Being a journalist means being paid to learn new things, which is why being a Pagan journalist finds me learning a whole lot about issues that matter in our overlapping polytheist and Pagan communities. This week, I learned just how hard it can be to get something prosecuted as a hate crime. Dominique Smith feels like a hate-crime victim, but local police aren’t ready to make that call.
I’ve always been a bit skeptical of hate-crime laws because they smack of thoughtcrime, but I thought they were at least an effective tool, albeit a questionable one. The motivation behind these laws is laudable, but now I’m left wondering if they serve any valid purpose at all.