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"Hate Crimes" Legislation Again Rears Its Ugly Head in Congress

JBS | March 15, 2007
Steven Yates

HR 254, the "David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007" (also known as David's Law), was introduced on Jan. 5 by Sheila Jackson-Lee (D.-Texas) and is presently in committee. It would expand hate crimes protections to homosexuals and require imprisonment and/or fines for anyone who "willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person" or who "willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person."

At first glance, the bill sounds reasonable. Don't we want to punish acts of violence? Of course we do, but HR 254 and all other such Acts propose to prosecute crimes against some more severely than crimes against others—based on what can, in the last analysis, only be a subjective judgment by the victim (and by law enforcement): that the crime was motivated by "hate."

What exactly is "hate," and what is the meaning of the "perceived" in the text quoted above? Moreover, by criminalizing motivation at the federal level, HR 254 will inevitably involve the federal government even more deeply (and unconstitutionally) in local law enforcement.

HR 254 looks suspiciously like a diversionary tactic.

Christian groups are protesting it, may in fact succeed in having it killed in committee, but will then have exhausted their energy and resources. They will begin to relax. At that point, Conyers will slip the LLEHCPA (the formerly Ted Kennedy-sponsored HR 2662, S.1145) back on the agenda.

Such opinions have been expressed by both Michael Mercavage (of the Philadelphia-based Repent America) and Rev. Ted Pike (National Prayer Network). LLEHCPA is essentially the same bill that was passed by the House in 2005 but rejected by the Senate.

It is stronger than HR 254, in that it grants the federal government jurisdiction not just over violent "hate crimes" but over "hate crimes" generally—meaning that, in principle, a homosexual could claim to have suffered damages upon hearing a pastor condemn his lifestyle reading passages from the Bible.

Defenders of the LLEHCPA (e.g., the ACLU) try to reassure us that it contain a provision protecting the free speech already supposedly protected by the Constitution. However, these are the very kinds of bills that have pastors in Canada afraid to cite Scriptural passages condemning homosexual conduct.

Moreover, in Australia two pastors were convicted for "vilifying" Islam. In Sweden, a pastor who called homosexuality a "sin" was jailed for a month under a "hate crimes" law passed there three years ago. In England (as Tom DeWeese observes) two men who used the term "wicked" in reference to Islam were indicted and face seven years in prison.

With the preoccupation at the highest levels of power with the "harmonizing" of laws and standards (e.g., between the U.S., Canada and Mexico through the SPP), we need to take the crackdowns on free speech in other countries seriously.

"Hate crimes" measures—backed by powerful groups such as the ACLU, the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center—are part of the far left's culture war against a free, Constitutional republic based on Christian principles. They propose to punish individuals for their motivations in addition to their actions.

Obviously violent crime against anyone needs to be punished. However, those who criticize or ridicule Christians and Christianity are not subject to penalties for "bias" crimes; nor are attacks on straight white men punishable in the same way "hate crimes" are punishable.

The federal protection of double-standards—which is becoming part and parcel of the globalist agenda—is what makes "hate crimes" laws unacceptable. They undercut the principle of equal treatment under the law.

Mercavage recently warned, "Having been charged under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law for declaring the truth about homosexuality, I can assure you that if this bill is passed and signed into law, it will be used to put Christians behind bars."




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