“Are Pastors at Risk With Hate Crime Legislation?”
SNIPPET: “As weve reported to you in the past, the concept of hate crimes legislation is problematic because it creates separate classes of victims. This legislation would make it a more severe crime to commit a violent act against a homosexual than to commit a violent act against a senior citizen, a mother, or countless other classes that could be viewed as meriting special protection. Rather than prosecuting all crimes equally, this legislation would create a special victim class based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
This becomes even more problematic when you consider the chilling effect that it could have on religious speech. For example, it is conceivable that a pastor preaching on the Biblical perspective on homosexuality could face charges if someone who hears that sermon commits a violent act. While we firmly believe that the pastors First Amendment protections would ultimately prevail, this legislation could put the pastors constitutionally-protected speech under a legal microscope.
Fortunately, there was language included in the legislation that provides some solid statutory protection for religious speech.”
SNIPPET: “As always, we will vigorously defend the constitutional right of our religious leaders to speak freely about the tenets of their faith.”
Posted: 10/23/2009 12:01 AM
“Obama signs ‘hate crimes’ bill - Christian broadcasters concerned”
Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 10/28/2009 6:00:00 AM
SNIPPET: “President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure that adds to the list of federal hate crimes attacks on people based on their sexual orientation. Congress approved the legislation last week as part of the $680-billion FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill. Appended to the hate crimes amendment was a statement ensuring that a religious leader or any other person cannot be prosecuted on the bases if his or her speech, beliefs, or association.
But Craig Parshall, chief counsel for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), discounts that statement, pointing out that such laws in other countries have been used to silence people of faith. He believes the law approved by Congress is potentially dangerous as it relates to comments made about homosexuality or another religion.
“Under the criminal law of incitement, if something is said in a broadcast that another person uses as a motivation to go out and commit an act of what they call ‘bodily injury’ in the statute, then a broadcaster could be held criminally liable,” he explains.”