Reasons to Oppose S.909 “Hate Crimes” Bill
Rev. Rusty Thomas 5/11/2009
Reasons to Oppose S. 909 Hate Crimes Bill
It is unconstitutional. The bill, if passed, would violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection under the law provision. Local and state prosecutors would receive more federal assistance in pursuing a case against a homosexual victim, for instance, than victims of other similar crimes.
During the debate of the House version HR 1913 this crucial point was established. Rep. Jim Jordan attempted to add the unborn to the list of protected persons. Other representatives sought to add military personnel and law enforcement officers. All these additions were rejected, clearly revealing that some Americans would be considered more valuable and worthy of protection under the law than other American citizens.
S. 909 would move our government into the dangerous realm of "thought crime." The actual language states, "The incidence of violence motivated by perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem." It is the term "perceived" as it pertains to sexual orientation or gender identity that is especially troublesome.
If a local prosecutor becomes aware that the assailant was opposed to homosexuality, he could say that the attacker's "perception" contributed to the motivation for the attack. Once he makes that assertion, he can appeal for special prosecutorial involvement from the federal government.
Thomas Jefferson declared, "The legislative powers of government reach to actions only--not to opinions." On this basis alone, S. 909 should be rejected by the Senate. It clearly includes opinions, thoughts, and beliefs in the punishment of the act.
However, in recent history, there is ample evidence based upon "hate crimes" bills passed in other nations that a Christian's freedom of speech and religion will be jeopardized. There are reports of Christian ministers suffering fines, jail, public humiliation, or other threats of censorship for simply preaching God's word and his warning against sexual immorality.
Cases in point:
Canada passed "hate crimes" legislation and a Canadian human rights tribunal ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality.
Pastor, Ake Green, received a one-month jail sentence under a Swedish "hate crimes" law that forbids criticism of those who participate in homosexual behavior.
Pastor Danny Nalliah, of Catch the Fire Ministries, was prosecuted under hate crimes laws in Australia .
On Sunday, October 10, 2004, eleven Christians with the Philadelphia-based Repent America ministry were arrested, jailed, and charged under "hate crimes" legislation during an evangelistic outreach. This travesty of justice occurred at the annual "Outfest" homosexual pride event held in Philadelphia . Incredibly, these gentle Christians faced a 47 year sentence in prison for merely preaching the Gospel on a public sidewalk in Philadelphia , the birth place of American freedom.
S. 909 is unnecessary. There already exists laws on the book books against violent crime. If anyone dares assault someone based upon their sexual orientation, they would not escape punishment. Local and state law are sufficient to protect a person's life, liberty, and property. Additional federal entanglement merely increases the threat of centralized government interfering with the sovereignty of the states and thwarting the will of the people.
Besides, the actual rate of "hate crimes" against homosexuals is so infinitesimal in comparison to America 's population, it does not warrant such draconian measures. There are approximately 296,000,000 American citizens in the United States . Out of this number, there were 1,265 reported cases of a "hate crime" based upon sexual orientation. There were 890 male victims and 197 female victims. Though all criminal activity should be condemned and compassion for the victim extended, the real issue is based upon these numbers. Should America forfeit its freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion to establish sexual orientation as a federally protected class?
To understand more fully the numerical insignificance, Don Feder states, "The FBI Uniform Crime Reports, in 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 16,929 murders and 855,856 cases of aggravated assault in the United States .
By comparison, there were 7,624 'hate-crime' incidents, involving 9,006 victims. Moreover, of all hate crimes, 32.4 percent were property crimes, such as vandalism.
Of 'crimes against persons,' 47.4 percent were intimidation - in other words, words alone - and 31.1 percent were simple assault, where no weapon was involved and there was no serious injury. This would include pushing or almost any other physical contact. And so, the vast majority of hate crimes affecting persons (roughly 78 percent) involved only words or an assault in which there was no serious injury or weapon involved.
Of the rest, 20.6 percent were characterized as aggravated assault, defined by the FBI as 'an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.'
Rounding out the 'hate-crime' statistics, 0.2 percent (2/10ths of 1 percent) of hate crimes involved murders or forcible rape-of which there were 9 murders that year.
To put Senator Kennedy's alleged epidemic in perspective, of all aggravated assaults in 2007, it's estimated that .0013 percent (roughly 1/100th of 1 percent) were hate crimes. Of murders, .00053 percent (roughly 5/1000th of 1 percent) were 'hate crimes.'"
The original language of S. 909 purposely exaggerated the threat to perpetuate "government by emergency" propaganda. For example, the document reads, "Such violence substantially affects interstate commerce in many ways, including:
(A) by impeding the movement of members of targeted groups and forcing such members to move across State lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence; and
(B) by preventing members of targeted groups from purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or participating in other commercial activity."
There is absolutely no credible evidence to support such an outrageous claim. It is patently absurd.
Lastly, during the debate in the house version, H.R. 1913, a disturbing incident took place. When an amendment to exclude pedophiles from special legal protections, was offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, the Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee rejected it.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Florida, admitted from the House Floor that the latest "hate crimes" bill put 547 acts of sexual deviancies compiled by the American Psychiatric Association, which he referred to as "all of these 'philias' and fetishes and 'isms'" on the same level of elevated protection as "race ... religion ... gender ... or disability."
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a former appellate judge on the House committee, clarified further: "...We just rejected an amendment to including pedophilia from being a part of this protected class. Do you realize what that means?"
Apparently the House did not care "what that means?" Will the Senate understand "what that means," if they pass S. 909? It behooves all of us to make sure the Senate does know "what that means" and rejects the "The Pedophile Protection Act" of 2009.
Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas
Operation Save America