As has already happened in Western Europe and Canada, and some American states, the US as a nation is now on the verge of passing “hate-crime” legislation. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is set to be voted on in the US House of Reps this week. If passed, it will be bad news for many, especially biblical Christians.
For example, the bill would make crimes committed against homosexuals to be more serious than crimes committed against other people. It would force courts and judges to look not only at the crime, but who it was committed against and why. Since many groups, including Jews, Muslim and Christians, find the homosexual lifestyle to be against their religious beliefs, they will especially be the target of this new law.
The real purpose of such a law is to increase punishment for the thoughts a person may have had while committing a crime. This means such a law is really a thought crimes law. But to increase the punishment for a criminal’s thoughts is really a form of totalitarian thought control. Homosexual activists will list as “hateful,” the sincere religious convictions and Bible-based moral values such as opposition to homosexual behaviour. This is just the beginning of a new wave of anti-Christian bigotry.
Janet Folger, President of Faith2Action, has declared, “This is the most dangerous bill in America”. She warned: “The bottom line is: all crimes are ‘hate crimes’ – not just those against an ‘elite group.’ Here’s an idea – how about we punish actions instead of alleged ‘thoughts?’ And how about we punish them equally no matter who is victimized? Equal justice. What a concept. How hateful and mean spirited – I know.”
She continues, “But it’s not about ‘crime,’ it’s about speech. State ‘Hate Grandma’ legislation has actually thrown grandmas in jail for the ‘crime’ of sharing the Gospel on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia. Meet Arlene Elshinnaway. She told people that God loves them. But the 75-year-old grandma must have been pretty intimidating because they hauled her off to jail.”
James Dobson said this bill “could silence and punish Christians for their moral beliefs. That means that as a Christian – if you read the Bible a certain way with regard to morality – you may be guilty of committing a ‘thought crime’.”
Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family contrasted the hate-crimes measure with the shooting last month at Virginia Tech: “The man who murdered 32 people said in his diatribe he was angry at ‘rich kids.’ And that is not a hate crime under the language of this law. Had he killed transgender people – that would have brought the federal government into it as a violation of the hate-crime law.”
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a ministry to people who are not happy with their same-sex attraction, said he and the people he counsels illustrate the inequity: “This legislation says that we – as former homosexuals – are of less value and worth less legal protection now than when we were living as homosexuals.”
Chuck Colson is also greatly concerned about this legislation. Writing in the May 1, 2007 Breakpoint commentary, he says, “In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, the government Thought Police constantly spies on citizens to make sure they are not thinking rebellious thoughts. Thought crimes are severely punished by Big Brother. 1984 was intended as a warning against totalitarian governments that enslave and control their citizens. Never have we needed this warning more urgently than now, because America’s Thought Police are knocking on your door.”
He continues, “Some say we need this law to prevent attacks on homosexuals. But we already have laws against assaults on people and property. Moreover, according to the FBI, crimes against homosexuals in the United States have dropped dramatically in recent years. In 2005, out of 863,000 cases of aggravated assault, just 177 cases were crimes of bias against homosexuals – far less than even 1 percent.”
Hate crimes elsewhere have really been attacks on freedom of speech – especially Christian speech. “Another problem is that in places where hate crimes laws have been passed, hate crimes have been defined to include verbal attacks – and even peaceful speech. The Thought Police have already prosecuted Christians under hate crimes laws in England, Sweden, Canada, and even in some places in the United States.”
The threat of all this is very real. “If this dangerous law passes, pastors who preach sermons giving the biblical view of homosexuality could be prosecuted. Christian businessmen who refuse to print pro-gay literature could be prosecuted. Groups like Exodus International, which offer therapy to those with unwanted same-sex attraction, could be shut down. In classic 1984 fashion, peaceful speech will be redefined as a violent attack worthy of punishment.”
Concludes Colson: “Clearly, the intent of this law is not to prevent crime, but to shut down freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of thought. Its passage would strike at the very heart of our democracy.”
Exactly. And Australia is not immune. Most know about Victoria’s hate crime legislation which has resulted in two Christian pastors wasting 5 years of their lives and over a half million dollars defending themselves from this outrageous legislation.
And if Labor wins the Federal election later this year, there will be more such legislation on the federal level. Indeed, in 2003 the then Federal Shadow Attorney General Robert McClelland (Labor) introduced a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. And in 2004 Nicola Roxon, who took over that role, suggested the same. Thus we need to continue to sound the alarm about these totalitarian hate crime laws, before we all end up as political prisoners.