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Religious zeal* as a charge multiplier

I'm sure I got the legal term for this wrong... but read on, I'll explain
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The simple crime of assault... can be thrown (in book form) a lot of ways. There are, of course, several degrees of assault (ie, 1st, 2nd, 3rd). There's aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, assault & battery, etc. I call each of these add-ons a charge multiplier. No clue what the technical term for them is.

Anywho... I think religious zeal/religious fervor ought to be tossed in there, as well, to discourage acts of religious extremism. These acts would include things like hacking the beards off your fellow Amish folks, involuntary exorcisms, beating your wife or daughter because you believe they aren't pious enough, killing same for the same reason, etc.

So, let's say a Southern Baptist pops a Catholic (or vice versa) in the mouth for saying saying something he considers blasphemous. In addition to a charge of assault in the nth degree, the charge multiplier of 'with religious zeal' would be added to make the charge read 'assault with religious zeal in the nth degree' (or perhaps 'assault in the nth degree with religious zeal'), and would carry a somewhat stiffer penalty than simple assault.

I think this might possibly be redundant with existing hate crime laws, but I dislike the word 'hate' in a legal context, and don't think it's always the right word to describe a person's emotional state at the time the crime was committed. For instance, if you strike a blasphemer because you feel it is a religious imperative that you do so, you aren't doing it because you hate that person or anything about that person. You think you're following orders (Holy orders). But those orders (wrongly perceived though they may be), and your willingness to obey them, need to be dealt with in a manner different than simply losing one's temper as in the case of a simple assault charge. The idea that a divine warrant entitles one to disregard the law of the land, that religious authority trumps legislative authority, needs to be dealt with... differently. Perhaps one possible penalty imposed could include mandatory counseling sessions with a chaplain of your religious denomination, or perhaps even mandatory counseling sessions with chaplains of different denominations or even atheist therapists. Perhaps group therapy in 'zeal management classes' ('righteousness management...'?) Different things could be tried in a study to assess the feasibility of reducing religious extremism in our communities.

*zeal or fervor... not sure which would be more correct in this context.

21 Quest, Feb 04 2014

Militant atheist attacks pastor after sermon http://www.whio.com...h-police-say/nbTxq/
[RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2014]


       What you're describing is a "hate crime" in the same sense that reverse-racism is racism.
FlyingToaster, Feb 04 2014

       Are you quite sure that this idea itself is neither zealous nor fervent? Or does meta-zeal not count?
pertinax, Feb 05 2014

       Absolutely sure.
21 Quest, Feb 05 2014

       ... wait, was that paragraph there before ? and how did I get to be first anno ? I need coffee. Yes, "hate" is a dumb word to use... but "extreme dislike" doesn't sound any better though it's more accurate. "Holy Orders" is a reserved word in RC'ism.
FlyingToaster, Feb 05 2014

       Can we use the name "zealot" for a new class of criminals? Convict, felon, ex-con, zealot, ex-zealot...
the porpoise, Feb 05 2014

       could call it the "Just Following Orders" crime... or "That's Not a Real Excuse"... then you're into territory that, if there isn't a real religious reason (and there never really is), it's an insanity clause.
FlyingToaster, Feb 05 2014

       I do like the idea of rebranding the law and its application so that it is more like a game of Dungeons & Dragons. So, if an aggravating factor is a force multiplier, mitigating circumstances could be a force dissipator or a cloak of -2 harm, or a special defence plea could be a "Shield of Exculpatory Incrimination" for example. I think we should hire 21Q to overhaul the form (but not the content) of our respective legal systems.
calum, Feb 05 2014

       Haven't read the idea but disappointed by the lack of high voltage. Something along the lines of an ultra-orthodox congregation screaming into a Leyden jar?
mitxela, Feb 05 2014

       //if an aggravating factor is a force multiplier, mitigating circumstances could be a force dissipator or a cloak of -2 harm//

       This would work best with a logarithmic legal system.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2014

       Hate Crime is not the right word, agreed.


       "Pre-Hate" crime.

       Meaning, you hated the victim because of biases you had before you knew anything about them.

       Then, the religious pre-hate can fall into the same category as traditional hate crimes.
sophocles, Feb 05 2014

       So, a Marxist, a Randroid and a Catholic walk into a bar. They begin a calm and civilized discussion about the state of the world, but a few beers later they have arrived at irreconcilable differences of opinion on any number of points of profound principle. No-one can quite remember who started it, but a faintly comical three-sided fist fight breaks out.

       The landlady of the Kippers and Croissants can't be doing with this sort of thing, and summons the constable. Charges are laid.

       Now here's the thing; is it right to penalize the Catholic more heavily than the other two, because the principles he was "defending" were in some sense religious, whereas theirs were not?
pertinax, Feb 06 2014

       Absolutely not. As you said, nobody can remember who started it, therefor nobody can say with absolute certainty why they were hitting each other or, indeed, if the Catholic was defending his religion against blasmphemy or himself against assault. if he threw the first punch, and someone caught it on video, then yes. If the Marxist or Randroid struck the Catholic first, they can get brought up on existing hate crime charges. All this supposes, of course, that the parties involved actually wish to press charges. I would like to see a secular version of my proposition, but I'm not sure it's necessary. One thing can be assured of from an atheist: they do not do anything because they feel they have a divine warrant which supercedes the law. They can't blame any 'higher power' for their actions.
21 Quest, Feb 06 2014

       So would this mean that militant atheists like this guy get off scott-free?
RayfordSteele, Feb 06 2014

       Charged with thinking, assault and battery or

       Charged with emotion, assault and battery or

       Charged with ???????, assault and battery.
popbottle, Feb 06 2014

       Next time the local corner street preacher is about, I'm going to dig out my van der graaf generator and test this idea.
the porpoise, Feb 06 2014

       ^ aaand we have the 897th amusing use for a corpse: "Soapbox Van Der Graaff Preacher"
FlyingToaster, Feb 06 2014

       // would this mean that militant atheists like this guy get off scott- free?//

       Well no. If the atheist throws the first punch, he still gets charged with assault in the nth degree in addition to any other applicable charge multipliers/aggravating factors which may apply.

       FT, the 'Holy Orders' bit was a deliberate pun. Regarding your terminology, the 'just following orders' crime, I really like that option for dealing with folks such as soldiers or Mafia hitmen. I'm undecided whether that would be considered a mitigating factor or an aggravating one. There's a good argument to be made either way. I don't like it for religious zealotry because they usually aren't following any actual orders. They're interpreting the text in a book in such a way that they think they're supposed to follow an order that is implied in the text. To find someone guilty of following orders, you have to find someone else guilty for giving the order. Can't really have one without the other, and I don't think our legal system is sufficiently advanced to call God to the stand. Mind you, I support the classification of such zealots as criminally insane, but try declaring in a courtroom that belief in a deity constitutes a cognitive defect, and you'll start a holy war in short order.
21 Quest, Feb 06 2014

       Still seeking my pedants pendant of punditry please allow me to explain, punching is not assault. It is battery. Assault does not involve physical contact, just a credible threat.
bhumphrys, Feb 06 2014

       You're talking logic. Here in my neck of the woods, punches get you assault charges. Occasionally you'll see 'assault and battery', but you never see the 'battery' without the 'assault'.
21 Quest, Feb 06 2014

       // they do not do anything because they feel they have a divine warrant which supercedes the law//

       Bear in mind that both the Marxist and the Randroid do have warrants which supercede the law. The Marxist, as we know, regards the law as an unjust artefact of bourgeois capitalism, and one of the things that a Randroid "Atlas" shrugs off is the obligation to obey laws which are economically "irrational" (i.e., most of them). One of the heroes of "Atlas Shrugged" is a pirate.

       Granted, neither of these warrants is "divine"; but, from a criminal justice point of view, that doesn't really help, (as I think you'd agree, [Quest], given your contemplation of a secular version of the proposition).
pertinax, Feb 07 2014

       It's issues like these that make me glad I'm a heathen.
Alterother, Feb 07 2014


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