Thought your free speech rights, those given by God and protected by the U.S. Constitution, were assured in the United States?

Well, maybe.

A representative of Barack Obama’s Department of Justice has refused – over and over – to answer a question from a member of Congress about the agency’s dedication to freedom of speech.

It was during this week’s hearing by the House Constitution subcommittee, headed by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., where Tom Perez, of the DOJ’s civil rights office, repeatedly wouldn’t respond to Frank’s question.

In fact, Franks repeated the question four times: “Will you tell us here today simply that this administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion.”

WND has reported on the issue multiple times in the past. The issue primarily revolves around the idea contained in a proposal that has been made many times in the United Nations by the Islamic-led interests there.

The concept is that there should be a “Defamation of Religions” law internationally that would make it criminal to speak negatively about any “religion,” although the proposals always have focused on Islam.

The idea is “nothing more than an effort to achieve special protections for Islam – a move to stifle religious speech,” according to an analysis by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.

The Human Rights First organization has chimed in, saying the idea simply violates fundamental freedom of expression norms.

Tad Stahnke, of Human Rights First, said the concept is “unfortunate for both individuals at risk whose rights will surely be violated under the guise of prohibiting ‘defamation of religions,’ as well as for the standards of international norms on freedom of expression.”

The issue also has been addressed by Carl Moeller, chief of Open Doors USA, in an interview with WND at the time, because of the pending threat to the freedoms in America.

“This is a battle for our basic freedoms,” he warned. “This [U.N. idea] is Orwellian in its deviousness. To use language like the anti-defamation of a religion. It sounds like doublespeak worthy of Orwell’s 1984 because of what it really does.”

He said Muslim nations would use it as an endorsement of their attacks on Christians for statements as simple as their belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ, which Muslims consider an affront.

Worse would be the “chilling” effect on language that the U.N. plan would create worldwide, he said.

“This would be a huge blessing to those who would silence dissidents in their countries, Islamic regimes,” he said. “This stands as a monument to the gullibility of the masses in the United States and other places who don’t see this for what it is.”

See Franks’ questions:

Perez stumbled in responding, then referenced the context of the question. When Franks noted it was not a hard question, Perez responded that, in fact, it was, because “when you make threats…”

“If you have a proposal that you are considering we will actively…,” Perez said.

“Here’s my proposal,” Franks said. “I’m asking you to answer a question. That’s my proposal. I’m proposing you answer this question.”

He wouldn’t.

WND asked the Justice Department for some answers today, and a spokesman refused to respond, and said Perez was not and would not be available.

According to a report in the Daily Caller, the current round of questioning by Franks was prompted by its report from last year on a meeting between Perez and “hardcore Islamists, including Mohamed Magid, the Sudan-born, Saudi-trained head of the Islamic Society of North America.”

The report said Perez expressed a desire for more meetings with Islamists, “even though he had watched while Magid called for legal punishment of people who criticize Islamic texts that all for violence against non-Muslims and for the subordination fo women to men.”

The report continued, “Perez also listened while another Islamist called for the Justice Department to redefine religious free speech as illegal discrimination.”

The Daily Caller quoted Sahar Aziz, who spoke at that October 2011 meeting, saying the DOJ’s “civil rights lawyers are top of the line – I say this with utter honesty – I know they can come up with a way” to classify criticism and discrimination.

The Daily Caller called Perez “one of President Barack Obama’s most aggressive advocates.”

“For example, during an October meeting in Alabama intended to rally opponents to the state’s successful enforcement of immigration laws, Perez suggested that Alabama residents score lower on education tests than poorly educated immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries.”

The report continued, “‘State school performance may decline,’ he said, because ‘some of the [illegal immigrant] kids who are leaving [the state] are some of the highest performing kids,’ he told reporters.”

Trent’s office confirmed today to WND that at last year’s meeting, “Perez reportedly ended the meeting with an enthusiastic closing speech and was quoted as saying, ‘I sat here the entire time, taking notes…I have some very concrete thoughts … in the aftermath of this.'”

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