Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This is an excerpt from an interesting article from


David Ott used to be gay, until he converted to Christianity. While at a gas station in Madison, Wisconsin, he shared his testimony with another man. The other man charged Ott with a "hate crime" because of what he had said.

David Ott was convicted and sentenced to a $10,000 fine and one year in prison. After an expensive legal battle over his sentence, he was ordered to attend "re-education classes" (presumably as an alternative to spending a year in prison). The "re-education" class is at the University of Wisconsin, and is taught by a lesbian.1

(It was fortunate for David Ott that the Federal Hate Crimes bill had not been passed. Otherwise he would have been charged with hate crimes under both the Wisconsin state law and the Federal law. That would probably have resulted in a much longer prison sentence.)

Note that David Ott did not commit any "crime" in the normal meaning of the word. He did not assault the man, or steal from him, or threaten him with a weapon. All he did was to talk with him. The "crime" consists of saying something. So whatever happened to free speech?

The intent of the "re-education" was to get David Ott to think the way that he used to think before he became a Christian and changed his life style. So whatever happened to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience? For Evangelicals, evangelizing is part of their religion, and it includes sharing their testimony.

This particular case happens to involve sexual orientation. However, it could easily have involved other things that are included in the Federal Hate Crimes bill, and in many state hate crimes laws.



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