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Senators get 705,000-plus letters opposing 'hate crimes'

Part of the FedEx campaign of letters from citizens opposing the “hate crimes” bill.

A special Fed Ex campaign to warn U.S. Senate members of the dangers of the “hate crimes” plan scheduled for a hearing this week dispatched more than 705,000 letters to senators.

But opponents of the proposal say while the letter campaign has concluded, voters still need to be aware of the dangers of the legislation that will be the subject of a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday at 10 a.m.

“The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing entitled ‘ on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building,” the committee’s website announcement confirmed.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who has publicly promoted the bill, S. 909, is listed as the only witness so far.

The letter-writing effort was organized by WND columnist Janet Porter, who also heads the Faith2Action Christian ministry. It allowed citizens to send individually addressed letters to all 100 senators over their own “signature” for only $10.95.

Joseph Farah, WND founder and editor, said, “We don’t know of any campaign in history that can document more letters going to all U.S. senators than this one.

“If somebody knows of one, please tell me. Win or lose, this was a unique effort and certainly won’t be the last of its kind,” he said.

As WND has reported, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would provide special protections to homosexuals, essentially designating them as a “protected class.” However, it would leave Christian ministers open to prosecution should their teachings be linked to any subsequent offense, by anyone, against a homosexual person.

Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention, has said such a law – by definition – requires judges to determine what those accused of crimes were thinking.

Here’s the outline of why Christians are being silenced across America. Get it now!

“This could create a chilling effect on religious speech, connecting innocent expression of religious belief to acts of violence against individuals afforded special protections,” he wrote. “The criminalization of religious speech, such as speech against the practice of homosexuality, has already been seen in other countries with similar hate crimes legislation in place.”

Radio talk icon Rush Limbaugh has warned his audience about the advancing threat of “hate crimes” laws.

“Some people are going to be put in jail for things that they say,” he said. “Hate crime legislation. That’s where they determine what’s in your mind when you commit a crime. That’s when they decide what you were thinking … If you were thinking unapproved thoughts, that would make the crime you committed even worse.”

Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, said the foundational problem with the bill is that it is based on lies: It assumes there’s an epidemic of crimes in the United States – especially actions that cross state lines – that is targeting those alternative sexual lifestyles.

“When you base a law on lies, you’re going to have a bad law,” he said. “This ‘Pedophilia Protection Act,’ a ‘hate crimes’ bill, is based on the representation that there’s a epidemic of crimes based on bias and prejudice. It turns out there are fewer crimes now than there were 10 years ago.”

Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, has described in his book “Speechless, Silencing the Christians,
some of the so-called “hate crimes” incidents that have appeared in headlines in recent years:

The book also describes an episode involving two Christians in Oakland, Calif. They were tired of the Christian-bashing that was routine in the city’s e-mail system and posted an announcement of a meeting for those interested in supporting families. The posting was censored immediately and the employees were accused of “homophobia” and promoting “sexual orientation-based harassment.”

“Sexual harassment
is against the law. It is usually dealt with as a civil matter, but
it can also rise to the level of a crime. In effect, the new policy asserted
that the group’s announcement was promoting an illegal
activity, possibly of a criminal nature. This is a very serious matter. Laws equating the expression of
Christian principles with promoting an illegal act put a terrible
weapon in the hands of secularists who want to silence Christians,” Wildmon wrote.

Further, he agreed with the concerns about thought crimes.

“Under hate crimes laws, our personal expressions, the books
we read, and the friends we have would all become potential evidence
against us. The search for such evidence would allow law
enforcement to investigate and to interpret forms of expression
and association that had previously enjoyed protection under the
First Amendment. Even if there is no prosecution, such investigations
can have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech,” he wrote.

“The government
does not have to jail or fine citizens to intimidate them from
speaking their minds. Under state hate crimes laws and ‘human
rights commissions,’ it’s already happening.
Traverse City, Michigan, placed pro-homosexual rainbow
stickers with the slogan ‘We are Traverse City’ on all municipal
vehicles. While the campaign was meant to counteract hate
crimes, it only exacerbated tensions between traditional-minded
citizens and the homosexual community. When David Leach, a
thirty-year veteran of the Traverse City Police Department, organized
local opposition to the stickers and made public comments
against them, the city’s human rights commission launched
an investigation against him,” Wildmon documented.

Part of the FedEx campaign of letters from citizens opposing the “hate crimes” bill.

Opposition to the plan also is coming from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, whose members have written to both the U.S. House and the Senate arguing the law is not a good idea.

According to political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson writing at Black News, the USCCR told the Senate it should reject the plan.

“It claimed hate crime laws trample on state sovereignty, create a whole new class of victims (i.e. gender and sexual preference victims), and even more bizarrely snatch away the rights of a defendant to get a fair trial in a state court. That means if someone kills, or physically assaults someone because of their race, religion or sexual preference, and they are acquitted or the charges dropped, and the feds step in and prosecute them for a hate attack, it wipes out the notion of a fair trial,” the analyst wrote.

According to the “Corner” blog at National Review Online, the letter was dispatched just days ago, just as the Fed Ex letter campaign was winding up.

“We write today to urge you to vote against the proposed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” the letter said. “We believe that MSHCPA will do little good and a great deal of harm.

“Its most important effect will be to allow federal authorities to re-prosecute a broad category of defendants who have already been acquitted by state juries – as in the Rodney King and Crown Heights cases more than a decade ago,” it continued.

“We regard the broad federalization of crime as a menace to civil liberties. There is no better place to draw the line on that process than with a bill that purports to protect civil rights,” it said.

It was during the amendment process in the U.S. House, where it was approved 249-175, that the bill was dubbed the “Pedophile Protection Act” after Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, offered an amendment reading: “The term sexual orientation as used in this act or any amendments to this act does not include pedophilia.”

But majority Democrats refused to accept it.

“Having reviewed cases as an appellate judge, I know that when the legislature has the chance to include a definition and refuses, then what we look at is the plain meaning of those words,” explained Gohmert. “The plain meaning of sexual orientation is anything to which someone is orientated. That could include exhibitionism, it could include necrophilia (sexual arousal/activity with a corpse) … it could include urophilia (sexual arousal associated with urine), voyeurism. You see someone spying on you changing clothes and you hit them, they’ve committed a misdemeanor, you’ve committed a federal felony under this bill. It is so wrong.”

Sources working with senators opposing the legislation say the letter campaign has shaken up the dynamics of the debate.

“This bill was supposed to sail through the Senate, but it suddenly has become much more controversial as a result of all these letters,” one source said.

President Obama, supported strongly during his campaign by homosexual advocates, appears ready to respond to their desires.

“I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance,” he said.