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July 16, 2009 Print

‘Constitutionally Suspect’ Hate-Crimes Legislation Threatens Religious Freedom

by CitizenLink Staff

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Focus on the Family Action released the following statement today in reaction to Congress enacting federal “hate crimes” legislation. The statement is attributable to Federal Issues Analyst Ashley Horne: 
 
“By voting in ‘hate crimes’ legislation under the cover of the Defense Authorization bill, Congress enacted a law that is unnecessary, unjust, constitutionally suspect, and that opens the door for religiously-based prosecutions.
 
“The language of ‘hate crimes’ creates a problematic, preferred-victim ranking system by granting special protection to individuals based on their ‘actual or perceived’ sexual orientation or ‘gender identity.’ This violates the 14th Amendment’s granting of equal protection to all American citizens under the law. 
 
“This law also requires the government to do the impossible and impermissible – look into the minds of its citizens and punish them for their thoughts. After all, states have always prosecuted violent crimes, but what will federalize the crime is the thought behind it. This is simply un-American.
 
“Most chillingly, this measure threatens our precious First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and speech. Would a pastor preaching from the Bible be prosecuted for ‘inducing’ a federal hate crime if one of his listeners was violent towards a self-identified homosexual?
 
“We are appalled that Congress would pass a law that falls short on so many measures and can be used to target those who speak or preach on homosexuality from a biblical perspective.”



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