A “hate crime” is said to have occurred when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a social group defined by religion…sexual orientation…etc. Hate crimes are, therefore, bias motivated. Statistics reveal that religious biased hate crimes account for 18.4% of the total while sexual orientation bias account for 16.6% of the total. The remaining percentage is attributed to racially motivated bias and ethnicity/national origin motivated bias.
The present administration and congress are very pro-active in offering protection to several social groups in an attempt to highlight the problem of and subsequent prevention of such hate crimes. For example, President Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign on October 10th and stated the following:
“My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians – whether in the office or on the battlefield. You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women are just as real and admirable as a relationship between a man and a woman. You will see a nation that’s valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union – a union in which gay Americans are an important part. I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue fighting to achieve them.”
These words were surprising to many inasmuch as the president’s Bible is in clear opposition to the relationships that he is promoting and in fact sanctifying.
Similarly Representative John Conyers recently introduced H.R. 1913 entitled Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act which seeks to strengthen existing hate crime legislation. Conyers states, “The statutes (existing) do not permit federal involvement in a range of cases where crimes are motivated by bias against the victim’s perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity…The federal government must have authority to be involved in investigating and prosecuting these crimes…”
Proponents of such legislation are very zealous and innovative in the pursuit of their agenda. Very recently the inclusion of hate crime legislation was tacked on to a totally separate defense authorization bill. This was done because hate crime proponents felt that such legislation would not pass on its own merits. The bill subsequently passed 234 to 188. It can quickly be noted that this is the approximate ratio of democrats to republicans in the House of Representatives.
Why the opposition by those bearing the conservative label? Simply many interpret such legislation to represent an infringement of free speech.
Representative Mike Pence from Indiana, chairman of the House Republican Conference, stated “…these hate crimes provisions…are broad enough to encompass legitimate beliefs…and protecting the rights of freedom of speech and religion must be first and foremost and paramount on the floor of this chamber.”
His concern seems to be valid, i.e. it has been reported that pastors in Europe and Canada have already been arrested for preaching against homosexuality based on similar legislation. What that means is that if the Bible is considered to be true and Christian leaders and teachers preach or teach the Bible passages that address homosexuality, they face the possibility of being charged with a hate crime. One doesn’t have to actually commit such a crime to be deemed guilty of the crime. If Biblical teaching encourages someone else to commit such a crime; the Christian leader/teacher is implicated. From United States Code Title 18, Section 2: “Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.”
Consider further that in the past several weeks President Obama has co-sponsored UN resolutions that protect radical Islam by stating that negative comments about Islam constitute hate crimes. This is another attempt to appease the Muslim community at the expense of what the president’s own Bible explicitly teaches.
It boils down to the fact that even though this great nation was founded on Christian precepts as contained in the Bible, to teach these precepts to others that may be offended may constitute a hate crime. One of the great freedoms in this nation is free speech as found in the first amendment. That freedom is now under scrutiny and may be quelled.
It appears that “hate” will be directed towards those that speak out about behavior and actions condemned in the Bible because such speech may offend others. Biblical issues such as homosexuality and anti-Biblical religions are now given protected status by our government and it becomes a crime to speak out against these issues because some may be offended. What in the world are we thinking?
Well, should Christians be surprised that Biblical truths and those that proclaim them will be persecuted and hated?
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake…” Matthew 10:22
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many…” Matthew 24:9-11
“…I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist…and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake…” Luke 21:15-17
“Do not marvel…if the world hates you…”
I John 3:13
The question then is twofold, i.e. will political correctness take precedence over the first amendments provision of free speech and will the teaching of Biblical principles be forced to go underground in America, the land of the free?