"Hate Crimes" Bill Moving to Full House; Seen as Effort to Silence Christians on Homosexuality
From Cybercast News Service:
(CNSNews.com) - The House Judiciary Committee passed a "hate crimes" bill Wednesday night, all 23 Democrats in favor, all 17 Republicans opposed. Every Republican attempt to amend the bill was defeated. Critics call it a "thought crimes" bill.See also "Hate Crimes Law Could Muzzle Free Speech, Critics Fear (April 18, 2007)"
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592) would expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include violence against a person because of his or her "actual or perceived" sexual orientation or "gender identity."
Under the bill, people who attack others out of "hatred" for their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability would be committing a federal offense.
The bill is now headed to the full House for a vote, probably next week.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) proposed an amendment protecting freedom of religion: "Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution," the amendment read, but that, too, was defeated.
Conservatives, including Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.), worry that religious leaders who denounce homosexuality as a sin may be charged with incitement under the legislation.
"By refusing to accept this amendment the Democrats on this committee have proven their purpose, to remove freedom of religion from the U.S. Constitution," said Sheldon.
"It is evident what HR 1592 is about," Sheldon added.
"It is not about homosexuals and cross dressers suffering with no food, shelter or jobs, it is about preventing Bible-believing people and pastors from speaking the truth. It is about punishing them so they will not dare to speak the truth. It is about threatening them with prison so they won't dare speak the truth."