Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama signs 'hate-crimes' bill into law

A "hate crimes" bill opponents claim will be used to crack down on Christian speech, even the reading of the Bible, was signed into law today by President Obama.

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Most Republicans, although normally strong supporters of the U.S. military, opposed the bill because it hands out federal money to states and local governments in pursuit of "preventing" hate crimes. The bill creates federal protections and privileges for homosexuals and other alternative lifestyles but denies those protections to other groups of citizens.

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American Family Association President Tim Wildmon warned that the new law "creates a kind of caste system in law enforcement, where the perverse thing is that people who engage in non-normative sexual behavior will have more legal protection than heterosexuals. This kind of inequality before the law is simply un-American."

Wildmon said the legislation creates possible situations where pastors may be arrested if their sermons on sexuality can be linked in even the remotest way to acts of violence.

"It threatens free speech and freedom of religion and is totally unacceptable," he said.

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The Alliance Defense Fund blasted the "hate-crimes" bill, calling it "another nail in the coffin of the First Amendment."

"All violent crimes are hate crimes, and all crime victims deserve equal justice," ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement. "This law is a grave threat to the First Amendment because it provides special penalties based on what people think, feel, or believe. ADF will be on the front line to defend those whose free speech or free exercise of religion rights are violated by this unconstitutional law and to ultimately overturn this attack on freedom."

Opponents point to cases in Canada and Sweden, where Christians have faced criminal prosecution for preaching that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Stanley said such crimes are already punishable under existing federal, state and local laws.

"Bills of this sort are designed to forward a political agenda and silence critics, not combat actual crime," he said. "The bottom line is that we do not need a law that creates second-class victims in America and that gives the government the opportunity to ignore the First Amendment."

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He said the adoption of hate crimes legislation has led to widespread suppression of speech deemed politically incorrect. The Pacific Justice Institute noted that in California, hate crimes laws are commonly invoked as a basis for further laws pushing acceptance of homosexuality in public schools and the workplace. The group also warned that use of "hate speech" terminology is also now being employed by minority religious groups in America to encourage suppression of free speech, as a prominent Hindu group called on Congress and major Internet service providers to shut down websites critical of Hinduism, including websites of Christian mission organizations.

The Pacific Justice Institute pledged to come to defend anyone who is prosecuted under the new hate crimes law because of their religious expression.

Liberty Counsel litigation counsel Matt Krause told WND, "It's a very sad day for America and for religious liberties in general."

He said the law will not deter crime or help the law-enforcement system.

"The only thing it will do is silence and scare Christians and religious organizations," Krause said. "It will penalize thoughts and actions, and it will not stop crime. It should be called the 'thought-crimes' bill."

He continued, "We encourage pastors and church leaders to keep doing what they're doing and preach the gospel. If they run into any barriers, they can contact us because we are ready and willing to defend them in any way we need to."

The White House announced it will host a reception this evening to commemorate the enactment of the hate crimes legislation. Obama's remarks will be aired live on the White House website.


Exciting, isn't it?

Spencer

2 comments:

olde.fashioned said...

Here we go. *facepalm*

duva said...

And yet again Sweden is dragged up as an example of horror... ;) Yes, there is such a law here, and no, it doesn't prevent free speech (or attack Christianity!).

Sure, everyone is (and should be) equal to the law, that's not what this is about. This is about recognizing that some people are targeted systematically, that some groups are victims of terror. In this case, beating up an homosexual isn't just about beating up an innocent guy on the street, it's also about sending out a signal to all other homosexuals: we hate you, and we'll do the same to you. Therefore you get two acts in one and this law is supposed to counter that.

This post to me looks more like a far-fetched conspiracy theory than anything else, sadly that seems to be true for a lot of things in American politics right now. If you'd just ask people and look at statistics from these horror-countries such as Sweden, you might actually realize that most of the reforms you fear so much have made life a lot better.