I kid you not...
The Act would, according to the official bill summary, provide greater prosecutorial assistance in pursuing crimes that are "...motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim or is a violation of state, local, or tribal hate crime laws." Pro-family church groups fear the bill will curb their ability to teach hate to their congregation, so they are massing for a protest tomorrow in Washington.
The Christian Post reports:
As the U.S. Senate reviews a bill that many Christians say may threaten their right to express their biblical view on homosexuality, more Christians have been accused of being "homophobic" and threatened with penalties for expressing opposition to homosexuality, leading several concerned Christian groups to stage a protest this week against the bill.
A coalition of pro-family organizations against the Senate bill S. 1105 will take a public stand against the hate crimes legislation by holding a news conference followed by a demonstration on Capitol Hill this coming Wednesday.
Opponents of the bill argue that it is unnecessary because the people the legislation seeks to protect are already covered by other laws. Yet in addition to being redundant, the bill further threatens to censor the free speech of pastors and Christians who, for example, speak out about their biblical views on the sin of homosexuality.[...]
Repent America - a Philadelphia-based evangelistic organization that is an outspoken critic of homosexuality, abortion and evolution - is one of the main organizers of the rally.
"As Christians we do not advocate violence against other people, so that's not an issue," he said. "However, the lawmakers in Washington are attempting to criminalize Christians because of their faith in Jesus Christ and because they choose to speak the truth of God's Word."
The article cites a recent court case as emblematic of the fight pro-family group must undertake against this bill.
Last month, in Oakland, Calif., a case concluded in defeat for pro-family advocates seeking the right to use the phrase "marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values" in public flyers when the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of Oakland administrators to exclude pro-family speech as divisive and hateful.
A group of African-American Christian women working for Oakland's city government had requested permission to distribute the flyers through the city's email system, noting that the "natural family" is the foundation of society in 2002.
Although administrators have allowed homosexual employees to use the system to promote a gay pride rally and similar events, they rejected the Christian flyers as "homophobic" and "disruptive," claiming that it intended to "create a hostile environment," according to the World Congress of Families (WCF) - the international network of pro-family organizations that popularized the expression "natural family."
Their flyers were removed from the municipal bulletin board and the women were warned similar action could result in disciplinary action "up to and including termination."
"Under this standard, interest groups of which the left approves are free to promote their views through a government apparatus," Allen Carlson, international secretary of WCF, said in a statement. "If pro-family forces seek to counter that advocacy, their views are labeled 'hate speech' and accordingly suppressed."
Highlighting fears that the federal hate crimes bills will further encroach on freedom to express religious beliefs, many prominent Christian leaders have publicly criticized the legislations .
"The Hate Crimes Act will be the first step to criminalize our rights as Christians to believe that some behaviors are sinful," Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family Action, said in a message for a petition to oppose the bill.
"Pastors preaching from Scripture on homosexuality could be threatened with persecution and prosecution," he noted.
In finding against the pro-family advocates in Oakland the three-judge appeals expressed the opinion that:
"Public employers are permitted to curtail employee speech as long as their legitimate administrative interests outweigh the employees' interest in freedom of speech."
In addition, the opinion called the city's interference with Rederford and Christy's free speech rights "minimal," and noted that the supervisors had a "more substantial interest in maintaining the efficient operation of their office."
The ruling also upheld the city's policy banning discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation, dismissing claims that it was unconstitutionally vague and over broad.
While the White House has vowed to veto the Act if it reaches the President's desk, this is a battle that must be fought nonetheless, and if it comes to a veto then so be it. We cannot continue to allow those who preach hate to continue unchallenged.
And who is "Repent America"? From their website:
REPENT AMERICA (RA) is an evangelistic organization based in the birthplace of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and desires to be in the full Will of God and to adhere entirely to the teachings of the Bible. We have a passion to serve the Lord and are devoted to reaching the lost, so that they might come unto the knowledge of the truth and be saved.
As Christians, we know that there is a literal hell and a lake of fire where the unsaved will burn for all eternity; therefore, we act upon this truth without reservation and GO OUT into the streets and communities of America declaring the Word of God and proclaiming the Good News.[...]
For so long, as followers of Christ, we have allowed Satan to invade our communities through abortuaries, the entertainment and pornography industries, religious institutions, sexually perverse establishments, homosexual parades and other sin celebrations without a word from the Christian therein. God has called us to "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression..." (Isaiah 58:1)
We must lift up our voice like a trumpet. We must go out into the world and declare the Word of God in front of the abortuaries and sexually perverse establishments, and at the homosexual parades and other sin celebrations, calling "all men every where to repent." (Acts 17:30) Our light must invade the darkness!
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!