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Hate Crime Bill "Rides" Again

While the nation’s attention was focused on war, natural disaster, and Supreme Court picks, a bill to give special legal protection to homosexuals quietly slipped through the House of Representatives late in September.

Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon,
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While the nation’s attention was focused on war, natural disaster, and Supreme Court picks, a bill to give special legal protection to homosexuals quietly slipped through the House of Representatives late in September.

“There was no advance announcement of this,” said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute. “It passed the House before we were aware of it. Now we’re working hard to make sure it won’t be introduced in the Senate.”

“We had no warning,” said Sam Kastensmidt, with Coral Ridge Ministries’ Reclaim America project.

If enacted into law, Knight said, the bill would do more than just increase penalties for crimes committed against homosexuals. It would also pave the way for “hate speech” laws — and greatly expand the federal government’s power to intervene in local law enforcement.

“This federalizes criminal law,” he said. “By invoking the catchall ‘Commerce Clause’ of the Constitution, it allows federal prosecutors to get involved whenever they think there’s been a hate crime. That’s whenever they think local law enforcement hasn’t done enough.”

The bill is the Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LEEA), a pet project of homosexual-friendly legislators since 1999. Last year it passed the Senate after being attached as a rider to a defense appropriations bill, but failed in the House. This time it’s attached as a rider to the Children’s Safety Act (HR-3132), approved in the House by a narrow margin.

“Our lobbyist has been sitting down with people in the Senate who should be opposing this,” Kastensmidt said. “We’re told it’ll most likely be stripped off the Child Safety Act by a conference committee before the bill goes to the president. That’s what happened last year.”

What’s Wrong with Hate Crime Laws

Hate crime laws “pave the way for suppression of the freedoms of speech, association, and religion,” Knight said in an article.[1] “They violate the concept of equal protection under the law, and they introduce the un-American concept of ‘thought crime’ in which someone’s actions are ‘more’ illegal based on their thoughts and beliefs.

“A grandmother walking down the street should have at least as much protection under the law as someone who is leaving a ‘gay’ bar. But under hate crime laws that include ‘sexual orientation,’ the same assault would be punished with greater penalties if the victim were perceived to be homosexual.”

Knight recalled last year’s “Philadelphia 11” incident, in which Pennsylvania’s hate crime law was used to jail 11 Christians who peacefully protested a city-funded homosexual street fair. A judge dismissed the charges three months later, and several state legislators have since proposed the repeal of “sexual orientation” provisions from the state law.

“I’ve found my name on one of the gay ‘hate speech’ websites,” Kastensmidt said. “That really hit home. As far as they’re concerned, hate speech even includes reporting factual information about health from the [federal] Centers for Disease Control.

“The inevitable outcome of such legislation is to censor the church, as has happened in Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland, and Canada. Yes, we should be alarmed.”

“Hate crime law currently allows the federal government to intervene only in limited circumstances — for instance, a case involving the denial of voting rights,” Knight said. “But this bill opens it all the way up.”

Constitutional law professor Herbert Titus pointed out that the Fourteenth Amendment forbids the states to make or enforce any law that deprives any person of equal protection of the laws. It does not apply to the federal government.

“The whole concept of hate crime goes against the common law,” Titus said. “Motive has never been a part of proving the commission of a crime or convicting a defendant. The whole idea is foreign to the common law.

“If this bill were to become law, you might find a court that says you can’t do that. But it wouldn’t be on grounds of violating equal protection. It’d much more likely be a privacy issue or a First Amendment issue.”

American common law, Titus said, is derived from the Bible.

“The Bible teaches us that law is about whether you do wrong, not if you are wrong. You can’t stop someone from being an adulterer, but you can punish him for committing adultery. Once you abandon that Biblical standard, you’re on your way to totalitarianism.”

What to Do?

“We spoke with someone in Senator Frist’s office [Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist],” Kastensmidt said, “and were told that this bill has not been put on any calendar yet. So there’s time to organize opposition.”

“Call the senators from your state and tell them you want this stopped,” Knight advised citizens. “And call Senator Frist’s office, too, at 877-762-8762 or 202-224-3121 or 202-224-3344. The Senate needs to hear from you.”


[1] http://www.cwfa.org/printerfriendly.asp?id=2575&department=categoryid=papers


Lee Duigon
  • Lee Duigon

Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.

Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.

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