‘What’s at risk is the ability to preach the Gospel.’ So said Bishop Harry Jackson, standing with other black religious leaders and Republican congressmen at a press conference yesterday.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) led a group of members of Congress and Christian leaders yesterday in denouncing HR 1913, the federal hate crimes legislation that was passed on a straight party line vote out of the House Judiciary Committee late last week.
Jackson, a well-known leader in the black community as Sr. Pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, cautioned that this bill is a threat to religious freedom.
Jackson said, “There has not been sufficient protection for the church. We conclude that this is just bad legislation. It’s aimed in the wrong direction. It’s going to cause at a critical moment in American history a chilling effect on the pulpit where we cannot preach about biblical morality and sexuality. I know that it’s not politically correct to say that certain lifestyles are not condoned by the Bible, but in this day, those who are leaders in the faith community have got to make a choice to be biblically correct instead of politically correct.”
“This is not a partisan political issue,” Jackson concluded. “It is, in fact, a moral issue. It’s tied in to one of the great issues of our day and that is: how free will the church be to preach the word of God?”
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Gohmert, a former judge, warned that this federal hate crimes legislation elevates special classes of protected people over other victims of crime and of its encroachment on issues traditionally handled by the state.
Democrats’ justification for the bill is that there is an epidemic of hate crime and that it is affecting gay people’s right to travel within the United States.
“There is no epidemic,” Gohmert said. “The numbers of self-reported crimes in which the defendant supposedly had or alleged to have had a bias or prejudice are actually fewer in number now than they were 10 years ago. Also, there is no federal nexus; every state has laws that would cover these types of crimes regardless of who you are.”
Democrat proponents of this legislation, intent on political payback for the support they received from radical gay groups, have falsely claimed that there is an urgent need to enact legislation to protect a full array of people based on sexual orientation.
“When we tried to get the term sexual orientation narrowed down to where it didn’t include something like a pedophile - why should they deserve extra special protection - well, that was voted down on party lines,” Gohmert said. “When you look at sexual orientation and you examine the diagnostic statistics manual that sets out all of the medical and psychological conditions and the different names, there are about 30 different types of sexual orientations, and they can include exhibitionism and voyeurism or things that are so offensive such as pedophilia or necrophilia and bestiality. The problem is that the supporters of this bill did not want to exclude any of those and even voted down the amendment that would have excluded pedophilia.”
Gohmert pointed out the absurdity of the legislation as written which would warrant the prosecution of a woman under the federal hate crimes statues if she hits a flasher with her purse after he exposed himself to her. Exhibitionism is a protected sexual orientation under this bill.
“The one who did the flashing committed a local misdemeanor,” Gohmert said. “The one who hit with the purse singled him out because he’s an exhibitionist, and therefore she has now committed a federal hate crime and is looking at felony time.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) warned us to look to history for the examples of two-tiered systems of justice.
“The foundational essence of America is that we are all created equal, and that word ‘created’ is pretty important because it means we are all God’s children,” Franks said. “The danger whenever we elevate one group for special protection over another is that we inevitably in every sense of the word diminish the protection of others in society… the very thing that was behind the ideas centuries and decades ago when we said that the Jew was untermensch in the high tribunal of Germany and we said that the black man was property. When we begin to make distinctions between God’s children we step into very dangerous territory.
"This legislation does exactly that. It not only makes distinctions between God’s children, it also does something that is unique: it criminalizes thought processes, it criminalizes motivations, and whenever we do that, we go and strike at the very heart of freedom itself.”
The Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative warned of the danger to the pulpit of opening this Pandora’s Box: “I believe that the black church knows what is unequal. We don’t need to be taught what is unequal. I am here to represent 34,000 African American churches and preachers around this country and I’m here to protect the divine right to speak the word of God and to not have our sermons censored by the Human Rights Campaign. Fundamentally, here, [Rep. John] Conyers is a good man, I’m a Democrat… but on this issue I prayerfully disagree on the definition of hate. I do not believe that this is the way you pay your political friends back, by muting God’s men and women for preaching the Gospel.”
The hate crimes legislation is expected to reach the House floor today.
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Dems in Disarray on Global Warming Tax; Repubs say “No” to Writing Their Own
Remember all the kerfuffle over the supposed Republican disarray in their opposition to the so-called “cap and trade” global warming tax? Funny how things get misreported.
First, it’s the Dems who are - after a week of flashy hearings - wrapped around their own axles. Many of the Dems, ranging from Old Bull John Dingell of Michigan to Rick Boucher of Virginia, are raising major objections to the bill, which would impose enormous costs on every American. Michigan’s failing auto industry and Virginia’s coal production would be hugely burdened by the global warming tax. These objections are holding up the bill, and may delay it until the fall or even next year.
Republicans - despite the confusion generated by a Politico story last week - aren’t going to offer a substitute. They don’t want to be caught in another “Dem-lite” position.
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told HUMAN EVENTS Editor Jed Babbin that Republicans accept that the climate is changing, but added, “There isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth.” Asked if Republicans would offer a substitute for the Dems’ bill, Blunt said no.
He added that the Democrats’ bill would raise everyone’s electricity bills and make the nation less competitive. “It’s enough to make anyone walk away,” Blunt said.