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US “Hate Crimes” Bill HR 1913 Passed

April 29, 2009

HR 1913 is one that seems to be moving along quickly, so quickly that it may even be voted upon today! If at all possible, please contact your Member of Congress to oppose this bill. You can identify it as bill number HR 1913, which is called the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009” also known simply as the “Hate Crimes” bill.

Here are portions of an alert sent last week (I’m sorry I didn’t get the information to you sooner!) by Family Action of Tennessee.

As soon as tomorrow [April 24], the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives may take up the so-called federal Hate Crimes law, HR1913.

This law is a first step toward making vocal opposition to homosexuality and homosexual marriage (and other controversial issues) a crime. In particular, this bill will give clergy reason to think twice about speaking out on the issue because of an existing federal law, 42 U.S.C Section 2.

Section 2 of current federal law states that whoever “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures [the] commission [of a federal crime], is punishable as a principal.”

In other words, if a person who breaks the hate crimes bill has heard a sermon on homosexuality, you better believe there will be homosexual advocates pushing to have that minister prosecuted for having “counseled” or “induced” the perpetrator to act. Why? Because the minister’s sermon got the perpetrator riled up, “inducing” the hatefulness that caused the crime.

Moreover the law will provide unequal justice to victims because two criminals who commit the same crime will be treated differently because of their motives. The “motivation” for a crime should not result in the victims of the same crime having their perpetrators treated diffently, with one victim getting “more justice” than the other.

Let your Congressman know you are opposed to the legislation. Take action now. Click the link [in the email action alert].

Sincerely,

David Fowler
President
Family Action of Tennessee

Wow, while I’m writing this, the full House is voting on the bill! When I checked the history of the bill (at http://thomas.loc.gov) I saw that it was introduced on April 2. The Judiciary Committee passed it last week (in a close vote of 15-12), then it went through some procedural steps, and today the full House held its debate. In a few minutes the final vote will be announced, so there’s no urgency in contacting Congress after all, but you may still want to write and let your Representative know what you think of that person’s individual vote. (See http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/index.asp.)

Final vote just announced: 249 in favor, 175 opposed. The bill HR 1913 passed.

Here is an article that provides some perspective on the legislation:

Free Speech Concerns Ignored as “Hate Crimes” Bill Passes Fed. Judiciary Committee

by Kathleen Gilbert

A divided House Judiciary Committee [April 23] voted to send a federal “hate crimes” bill to the House, after free speech advocates failed to secure protection for pastors who might preach biblically-based injunctions against homosexual activity.

In a motion almost completely ignored by the mainstream media, the Judiciary Committee voted 15-12 to allow the hotly contested H.R. 1913, known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Act of 2009, to go forward.

The measure would grant the federal government a new authority to prosecute any violent crime anywhere in the country that is perceived to be “motivated by prejudice” against a number of protected characteristics, including “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Christian leaders are particularly concerned that attempts to secure the right to speak against the homosexual lifestyle and its normalization have failed. Among many rejected proposals for the bill was one offered by Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, which would have included a clause ensuring ministers could not be prosecuted for abetting a “hate crime” because they preached the Christian perspective on homosexuality.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the Congressman who introduced the bill, claimed the bill posed no danger to Christian free speech, saying that it “only applies to bias-motivated violent crimes and does not impinge public speech or writing in any way.” Section 10 of H.R. 1913 states: “Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Yet free speech advocates have pointed out that under current U.S. law, any action that “abets, counsels, commands, [or] induces” a perceived “hate crime” shares in the guilt of that crime, and is therefore punishable.

The danger posed by the “hate crime” legislation to Christian ministers was confirmed when Congress considered practically identical legislation in 2007. Then, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., admitted during a hearing on the measure that it could be used to prosecute pastors for preaching the biblical perspective on homosexuality, given the perception that it may have “induced” a later hate crime.

“Just passing the legislation is going to result in pastors saying, ‘I’m not going to address this issue,'” the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jay Sekulow told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

In a Christian Post column Tuesday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins issued a point-by-point explanation of the unprecedented dangers presented by the “hate crimes” bill.

Perkins points out that H.R. 1913 violates the 14th amendment, which provides equal protection under the law, “by protecting some victims more than others.”

“Do we somehow care less about a victim who is violently assaulted because of a robbery or personal dispute than we do about a victim who is assaulted because they belong in a federally protected category?” Perkins asked.

Also, says Perkins, the bill essentially “punishes thoughts and not just actions.”

“Advocates of the bill deny this because it only authorizes prosecution of someone who ‘willfully causes bodily injury’ or ‘attempts to cause bodily injury,'” he said. “But such acts are already crimes under state law. What converts the acts targeted by this bill into a federal offense are the thoughts or opinions of the perpetrator alone.

“Since every violent crime manifests some sort of ‘hate,’ it makes more sense to think of this as a ‘thought crimes’ law.” (To read Perkins’ full column: http://www.christianpost.com/Opinion/Opinions/2009/04/why-co… )

Matt Barber, a lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, commented: “As has proved to be true in both Europe and Canada, this Orwellian piece of legislation is the direct precursor to freedom killing and speech chilling ‘hate speech’ laws.

“It represents a thinly veiled effort to ultimately silence – under penalty of law – morally, medically and biblically based opposition to the homosexual lifestyle,” said Barber.

According to House majority leader Steny Hoyer, the measure is due for consideration by the full House next week.

Source of article:  http://catholicexchange.com/2009/04/28/118055/ which was originally published at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042407.html.

See another article at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042114.html.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jake permalink
    April 30, 2009 2:18 am

    In Luke 17 in the New Testament, Jesus said that one of the big “signs” that will happen shortly before His return to earth as Judge will be a repeat of the “days of Lot” (see Genesis 19 for details). So gays are actually helping to fulfill this same worldwide “sign” (and making the Bible even more believable!) and thus hurrying up the return of the Judge!

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