What will hate crimes entail? What does it mean for Christians? How will such law effect our Biblical teaching and preaching the gospel? What should our response be?
To view what's incorporated into the Hate Crime Bill, here is a summary:
4/29/2009--Passed House amended. Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 -
(Sec. 2) Adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (i.e., a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person).
(Sec. 3) Authorizes the Attorney General, at the request of a state, local, or tribal law enforcement agency, to provide technical, forensic, prosecutable, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of a violent crime, a hate crime, or a crime that constitutes a felony under state, local, or tribal law. Directs the Attorney General, in providing such assistance, to give priority to cases involving crimes committed in more than one state and to rural jurisdictions that have difficulty covering extraordinary investigation or prosecution expenses. Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies for extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
Requires the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work with grantees to address the needs and concerns of all affected parties in implementing grants. Sets forth requirements governing the submission and approval of grant applications. Limits the amount of any grant to $100,000 for any single jurisdiction in any one-year period. Requires the Attorney General to: (1) approve or deny a grant application within 180 days after receipt of such application; and (2) report to Congress by December 31, 2011, on the grant program. Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2011.
(Sec. 4) Authorizes the Office of Justice Programs to award grants to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles. Authorizes appropriations.
(Sec. 5) Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2012 to increase DOJ personnel to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in combating hate crimes.
(Sec. 6) Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit willfully causing bodily injury to any person through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person. Imposes a fine and/or prison term of up to 10 years for violations and a life term if a death results from a violation or certain other violent crimes are involved. Requires the Attorney General or other designated DOJ official to certify certain findings before initiating a prosecution for a hate crime. Sets a seven-year statute of limitations on prosecuting such an offense not resulting in death. Prohibits the admission of evidence as substantive evidence in a hate crime prosecution of the expression or associations of a defendant unless the evidence specifically relates to the hate crime offense.
(Sec. 7) Provides that any provision of this Act that is held to be unconstitutional shall be severable from the remaining provisions of this Act.
(Sec. 8) Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech.
Section 8 would protect speech, presumably in the pulpit as well as in the street, or any where else? If so, an amendment could be tagged on later that would prohibit such speech.
For a close look at this issue, I turn to one who has done her homework tirelessly, and is a fountain of information on numerous issues, hate crimes included: Berit Kjos, whose web site CROSS ROADS is on my other blog: The RED PILL CONSORTIUM.
Here is an article she's written recently:
Why "Hate crime" laws would ban Biblical Christianity
It's a rather lengthy article, but I urge you to examine it carefully; check out any of her linked information that strikes you (most of them did me!).
I'm sure most of us are already well aware of what constitutes a hate crime, but just in case, let me spell it out:
You're in a crusade where the Gospel is being preached by churches sponsoring the event; in the midst of the many preachers, taking turns delivering the gospel to the lost souls gathered about, some homosexuals are present in the midst; and so are some Muslims.
In the preaching, the pastor proclaims that " . . . Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that no one can come to the Father but by Him. All religions represented in the world will only lead astray lost souls, and such will be condemned to an eternity of hell, unless they repent and receive Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior."
He continues: "God created us for Himself, to worship, and glorify Him in all that we say, all that we do, all that we are, and to live in any other way than in accord with His will is a sin. This includes our sexual lives: any union other than a man and a woman, and only in the bond of holy matrimony, is a sin. One that God will certainly forgive, and cleanse from the sinner, but one that MUST be repented of, or the consequence is eternal separation from God."
Christian, do you believe this? Does the Bible teach this? Is this the Truth? Do these statements express the love and grace of God?
If your answer to these questions is 'yes' then according to the proposed hate crime bill, you are GUILTY OF A HATE CRIME!
To the Muslim, declaring that their way to Allah, via Muhammed and the Quran is a false way, and that they need to repent and turn from their sins, and receive Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, is hateful and criminal, and under the hate crime law, is prosecutable!
To the homosexual, telling them that their sexual relationship with their same sex partner is a sin against the will of God for a sexual union of His own creation, is likewise a hateful, criminal act, and punishable under this proposed bill!
(UPDATE as of July 19, 2009
more on the proceedings of the Hate Crime Bill:
Senate has passed Hate Crime Bill; awaiting ratification from the President:
UPDATE as of August 2, 2009 -
From World Net Daily - What does this legislation represent concerning the spiritual condition of our nation? What can we expect to transpire as a result of the endorsement, politically and morally of this proposed bill? Read about it here:
WHEN THE WICKED RULE (Note, this author does not necessarily agree with WND in all of its assertions, statements, beliefs and doctrine).
But let's examine this for a moment.
I recently heard from a co-worker that watched the evening news, that some contaminated meat was discovered from a meat processing plant that was shipped off to different grocery stores. The product was recalled, or the stores were informed of the contamination, and as a result, they threw the meat out. Except for one store! They simply allowed the meat to remain in their coolers, available for purchase!
Let's say that I had just got done watching that report on my portable player while I was strolling down the aisles of that same store. Alarmed by this, I look up only to see a customer reaching for some contaminated meat.
I rush over and tell him not to buy it, its contaminated! That's when I see others who also have some of this meat in their carts. Others are already in check out, and still others are walking out of the store, with the meat in their bags!
I begin to shout loudly, "DON'T BUY THIS MEAT! RETURN IT! IT'S CONTAMINATED! IT WILL MAKE YOU SICK OR EVEN KILL YOU!"
Now, having heard from an authority (the evening news) information that I took as valid, I now am prepared to inform others of the potential dangers that result from ignorance of this same information.
Once they hear, they are faced with a decision either to take my advice, look into it themselves and discover whether I'm right or wrong, and take the appropriate action.
Keeping customers from buying this store's meat might be perceived as hate by the owners because they stand to lose some profits, perhaps even some loyal customers who feel their confidence in the store's quality goods, betrayed by this unseemly conduct.
Yet, how many customers would perceive me as a hateful person? Would they tell me, "How dare you tell me this meat is contaminated! It looks perfectly fine to me! I've bought meat here for ten years and its NEVER been bad! Are you saying I'm so STUPID, that I can't tell contaminated meat when I see it?? What is this hateful attitude you have, telling me such alarming things as this!!"
My motive is not governed by hate at all, but by concern and compassion and caring. I wouldn't be able to live with myself had I discovered such information about contaminated meat and simply kept it to myself; allowing dozens of people, perhaps hundreds to get terribly sick, hospitalized, maybe even some fatalities!
What is the motive of Christians in sharing God's Word, in delivering the Gospel to those who don't know Jesus Christ personally, in bringing solemn warning that if they ignore the Truth of God's Word, the Bible, it will lead to horrible consequences?
Concern? Compassion? Caring? Yes indeed; a love for lost souls.
If my heart was hateful towards people, I would keep the Gospel to myself. If I truly hated, I would be glad that these people were going to hell!
Without a doubt, it would be a 'hate crime' to keep the gospel to myself, to refrain from praying for and warning these precious souls that God loves SO MUCH that He willingly offered His Son for their redemption.
Suppose we Christians are all wrong about the Bible? And Jesus? What if the Bible really isn't the Word of God, and Jesus really wasn't who He claimed to be?
That would mean we were erroneous in our religious beliefs, and all such warnings about hell and eternal damnation resulting in the rejection of Christ would be invalid, and if we continued to believe in such things, we might even be delusional.
But would that still constitute hatred on our part?
We are persuaded that the BIBLE is indeed the Word of God, that its authoritative and inspired, and dependable as a valid, indeed THE valid source of Truth.
No other religious book is like the Bible; it stands alone and unique in a multitude of ways.
Being accurate historically, archaeologically, geographically, and yes even scientifically when it ventures into such areas. Most importantly however, the Bible is accurate prophetically; over the thousands of years its hit the mark, dead center time and time again when it foretells of future events. This is no where more abundantly demonstrated in the fulfilled prophecies of Christ Jesus Himself during His time on this earth. Over 300 distinct prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus from the time of His birth to the time of His ascension!
For a concise treatment of what the BIBLE has to offer on its prophetic relevance and accuracy, please follow the link below (Prophecy 101) to Dr. Chuck Missler's (NOTE: This author does not necessarily agree with everything that Dr. Missler teaches, believes, asserts) web site 66/40 from http://www.khouse.org/ .
Prophecy 101 Week 1
Just as I would act on the information from the evening news, warning people about harmful food products, I must also act on the information I receive from the Bible. And the Bible clearly states that . . .
. . .Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name (than Jesus) under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
2 THESS 1:7-9
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
No where are Christians admonished to hate people in any capacity. God declares that we are, as His followers, to love one another.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
We are to love our neighbors:
MATT 22:37, 39
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
We are even to love our enemies!
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
There are some who point out the Crusades, and all that was done in the name of Christ as an example of hate against those who didn't agree with their religion. Yet those Crusaders and soldiers were not obeying Christ by such acts, for even the above scripture points this out! No, they were obedient to the command of the Roman Catholic Popes who issued Indulgences (prescribed forgiveness of yet to be committed sins) for any who would flock to his banner!
These same soldiers raped, pillaged, and held heinous contests such as who could impale the most Jewish babies on their swords! I submit that these were not at all disciples of Jesus Christ, nor Christians born again of God's Holy Spirit, but mere religionists, who in the name of the Roman Catholic church committed these genuine hate crimes!
Yet the church of Jesus Christ today is being targeted as a proponent of hate crimes, and once such laws are ratified, all it will take is one homosexual couple to approach the pastor of any Bible believing church and demand that he marry them, and upon his refusal, that church could legally be fined, or even shut down!
Now more than ever, we believers need to focus our attention on the LORD Jesus Christ, to walk in truth, love, and grace so powerfully, that our motives will be utterly transparent.
And the brighter the light of God's Spirit shines, the more the children of darkness will hate us, but to remember Jesus' words are vital:
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
May the LORD Jesus CHRIST bless you Saints WAY TOO MUCH!!
Yours in the BATTLE For Lost SOULS!
Nikaeo Aionios A.V.R.A.S.!!!
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.