Should Michigan citizens be put into a Michigan run hate and bias database which will record incidents that don’t rise to the level of a crime but they believe are part of a group that expose’s hate?

Michigan Attorney General and Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu believe so.

I cannot believe that I even have to report about this.  Why would anyone believe there should be a state run database of people and groups that the Attorney General believes are part of a hate group that committed no crimes or advocated for any such crimes to occur?

The Detroit News is reporting that Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel announced plans for a hate crimes unit in her office that will house this database. This hate crime unit will include a minimum of one prosecuting attorney and one full-time investigator. The AG’s spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney stated this new unit will fight against hate crimes and review any groups identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The AG’s spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney was quoted in the article stating:

While the SPLC is a good place to start when investigating these issues, we will rely on our independent research and not just the SPLC designation.

My thought is who cares who list people and groups as hate groups or does their own independent research, if the person or group never committed a hate crime or advocated for others to commit hate crimes they do not deserve to be put on a list or in a database.

Have these people never heard of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment, let me remind them.  The First Amendment of the Constitution is as follows:

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

I am surprised that Michigan’s AG, who is a lawyer, did not know or understand what the First Amendment means.  It is called “Free Speech”.

Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu was quoted in the article regarding the SPLC’s hate list:

These groups range in the ideological extremes from anti-Muslim, to anti-LGBT to black nationalist and white nationalists…Particularly of concern, over one half of the identified groups are located east of US-23 between Flint and Ann Arbor.

The problem I have with this database is the SPLC will list you as a hate group even if you or your group has never committed a hate crime or advocated for anyone else to commit a hate crime.  The SPLC will list you as a hate group solely on what you have the audacity to say.  Is this the type of country you want to live in?

As an example the SPCL listed a group in Ferndale Michigan on their list because they believe that marriage should be between and man and a women.  The group is called Church Militant/St. Michael’s Media and is listed SPLC as an “anti-LGBT” hate group.

The group's editor-in-chief, Christine Niles was quoted in the article stating:

We’re not entirely sure what that means…We have a right to believe that without being called a hate group.

Let me give you another example, Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu spoke about an incident in Lansing over President’s Day weekend.  He stated a group of people, who they believe came from a group called Patriot Front, where handing out fliers which stated “Keep America American”.  In these fliers they encouraged anyone to “report any and all illegal aliens.” The fliers also included a phone number for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and their website.  The SPLC has labeled the Patriot Front as a white nationalist group.

In a statement the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu said:

It is disappointing to see groups like Patriot Front targeting diverse areas like Lansing's Old Town district. But know this, we are watching and we won't allow hate to divide us

“We are watching you”, interesting choice of words.

I would agree if people or a group committed “hate” crimes or advocated for others to commit “hate” crimes then fine list them in a database and watch them.  If people or a group did not committed “hate” crimes or advocated for others to commit “hate” crimes then they should not be listed in a state database.

This is a direct attack against free speech and expression.  If you advocate for this type of database realize the next AG of Michigan might believe what you say or express is considered hate speech and now you are listed in Michigan’s hate and bias database.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595