House Passes Hate Crimes Bill

by | Apr 30, 2009 | Charisma Archive

April 30, 2009 — A federal hate crimes bill that some Christian leaders fear will criminalize preaching against homosexuality passed in the U.S. House Wednesday by a 249-175 vote.

H.R. 1913, or the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, adds sexual orientation, gender and gender identity to the list of classes protected under federal hate crimes law. Currently, race, religion, color and national origin are the only protected classes. The House bill would also provide federal assistance to states and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.

Groups such as the American Family Association and Focus on the Family Action already are urging action against the Senate version of the bill, which Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., introduced on Tuesday.

While condemning violence against homosexuals, Christian leaders said the hate crimes bill would inhibit pastors from condemning homosexual behavior. They point to hate crime laws in England, Sweden and Canada, where Christians have been prosecuted for calling homosexuality sinful.

“Ultimately, a pastor’s sermon concerning religious beliefs and teachings on homosexuality and gender-confused behaviors could be considered to cause violence and will be punished or at least investigated,” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), said in an e-mail alert issued while the bill was still being considered by the House Judiciary Committee.

“Once the legal framework is in place, political pressure will be placed on prosecutors to investigate pastors or other religious leaders who quote the Bible or express their long-held beliefs on the morality and appropriateness of homosexuality and other sexual behaviors,” she added.

Although bill supporters said the measure criminalizes only violence against homosexuals, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who opposed the measure, agreed that the legislation could infringe on religious freedom.

This unconstitutional bill aims to protect new classes of people based on ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation,'” King said in a statement before the vote. “These are classifications of people that are based on their inner feelings-their thoughts. Punishing ‘thought crimes’ will infringe on freedom of speech and religious expression, rights endowed to all Americans in the Constitution.”

TVC and other pro-family groups urged Christians to call their representatives and lobby against the bill. However, several conservative Christian leaders on Wednesday announced their support for the bill, saying it was moral and necessary.

I would think that the followers of Jesus would be first in line to protect any group from hate crimes,” said Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, who is on the 25-member advisory council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “He was the one who intervened against religious violence aimed at the woman caught in the act of adultery. He protected her while not condoning her behavior. This bill protects both the rights of conservative religious people to voice passionately their interpretations of their Scriptures and protects their fellow citizens from physical attack. I strongly endorse this bill.”

Hunter’s view was echoed by Christian leaders such as David P. Gushee, professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University; the Rev. Derrick Harkins, pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; and Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a Christian social justice organization.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Read Time: 3 Minutes 18 Seconds Looking around my hometown of Los Angeles, my heart soars with gratitude. My home is safe, my bills are paid and I was fortunate to be able to serve my family an ample Thanksgiving meal. And yet, I am fully aware that hundreds of...

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be resilient in turbulent times. One of the most powerful things you can...

I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

Read Time: 3 Minutes 27 Seconds You may have heard about the controversy that erupted in Cambridge, England, this past Sunday at Trinity College. The preacher, Joshua Heath, a junior research fellow who has a Ph.D. in theology, offered a sermon in which he suggested...

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 4 Minutes 48 Seconds At a recent gathering where a person was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you; turn and see. Embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Read Time: 2 Minutes 7 Seconds We can walk with God and come into unity with Him by clothing ourselves in His nature. This will require that we restrict and control the desires of the flesh by putting our focus on obtaining the very substance and characteristics of...

Jonathan Cahn: How the Great Seduction Overwhelmed America

Jonathan Cahn: How the Great Seduction Overwhelmed America

Read Time: 7 Minutes, 16 Seconds Is it possible that ancient entities known as "the gods" have returned to our world? If so, who are these gods? And could they be the hidden agents transforming modern culture? Is it possible that in the mythologies of the ancient...

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

Read Time: 3 Minutes 6 Seconds I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent. When I was little, we put up a tree, got presents and had a Christmas Eve service. It seemed to me that most grown-ups were stressed over Christmas and thankful when it was all over. It wasn’t until...

RECENT ARTICLES

How To Be Hilariously Happy in Your Giving

Read Time: 4 Minutes 17 Seconds The day after Thanksgiving is culturally called Black Friday, in the U.S. It marks the beginning of retail sales that could ensure a successful and profitable...
Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am About to Redeem the Times’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am About to Redeem the Times’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 39 Seconds In corporate prayer the other day, I was in place of deep prayer and intercession when I heard in my spirit, "Redeem the times." As I continued to pray, I just kept hearing "Redeem the times" echo in my spirit. Then the Lord said, "I am...

Pin It on Pinterest