Arizona Conservatives

Religious Leaders Urged to Oppose Hate-Crimes Bill

Posted By on June 23, 2009

by Steve Jordahl, CitizenLink senior staff writer

‘Please tell your congregation this legislation is about taking away your freedom to speak and preach biblical truth.’

Senate Republicans have called a hearing this Thursday to discuss proposed hate-crimes legislation. The contentious bill would elevate some victims of violent crimes over others.

So-called hate crimes constitute a very small minority of all violent crime, and only a few of those are based on a victim’s sexual orientation. But Democrats in Congress are intent on placating growing discontent in the gay community by pushing through the legislation.

Some are calling the legislation unconstitutional.

“It basically gives the federal government a second bite at the apple,” said Brian Walsh of the Heritage Foundation, who will testify at the hearing. “If a prosecution fails or if federal officials feel that a state prosecution did not charge a tough enough crime or impose a long enough sentence, they can charge it again at the federal level as a federal crime.”

This version of the hate-crimes bill includes special protections for homosexuality and gender identity, although they are very broadly defined. Those who oppose such conduct could be special targets of discrimination.

“It sends a very specific message that if you disapprove of homosexual conduct, you are a hater, that that is a manifestation of hate,” says Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., sent a letter to key leaders in the religious community asking them to oppose the bill.

“Please tell your congregation this legislation is not about ‘hate’ (all violent crimes are hateful); it is about taking away your freedom to speak and preach biblical truth,” DeMint wrote. “It will take away your right to say that some things are wrong. We need millions of Americans to call and email their Senators, especially Democrat Senators who are pushing this legislation.”

Please take a moment to contact your two U.S. senators – even if you’ve done so before – and ask that they vote against the hate-crimes bill.


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