion about your public perception of morals or how you feel the need to love somebody who may be ‘sinning’.

    Once again, with respect for you and your position


  24. Dan said

    “The people have not spoken. 51% of the people have spoken one way 48% have spoken another. When 51% of the people vote to remove a benefit that the other 48% liked, it is a recipe for disaster. This is in no way a reconciled problem simply because a majority of the people ruled one way. What you simply get here is tyranny of the majority”

    So since Obama won with a popular vote of 52% and McCain 46%, you are saying this is tyranny of the majority? Look someone has to win. Sometimes when people lose they get upset. Its how they handle it that makes the difference and shows their true colors. If Prop 8 had been rejected I hardly think you would have seen Mormons at the porch of Gavin Newsom shouting obscenities and vandalizing structures. LDS Churches across California and some in Utah have begun to get vandalized right after this vote. See what I mean about true colors?

    “Seriously, Christians have got this persecution complex down masterfully. They welcome it. They revel in it. It feeds their religiosity to unhealthy levels.”

    LOL, are you serious? You think gays are not having this persecution complex? Give me a break.

  25. bunker,

    “If Prop 8 had been rejected I hardly think you would have seen Mormons at the porch of Gavin Newsom shouting obscenities and vandalizing structures. LDS Churches across California and some in Utah have begun to get vandalized right after this vote. See what I mean about true colors?”

    But don’t you see, the Church and its members would not have lost anything, because in this fight they really had nothing to lose. So no, they would have had no reason to go shout obscenities at Gavin Newsom. The Church and its members just took away the one thing that gays prized the most right now in their lives. Of course they are going to be highly upset.

    Hypothetically take away temple marriage away from Mormons and let’s just see how upset Mormons get.

  26. @DAN
    “Hypothetically take away temple marriage away from Mormons and let’s just see how upset Mormons get.”
    Oh snap you got us on that one.

    You mean like in the many countries where the government doesn’t view temple marriages as official!

    We must be pretty upset about that eh?

    Or perhaps not…

    They do civil marriages in the morning to be legally married in the eyes of the state and then later that day they do the marriages at the temple which is important to us.

    What are you missing out on that we won’t champion your cause for you?
    Hospital rights? Tax incentives? Filling out contracts together?
    Lets find a common ground and work together to address your greviences.

    We believe the institution of marriage is man and woman and should remain that way
    Yes it does help to know that the majority of our society also believes that. But more importantly time always vindicates the prophets.

  27. “But don’t you see, the Church and its members would not have lost anything, because in this fight they really had nothing to lose.”

    Everyone that believes that marriage is between a man and a woman would have lost. They would have lost the right to live somewhere marriage isn’t made a mockery of. Yes, this is largely a religious view, but guess what? Most of the country is Christian. If I live in a Muslim country then I would not expect them to bow down to my ideals.

    One day gays may win this but the country still sees it the Pro Prop 8 way.

    “Hypothetically take away temple marriage away from Mormons and let’s just see how upset Mormons get.”

    Of course I would be upset, but this would be impossible unless God took it away and I can’t argue with Him nor vandalize His house. O wait the anti prop 8 people already have.

  28. SSM separates the idea of marriage and parenthood, thereby accelerating marital decline.

    Legal principles may be created in order to stigmatize, marginalize, or repress the views of those of us who disagree with the government’s “new views” on marriage and sexual orientation.

    These are the possible consequences of the legalization of SSM, along with the possible loss of the ability to act in accordance with one’s religious beliefs without fear of legal action.

    As for the rights of homosexuals in civil unions, I looked it up in Wikipedia:

    In California where domestic partnership has been available to same-sex couples since 2000, a wholesale revision of the law in 2005 has made it, like the New Jersey civil union law, equivalent to marriage in every respect at the state level, though neither is recognized by the federal government.

    In 2005, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to adopt civil unions in Connecticut. Connecticut’s civil unions are identical to marriage and provide all of the same rights and responsibilities except for the title.

    I understand that not all states afford these same rights, and I have no problem with granting many of the legal benefits of marriage to homosexuals, but to legalize SSM in California only serves to give public legitimacy to it. The passage of Prop. 8 does not impact homosexuals there “AT ALL”. It will not impact the way they live, work, eat, or sleep. It’s about shoving it in our faces and making us eat it!

  29. When gays start killing Christians because they are Christian, then come talk to me about hate crimes.

    Lest we forget, early on a young LDS girl died of AIDS given to her by her gay dentist whose goal was to show the world that “normal” people could get AIDS too.

    She was singled out for being LDS and killed by a gay man for that very purpose, to further a political agenda.

    Asking for examples is foolishness, what we should be asking for is more faith and love.

  30. Gay Activists Use Donor List for Targeted Persecution

    Scott Eckern, 25 year veteran of the Music Circus performing arts theatre in Sacramento has been forced to resign after being targeted by gay activists who used public records to “out” proposition 8 supporters. Eckern donated of his time and means to the tune of 1000.00 of his personal savings to the cause. Though his personal beliefs and efforts on behalf of proposition 8 did not cross into his professional life, he is now being forced to resign his position as his company bows to pressure from the gay community who are looking for revenge in the wake of California’s passage of the gay marriage ban.

    This kind of political bullying is unconscionable. Pleas from the community on behalf of the longtime director fell on deaf ears as the news spread of the pressure for his resignation. A letter campaign in support of Eckern was heart felt, but came too late.

    Who is next? Where is the image of love and tolerance now?

  31. And again the accusation that those who follow the Prophet do so blindly.

    Abraham knew several things when he offered Issac. He knew that God had promised him that through Issac his seed would be blessed. He knew that even if Issac was sacrificed that God could raise him again from the dead. And he knew that God was/is a perfect and loving God who knows all things.

    He wasn’t blind in his obedience at all.

    Any law that is passed is someone’s moral view or for the protection of society.

    I admire that woman. Talk about courage. She has it. And for those who think she was stupid to excersise her freedom of speech in that venue. Shame on you. No one or group should be intimidated into silence.

    We all have the right of peacable assembly. Violence is not okay. Threatening and intimidating is not okay. There should have been police there and the people who ripped her sign and cross from her should be in jail.

    These people have EVERY RIGHT through CIVIL UNIONS that we do through marriage. Nothing whatsoever has been TAKEN from them.