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Hate Crimes

CMC opposes attempts to expand the federal definition of “hate crimes” to include any perceived slight of persons who engage in homosexual behavior or subscribe to the homosexual political agenda. It’s a particularly dangerous and offensive proposal that threatens the religious liberties of every man and woman of faith in this nation.

Actual crimes – such as assault, rape and murder – which are motivated by hate for another person or group of people – are acts of violence against innocent persons, and they are offensive to God. Christians are commanded not to make value judgments on the basis of external differences between people. As the apostle Paul tells us, “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11, NKJV). Those convicted of hate-motivated crimes deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Contemporary attempts to pass hate-crime legislation, however, are preoccupied with punishing people for their thoughts. How exactly do prosecutors know what is in a perpetrator’s mind? By their actions. CMC believes the government should stick to punishing behavior, rather than attempting to discern the thoughts of its citizens.

The concept of hate crimes in this context is particularly offensive because it has the effect of valuing some victims over others. If justice were truly blind, who the victim is wouldn’t matter at all. Our laws should not value the well-to-do over the downtrodden, or vice versa. Hate-crime legislation contradicts the spirit of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires state governments to provide “the equal protection of the laws” to all its citizens.

For Christians, the most ominous part of such legislation is a provision that would establish as protected classes of citizens persons who engage in homosexual behavior or adopt a gender identity other than the one God provided them at birth or both. However, homosexuality is not a God-given characteristic like race, gender or nationality; it is a behavior that a holy God condemns as sin. If a bill establishing homosexuals as a protected class is allowed to become law, it will be only a matter of time before Christian teaching on homosexual behavior is prosecuted as intimidating behavior.

This approach to hate crimes, if enacted, would threaten all religious liberties in America. We have already seen what happens when hate-crime laws are applied in the way liberal activists intend. In 2004, the “Breakthrough” television broadcast told the story of the Rev. Ake Green, a Pentecostal pastor in Sweden who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for a 2003 sermon that simply taught what the Bible says about homosexuality and condemned the government’s plan to allow same-sex partnerships. The Rev. Green made no effort to hide his commitment to preach the truth; he invited reporters to attend his sermon. When none came, he sent the press the text of his message. It’s incredible to realize that a minister of the Gospel can be convicted of criminal activity simply for defending the Word of God and warning his community about what he saw as the ill effects of his nation’s accommodation of homosexual behavior!

In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 signed a bill modeled on Canada’s hate-crimes law. Under this new law, individuals can claim that someone expressing his or her deeply held beliefs, whether political or religious, presents an “intimidating” threat that is punishable by law. Penalties for violating the California law include criminal prosecution and fines of up to $25,000 – which are awarded to those bringing the accusation. How likely are pastors, rabbis, imams and lay people in California to speak their mind now, knowing that an opportunistic activist can pronounce himself or herself offended?

In truth, the only “hate” you’ll find involving this issue is on the part of members of the homosexual community, who express nothing but contempt for Christians who are imploring them to leave a deadly and depraved lifestyle.

The plight of the homosexual community cries out for candor and truth – specifically, the truth of the Bible. Instead, Christians are defending themselves against charges of bigotry and intolerance for providing God’s wisdom on the issue. Defend it, however, we must. CMC is pledged to work against “hate-crimes” legislation – a textbook example of political correctness run amok.

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