Part of the FedEx campaign of letters from citizens opposing the “hate crimes” bill.
Hundreds of thousands of letters have been delivered to members of the U.S. Senate in opposition to what critics have dubbed the “Pedophile Protection Act,” but with reports that a vote on the issue is imminent, the hours of opportunity to protest the plan are dwindling quickly.
The campaign to defeat the proposal, also known as the “hate crimes” bill, already has generated some 625,000 individual letters sent by Fed Ex to all 100 U.S. senators.
The effort, organized by WND columnist Janet Porter, who also heads the Faith2Action Christian ministry, permits activists to send individually addressed letters to all 100 senators over their own “signature” for only $10.95.
Here is what the body of the letter says:
“I am writing to urge you to do all in your power to oppose passage of S.909, also known as ‘The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.’
“Passage of this bill by the U.S. Senate would be reckless and irresponsible not only because of the ‘chilling effect’ it would have on First Amendment-guaranteed rights to free speech, but also because it would provide, for the first time ever, special legal protections for pedophiles and other sexual offenders.
“This bill would more appropriately be called ‘The Pedophile Protection Act.’
“The evidence for this extraordinary statement comes directly from debate in the House, when a simple amendment to exempt pedophiles from the protections offered by the bill were rejected.
“I write to warn you that those who support it, or allow it to become the law of the land without a fight, will be held accountable at election time.
“If there was ever a time for the Senate to stand and fight with a filibuster, that time is now. We are calling for members of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike, to stop S. 909.
“Stop ‘The Pedophile Protection Act’ dead in its tracks – now.
“Please respond to me in writing as to whether you intend to oppose this dangerous bill – including by filibuster if necessary.”
There have been several reports that a vote is imminent, and the opportunity will end immediately if that happens. Without an immediate vote, the campaign will conclude at 1 p.m. Eastern Friday.
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.
“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.”
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.
As WND has reported, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would provide special protections to homosexual people but leave Christian ministers open to prosecution should their teachings be linked to any subsequent offense, by anyone, against a homosexual person.
Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said the only chance to defeat the legislation was for a massive outpouring of opposition from the American people.
Part of the FedEx campaign of letters from citizens opposing the “hate crimes” bill.
“If you guys don’t raise enough stink there’s no chance of stopping it,” Gohmert said on a radio program with Porter. “It’s entirely in the hands of your listeners and people across the country. If you guys put up a strong enough fight, that will give backbone enough to the 41 or 42 in the Senate to say we don’t want to have our names on that.”
An analysis by Shawn D. Akers, policy analyst with Liberty Counsel said the proposal, formally known as H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act bill in the House and S. 909 in the Senate, would create new federal penalties against those whose “victims” were chosen based on an “actual or perceived … sexual orientation, gender identity.”
Gohmert warned Porter during the interview that even her introduction of him, and references to the different sexual orientations, could be restricted if the plan becomes law.
“You can’t talk like that once this becomes law,” he said.
He 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.”
He said he fought in committee and in the House to correct some of the failings, including his repeated requests for definitions in the bill for terms such as “sexual orientation.”
Majority Democrats refused, he said. He said that leaves the definition up to a standard definition in the medical field, which includes hundreds of “philias” and “isms” that would be protected.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., a “hate crimes” supporter, confirmed that worry, saying: “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘ism’s’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule…”
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.
But Gohmert pointed out that if an exhibitionist flashes a woman, and she responds by slapping him with her purse, he has probably committed a misdemeanor while she has committed a federal felony hate crime.
“That’s how ludicrous this situation is,” Gohmert said.
Akers’ analysis said the bill would result in the federalization of “virtually every sexual crime in the United States.” And he said it appears to be part of an agenda that would relegate pro-family and traditional marriage advocates into the ranks of “terrorists.” Critics also have expressed alarm because in committee hearings Democrats admitted that a Christian pastor could be prosecuted under the law if he spoke biblically against homosexuality, someone heard the comments and then committed a crime.
“Under [the plan] the speech of a criminal defendant and the mere membership of the defendant in a given group may be used as evidence of his or her biased motive,” Akers said.
During arguments in the House while the plan was being adopted, lawmakers pointed out the representatives were voting for protection for “all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or ‘paraphilias’ listed by the American Psychiatric Association.”
Porter cited the amendment offering from King in committee that was very simple: “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.”
Republicans in the House also attempted to amend the bill to offer hate crimes protection for U.S. military veterans who were attacked because of their service. Democrats unanimously rejected the amendment.
So far, several senators have expressed distrust of the proposal. Sen. James Inhofe said, “I am opposed to any sort of violent offense and believe that a crime motivated by prejudice or hate is particularly reprehensible. However, I think that the provisions in H.R. 1913 and S.909 are unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.”