“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, if we could follow these three tenants of what God asks of us, there would be no need for Hate Crime Legislation. But alas, we make it so hard. We must identify who actually needs justice, identifying the groups of people who are marginalized and oppressed. We need it, dear legislators, I’m talking to YOU! Obviously, it is not enough to say, “Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly,” it needs explaining, surely you see this. We need laws that make it crystal clear that the attack on one person or more, because of ethnicity, race, political, socioeconomic class, sexuality, is not just an attack at the moment or incident, but it is aimed at a whole group of people who identify with the victim. In some cases, the act of a hate crime is actually celebrated by other groups who hold the same bias. 

Hate Crime legislation that identifies bias serves a purpose in sending a solid message to our society and hate filled communities, that “hate” against a group is a criminal act. 

"You could have freedom of speech to rant all you like amongst your peers, but if you then violated someone else’s rights because of that hate, then 'Hate Crime laws' are very clear that this was a very bad thing, and that extra punishment would be awarded for following such passions/planning. It is hoped that through removal of celebration, and recognition of the criminal anti-social act, that eventually serious hate crime will be removed from society - and that such social pressures will find better ways of resolving the real issues rather than just take the sickening anger and frustration and fear out on innocent (and often really nice and decent) people (because the most stupid part of hate crimes, is even when the hate might be justified, it is never the real justified target that bears the damage of the attack).” -Carl De Malch

My faith community, Roots of Life, has a theme song titled “We are Called” (ELW 720). The words are theologically in tune with Micah 6:8. It is my hope that the words we sing and the meditations of our hearts, along with the melody of justice and love help us to be witnesses to the reason why we call out our love for those who need safe haven.

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com