Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Two Christians in Australia have been indicted for criticizing Islam, and another for criticizing Zionism. A filmmaker has been threatened with arrest for using the word “homosexual” rather than “gay.” Now a German priest faces jail time for publicly criticizing abortionists, and in Holland, “fornicators” and “adulterers” are protected classes and cannot be criticized.
All courtesy of the concept of federal “hate crimes” legislation, which unless defeated soon could be mandatory in the United States, warns a rising chorus of critics.
“All that matters are the delicate feelings of members of federally protected groups,” said Michael Marcavage, director of RepentAmerica.com “Truth is not allowed as evidence in hate crimes trials. … A homosexual can claim emotional damage from hearing Scripture that describes his lifestyle as an abomination. He can press charges against the pastor or broadcaster who merely reads the Bible in public. The ‘hater’ can be fined thousands of dollars and even imprisoned!”
All this, he noted, to attack incidents that according to the FBI’s 2005 Uniform Crime Report make up on one-fifteenth of 1 percent of all crimes.
The language is in a new proposal pending in Congress, H.R. 254, or the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act. That, according to Rev. Ted Pike, of the National Prayer Network, starts out with a federal police state enforcement of “anti-hate” laws but would, as it has in other parts of the world, “lead inexorably to the end of free speech.”
The plan, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, is “stealth legislation at its most devious,” Pike has written in a campaign to alert people to the potential problems. He said people respond with, “This bill just wants federal power to prosecute bias-motivated violent crimes in the states – what’s wrong with that?”
“There’s plenty wrong with that!” he said. First, the Constitution does not grant federal government the “police state privilege” of being your local law enforcement.
“Unless the government finds evidence of slavery in the states, jury tampering, voter fraud, or crimes involving interstate commerce (where jurisdiction is unclear), the Constitution’s message to the federal government is blunt and emphatic: ‘Butt out of local law enforcement!’”
However, Pike said the authors of the new legislation have been clever, inserting in the proposal assertions that because five states do not have hate laws, the federal government has “no choice” but to “enhance federal enforcement of hate crimes.” That includes new ranks of federal agents to address the “serious national problem” that exists.
Worse yet, there are some key phrases that open doors wide that many people don’t want opened. For example, Pike said, the bill is to “prevent and respond to alleged violations,” meaning “the government does not even have to wait until a hate crime has been committed but may act pre-emptively to ‘prevent’ crime.”
Such cases already have developed in other nations, where the “progressive” effort to “advance” anti-discrimination laws are further down the road, he noted.
Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth, noted that in Canada and France both, legislators have been fined for publicly criticizing homosexuality. Three years ago, a Swedish hate crimes law was used to put Pastor Ake Green, who preached that homosexuality is a sin, in jail for a month.
“And recently, a British couple told how they were denied the chance to adopt because it was determined that their Christian faith might ‘prejudice’ them against a homosexual child put in their care,” LaBarbera added.
Already in the United States, Catholic Charities of Boston halted all adoption operations in the state after being told under Massachusetts’ pro-’gay’ nondiscrimination law, only agencies that placed children in homosexual-led households would get licensed by the state.
Pike said to get around the U.S. Constitution’s demands for certain circumstances to exist before the federal government can intervene, the legislation blatantly adds the statement that hate crimes actually are “slavery.”
“Violence motivated by bias is a relic of slavery that can constitute badges and incidents of slavery,” the proposal proclaims.
Additionally, Pike notes, another “absurd ruse” is that “hate criminals affect interstate commerce, by terrorizing their victims into traveling across state lines – or not.”
“Considering the pervasive influence of interstate commerce upon our lives, how often can the government meddle in local hate crimes enforcement? Any time,” Pike wrote. “In fact, this ridiculous argument could be used to justify federal intervention in a crime of any kind, since any crime victim might be scared into different spending or traveling choices.”
He said America’s justice system requires proof of physical tangible damage before an arrest, but H.R. 254 changes that. “It seeks to establish a different ‘bias motivation’ justice system, which will be defined in courts by judges, as has happened in Canada.”
“Judges will establish legal precedents – precedents that protect groups such as homosexuals not only from physical bias-motivated violence but also from ‘verbal violence,’” Pike warned. “This will include the ‘hate speech’ of Bible-believing evangelical Christians.
“H.R. 254 thus does more than violate states’ rights in law enforcement. It also leads inexorably to an end of free speech!” he wrote.
The plan, being supported by “the powerful Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith” is the seventh attempt to get such legislation turned into law just since 1998, Pike said. The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee, and is a streamlined version of earlier proposals that passed in the U.S. House.
LaBarbera noted that in “post-Christian England,” the government even has set out to prosecute “homophobic” speech.
“It is almost inconceivable that the same country that gave us the rule of law and limited government – and powerfully gifted Christian preachers like George Whitfield who helped shape America – now bows down to the homosexual revolution of organized sin masquerading as ‘civil rights,’” LaBarbera said.
“Is it progress to empower a legal and cultural revolution that criminalizes the common sense idea that society should put the welfare of children first by favoring natural parenting (mom and dad) over an experimental version (dad and male lover) that models perversion to innocent children in their own home?” asked LaBarbera.
He suggested a visit to www.StopHateCrimesNow.com to hear the testimonies of those who have had first-had experience with so-called “hate crimes” laws. A 75-year-old grandmother describes how she was jailed for testifying about the Bible, in the United States.
“Prime Minister Tony Blair unwittingly cut to the nub of how ‘sexual orientation’ laws inevitably destroy religious freedom when he said that Britain’s ‘gay’-inclusive nondiscrimination laws should not exempt Catholic adoption agencies that refuse, for reasons of faith, to place children in homosexual households:” said LaBarbera.
“There is no place in our society for discrimination. That’s why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple. And that way there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering public funded services from regulations that prevent discrimination,” Blair had said.
Jackson-Lee’s proposal states that “the incidence of violence motivated by the actual or perceived … sexual orientation … of the victim poses a serious national problem,” and that “disrupts” communities. Since “existing federal law is inadequate” and “such violence affects interstate commerce” and “violence motivated by bias that is a relic of slavery can constitute badges and incidents of slavery,” the thought police plan is needed.
“This lays the groundwork for the ‘thought police,’” said “onlymom,” while “curveboy” said, “the implications of such a bill would put dissent of the government under hate speech and (offenders could) be arrested and thrown into detention camps… hate bill legislations needs to be dealt with in a fine line. once crossed there won’t be any freedom of speech….”
“Citrine89″ was more terse, “Scary stuff.” And “Mochamoma” said, “Hurt someone’s feelings? Shall we arrest the 6th graders now or later?”
At www.FaithAndFreedom.us a writer warned it was another attempt to “create new special rights for homosexuals.”
And Mary Starrett, communications director for the Constitution Party, said “only strong public outcry and a Republican controlled Congress kept this type of legislation from becoming law” earlier. Now that Republican controlled Congress is gone.
“H.R. 254 would make certain types of speech a federal offense. So-called ‘hate crimes’ legislation is dangerous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the blatant unconstitutionality of such laws. ‘Hate crime’ laws would allow federal ‘thought police’ to interfere in the law enforcement authority of states and localities – something our founders were clear was NOT to be allowed,” she said.
“H.R. 254 would require every state to pass and enforce ‘anti-hate’ laws. It would outlaw stating a ‘bias’ against certain ‘federally protected’ groups such as homosexuals,” she said.
Jim Clymer, national chairman of the party, has warned such legislation “could mean the Bible would be considered ‘hate literature” and preaching from it would be ‘hate speech’ because of references to religious teachings on homosexuality or other behaviors. The Orwellian implications of these types of laws mean Bible-believing Christians could become criminals simply because they spoke out about their beliefs.”
Starrett noted in Canada and some European countries, it already is a crime to use the Internet to criticize “federally protected” groups such as homosexuals and Muslims. “In England, two men who called Islam ‘wicked’ were indicted … and now face seven years in prison.”
“This bill sets the table, and places us on a slippery slope toward religious persecution,” said Matt Barber, CWA’s policy director for cultural issues. “If it becomes law, it can easily be misapplied and used as a hammer against free speech.
“This bill attempts to get into the mind of the offender and penalize him for his thoughts. Are the bill’s proponents going to now lobby for a Federal Department of Thought Enforcement?”
Repent America, some of whose members already have served jail time simply for proclaiming the biblical message, is joining in sounding the alarm.
“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,” said Marcavage.