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Pastors Targeted For Prosecution By New Legislation

April 3, 2009
 - The Traditional Values Coalition calls the re-introduction in Congress of the so-called hate crimes bill a thinly veiled attempt at silencing Christians. TVC warned that it is yet another attack on Christians by this Congress and the next step toward the prosecution of pastors and others by seeking to criminalize speech and thought.

Yesterday, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) quietly introduced HR 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Crimes Prevention Act (LLECPA). TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement on the LLECPA:
  • This so-called hate crime bill will be used to lay the legal foundation and framework to investigate, prosecute and persecute pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions are based upon and reflect the truths found in the Bible.

  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has pointed out that this legislation will be used to intimidate and prosecute pastors who may preach Biblical sermons concerning the homosexual agenda and lifestyle. The legislation broadly defines "intimidation. A pastor's sermon could be considered "hate speech" under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any "sexual orientation." The pastor could be prosecuted for "conspiracy to commit a hate crime." Rep. Gohmert explains this danger in a YouTube video.

  • This legislation is based on exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims of an epidemic of hate against homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgenders. The latest FBI statistics from 2007 show that out of 1,521 victims of sexual orientation bias crimes, only 242 resulted in actual bodily harm. The rest were incidents of intimidation -- name-calling or shoving. This is hardly an epidemic of hate against homosexuals.

  • This hate crime bill defines "sexual orientation" as actual or perceived. This means that all 30 sexual orientations defined by the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV could be considered protected minorities under federal law. Do we really want voyeurists, incestuous fathers, pedophiles or diaper fetishists claiming federal minority status under this law?

  • The real goal of this legislation is to target speech and expression not to help local law enforcement officials deal with crime. The second goal is to criminalize any criticism of bizarre sexual behaviors as "hate speech" or a "hate crime" to be prosecuted by federal officials.
We urge Members of Congress to soundly reject this attack upon free speech and freedom of religion.

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