The National Prayer Network is promoting a campaign aimed at defeating “hate crimes” proposals
Americans worried about new “hate crime” legislation that could be used to make criminals of those whose religious faith doesn’t endorse homosexuality could be facing a two-pronged attack, according to groups that monitor those developments.
The newest threat is being prepared by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the head of the House Judiciary Committee, whose work is being called “The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007,” according to the Rev. Ted Pike, of the National Prayer Network.
He said a letter to other members of the House was intercepted by Focus on the Family and indicated that it “gives the federal government even more power to create a bias motivation justice system, turning America into a police state.”
Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America and Pike both had alerted their constituencies earlier to H.R. 254, or the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which could create “anti-hate” restrictions and penalties.
Marcavage told WND that plan would invert American justice, and instead of requiring evidence it would leave it to someone who claims to be offended to determine whether a “crime” has been committed.
“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!” Marcavage said.
So there immediately was a flood of calls to Congress with opposition to H.R. 254 and it appeared that the plan might not make it out of committee. In fact, records show it still is pending in the House Judiciary Committee
But Pike is says the danger is far from over.
Rev. Ted Pike, of the National Prayer Network
“I think H.R. 254 may be a decoy, designed to absorb the bulk of protest from Christians and conservatives. Because of massive protest, it may be voted down or set aside in Judiciary soon. But Conyers will then substitute the bill that’s really wanted by the Anti-Defamation league of B’nai B’rith, architect of this legislation,” Pike said.
“Conyers could reintroduce this bill very soon. Since Nancy Pelosi and the House Rules Committee can speed any bill forward for a House vote, even bypassing Judiciary altogether, Conyers and Pelosi could almost immediately put LLEHCPA at the head of the docket and up for a vote in the House,” he said.
Pike said the same plan passed the House in 2005, but not the Senate. This year, “buttressed by a host of co-sponsors and virtually untainted by criticism, it could be sped forward,” he said.
But he said mainstream media has remained virtually silent, and “the vast majority of Americans remain oblivious to the existence of the hate bill in Congress, or how it dangles like the blade of a guillotine over our precious and vulnerable liberty,” Pike said.
“Now more than ever, ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,’” Pike said.
As WND has reported, such laws already have been used around the world, where in Canada pastors are fearful of reading biblical injunctions against homosexuality, and in Australia where two pastors were convicted of “vilifying” Islam.
The H.R. 254 plan, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, is “stealth legislation at its most devious,” Pike said earlier. He said people take a glance, and then say, “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.”
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.
He suggested a visit to StopHateCrimesNow to hear the testimonies of those who have had first-hand 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.
Members who commented on a blog expressed alarm.
“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….”
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.
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