Comments on bill H.R. 1592 law by
social and religious conservatives
Who is protected under the bill according to the bill's text:
An existing hate-crime law protects people from assault and other serious
crimes on the basis of their race, nationality, and religion. But it is only applicable in
certain restricted cases.
The proposed bill would extend existing federal hate-crime legislation by
adding seven additional protected groups:
heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals under the classification
transsexuals under the classification "gender identity;"
men and women under the classification "gender;" and
In addition, the law would apply to a much greater range of common assaults,
aggravated assaults, attempted murders, and other hate-crimes.
Who is protected under the bill according to religious and social
We have collected twelve quotations opposed to the bill by social and
religious conservatives. Although we did not select these quotations according
to topic, it is important to realize that they identified the following specific
groups who would be protected against hate crimes under this bill:
Heterosexuals: 0 references
The disabled: 0
Some of the quotations also mentioned "drag queens" and "cross-dressers"
-- two groups who are almost exclusively men who dress up as women. Drag queens are usually male performers who typically "...
dress in 'drag,' clothing associated with the female gender, usually highly
exaggerated versions thereof." 1
Transvestites are generally men who are sexually aroused when dressed as women.
Neither generally have a gender identity that differs from their biological sex.
They would not normally be covered under the proposed legislation unless they
also happened to be transsexuals.
We have been unable to find a statement by a social or religious conservative
who mentioned gender and the disabled as protected classes
except for GrassTopsUSA.com quote which correctly referred to "sexual
orientation, gender identity, gender and disability." Otherwise, the
statements seemed obsessed with the inclusion of sexual orientation in the bill,
and in particular the protection of homosexuals.
People for the American Way, (PFAW) a liberal advocacy group, has
criticized the opposition by social and religious conservatives against this
hate-crime bill. Ralph G. Neas of PFAW wrote:
"The campaign is, of course, dishonest to the core. But it is part of a
larger strategy that has been politically and financially useful to
Religious Right leaders over the years. They tell millions of Americans,
week after week, that gay rights advocates are out to silence conservative
Christians, criminalize the reading of the Bible, and force people to choose
between their faith and public service. It's not true. But it serves the
radical right's political goals: it is easier to convince Americans to
support discrimination -- even to oppose laws designed to discourage violent
hate crimes -- if you have first convinced them that their gay neighbors want
to shut down their church and throw their pastor in jail for reading the
Twelve quotations taken from the Internet:
Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition
"Under the cover of fighting so-called 'hate crimes,' H.R. 1592
will be used to fund anti-Christian, pro-homosexual/drag queen
materials for children -- and divert scarce federal resources away
from fighting Islamic terrorism." 2
Later, he wrote that the bill would:
"... be used to establish a legal foundation and framework that will eventually be used to investigate, persecute and
prosecute YOU, pastors, business owners and anyone whose actions are based upon the truths found in the
Rick Scarborough of Vision America authored a statement titled: "Liberals
in Congress move to criminalize Christianity." It states, in
"... a hearing will be held on one of the most dangerous
pieces of legislation ever to come before Congress -- H.R. 1592 ...
Under the guise of combating a manufactured crisis - attacks on
homosexuals - this bill would criminalize Christianity. Mark my words,
if it becomes law, pastors and laymen could be prosecuted just for
"Believe me, if this bill becomes law, radical homosexuals and their
allies will have achieved their goal of legislating a weapon to wield
against anyone who dares to call their behavior sinful or disagree with
their agenda. And wield it they will! Those who dare to speak out for
marriage, morality and the family will find themselves tied up in
litigation, fined - or imprisoned! In a nation founded on Godly values,
that must not be allowed to happen." 4
Janet Folger president of Faith2Action is quoted as saying:
"The 'Hate Crimes' bill is better named 'Hate Grandma' or "hate Free
Speech' bill as it poses a serious threat to the freedom of speech for
every American. We must stop it before they send your grandma, your
pastor, or you to jail for sharing your faith or speaking the truth
about an agenda that seeks to silence us."
The GrassTopsUSA.com web site states:
"The radical homosexual lobby has finally
gotten what it ordered: a bill that, if passed, would pave the way for
the criminalization of thoughts, values and sincerely held religious
beliefs. H.R. 1592 -- and a companion bill that will soon be introduced
in the Senate -- will empower the federal government to prosecute
so-called 'hate-crimes' based on a person's 'sexual orientation, gender
identity, gender and disability'. If this bill becomes law, if we, as a
society, can effectively make a criminal act 'more of a crime' because
of the motivations of the perpetrator, is the day too far behind us when
politically incorrect thought will be criminalized as well? Many
conservatives are fed up with elected officials who kowtow to the
radical left. This bill is a shameless covert attempt to attack
traditional values and orthodox Christianity. Please do everything in
your power to defeat it. If you don't succeed, you will have a lot of
people asking you tough questions you won't want to answer." 6
The website of Concerned Women for America stated:
"Deceptive legislation which would give special privileges and
protection to homosexuals and cross-dressers has been introduced in the
House by Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). ... H.R. 1592 is a dangerous
bill that would treat homosexuals as a more valuable class of citizens
and threaten the constitutional rights of Americans."
"Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America's (CWA) Policy Director for
Cultural Issues, said, 'H.R. 1592 represents a clear and present danger
to our first liberties (freedom of speech, religion and association).
'Hate crimes' laws place us on a slippery slope toward religious
persecution. These laws are already being employed as a tool in Brazil,
Europe, Canada -- and even right here in America -- to intimidate and
silence people who honor natural human sexuality, and who value the
sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman. If you speak out
against homosexual behavior, then you are somehow guilty of 'hate
speech' under the entirely subjective application of similar 'hate
crimes laws'." 7
Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily wrote:
"A fast-tracked congressional plan to add
special protections for homosexuals to federal law would turn "thoughts,
feelings, and beliefs" into criminal offenses and put Christians in the
bull's-eye, according to opponents."
Glen Lavy of the Alliance Defense fund wrote:
"H.R. 1592 is a discriminatory measure that
criminalizes thoughts, feelings, and beliefs [and] has the potential of
interfering with religious liberty and freedom of speech. As James
Jacobs and Kimberly Potter observed in 'Hate Crimes, Criminal Law, and
Identity Politics,' 'It would appear that the only additional purpose
[for enhancing punishment of bias crimes] is to provide extra punishment
based on the offender's politically incorrect opinions and viewpoints."
Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High
Impact Leadership Coalition, said the plan, is no more than:
"... a surreptitious attempt by some in
Congress to strip the nation of religious freedom and the ability to
preach the gospel from our church pulpits. It will stamp all over our
doctrine and practice of our faith. We believe what the Bible says. If
you start there we've got a major problem."
He also said that the law would unfairly
restrict the expression of fair opinion by Christians:
"If anything, gays are getting undue
deference awarded to them by the courts. That's why we have the same-sex
marriage fight and that kind of thing. ... As an African American, I
have long questioned the attempts of the homosexual community to piggy
back on the legislative breakthroughs blacks have achieved in civil
rights. This legislation will not just over-protect homosexuals, it will
bring the threat of invasive, governmental interference with the
doctrines and practice of the Church. As some homosexual activists
chant, 'Stay out of our bedrooms,' we are here to say, 'Stay out of our
In a column titled: "Pastors: Act now or
prepare for jail," Janet Folger of Faith2Action wrote:
"I've already told you about how H.R. 1592 will
destroy equal justice (setting up a victim hierarchy), set up a Gay
Gestapo with unlimited funds and send grandma to jail for sharing her
faith on the public sidewalk, as happened in Philadelphia. But what you
may not know is how this bill scheduled for a vote in the House this
week will come after pastors and all those who disagree with the
homosexual agenda out loud. H.R. 1592 the so-called 'hate crimes' bill
isn't about hate. It isn't about 'crimes' (there are already stiff
penalties against crimes); it's about speech."
Michael Marcavage of Repent America wrote:
"H.R. 1592 is an unnecessary,
unconstitutional, and un-American bill, which, with the aid of
homosexual-friendly prosecutors, will be used to criminalize Christians
for their thoughts, beliefs, and speech. The silence of the American
church, together with the unrelenting rage of the ungodly, will soon
result in the widespread incarceration of true believers. ... Christians
must diligently work to revive our liberties by working to stop the
homosexual agenda and its allies from pulling the plug. Otherwise,
preparations should be made for the funeral, but this time without the
Concerned Women for America issued a second alert:
" 'Hate crimes' bill H.R. 1592, which is on the fast track to passage
in Congress, will officially give homosexuals and cross dressers special
elevated status in society based upon their chosen sexual behaviors
and/or wardrobe. Under H.R. 1592, the victims at Virginia Tech would
officially be considered less valuable to society than homosexuals and
cross dressers who are the targets of insults, intimidation, simple
assault or other 'violent acts'."
"Concerned Women for America (CWA) asks Congress to grant equal
government resources, concern and respect to the victims at Virginia
Tech and their families as they do to the demands of liberal homosexual
activists by reaffirming the precepts of the 14th Amendment and voting
NO on this dangerous and discriminatory piece of legislation." 11
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, said:
"What makes America great is its tolerance for a diversity of
viewpoints-even viewpoints we may not agree with. HR 1529 is a
smokescreen for stifling dissent on important issues of national debate
such as sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. This so-called
'hate crime' legislation begins to lay the legal foundation and
framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors,
business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith-as
has already been starkly demonstrated in California, Canada, Europe and
Australia. More than ever before, our society needs to heed voices of
conscience-not haul them into court."
People for the American Way published an
additional group of conservative attacks on the bill under the heading: "Lies
about Religious Liberty." They wrote:
"These are just a few examples of the
exaggeration, misinformation, and willful deception that make up the
campaign to portray hate crime legislation as contrary to free speech or
freedom of religion."
Family Research Council President Tony
Perkins insists that the "only effect [hate crimes legislation] will truly
have is to gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the
Rev. Ted Pike, Director of the National
Prayer Network, called a hate crimes bill sponsored by Rep. Sheila
Jackson-Lee "the most dangerous legislation ever to come before Congress,"
and claimed that "it leads directly to an end of free speech."
Former judge and far-right activist Roy
Moore has claimed that "the day is rapidly approaching and perhaps is
already here when speaking out in love against sin or contending for our
faith by opposition to false religions like Islam will become criminal
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values
Coalition makes a similar claim, asserting that, "if a pastor stands up
in the pulpit and says homosexuality is a sin ... it will be considered hate
speech. And if this law passes, the federal government will go after people
who say those kinds of things."
Following passage of the bill in the House, Andrea
Lafferty, the executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition
issued the following statement:
"A majority of the Members of the House of
Representatives have slapped Christians in the face with passage of H.R.
1592. Though allegedly designed to help local law enforcement officials deal
with violent hate crimes, this legislation actually creates two new
federally-protected minority groups: 'sexual orientation' and 'gender
identity' -- both of which are undefined by the law.
"This legislation strikes at the heart of free speech and freedom of
religious expression. Why? Because statements critical of sexual orientation
or gender identity can be prosecuted -- if those statements were part of the
motivation of a person committing a crime against a homosexual or
This statement contains an unusual number of errors. In reality:
It can be argued that the law creates only one "federally protected
minority groups:" the disabled.
The law creates three new federally protected groups that includes
every American (not just a minority): gender, gender identity, and
sexual orientation. Every American has a gender, a gender identity and a
Gender identity is defined in the bill.
Cross-dressing is a sexual practice, not a gender identity.
Reaction of a liberal group to conservative attacks on this bill:
People for the American Way (PFAW) issued an appeal for its members to
support HR 1592. They stated:
"H.R. 1592 would strengthen current federal law, making violent crimes
prosecutable as hate crimes when the victim is targeted because of his or
her gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It would
provide important backup where state and local authorities cannot or will
not act. But the anti-gay Right has engaged in a dangerous and wholly
dishonest propaganda campaign based on the absurd claim that hate crimes
legislation would criminalize Christianity and free speech. NOTHING could be
further from the truth."
"The purpose of this bill is to help ensure prosecution of violent crime. To
emphasize that speech and religion are not threatened by the bill the House
Judiciary Committee even adopted an amendment, offered by Rep. Artur Davis
(D-AL), that states:
'Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be
construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal
prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free
exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.' "
"But that hasn't stopped groups like the so-called American Family
Association, which just yesterday circulated a statement saying:
'The Hate Crimes Act [sic] threatens religious leaders with criminal
prosecution for their thoughts, beliefs and statements'."
"No tactics are off limits to members of the Radical Right. They are
misleading the public and to Congress about the impact of this bill. We need
you to call YOUR representative to counter this right-wing propaganda
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