Never judge a book by its cover, so goes the old expression. But what’s true about books is even more true about legislation. For example, a bill pending before the Senate is titled the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.” Since few people want to promote “hate crimes,” preventing hate crimes sounds like a laudable goal. Right?Not if you read what’s between the covers: The title of this bill ought to be the “Thought Control Act of 2007.”I told “BreakPoint” listeners and readers about the bill when it was pending before the House. Unfortunately, that bill passed the House and now faces Senate ratification—this time, in typical Washington fashion, as an amendment tacked on to the National Defense Authorization Act.The law is just as dangerous now as it was then.This bill would give the federal government jurisdiction over local criminal offenses believed to be “motivated by prejudice.” Not just any prejudice, mind you, but prejudice based on “race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim.”Watch those phrases sexual orientation and gender identity, because they tell you which groups are pushing hardest for this bill. The committee rejected amendments that would include other groups, like veterans, the homeless, and senior citizens.That still leaves us with “why?” Do crimes against homosexuals go unpunished? Are people free to attack gays with impunity?Of course not. There are already laws against assaults on people and property. Moreover, according to the FBI, crimes against homosexuals in the United States have dropped dramatically. In 2005, out of 863,000 cases of aggravated assault, just 177 cases were crimes of bias against homosexuals—far less than 1 percent.For the bill’s supporters, it is not enough to walk down the street in complete safety. Nor is it enough to be able to work and live wherever you please. Like the state song of Kansas, they want a place where “seldom is heard a discouraging word” about homosexuality. See, the bill is not about crime prevention or even civil rights. It’s about outlawing peaceful speech—speech that asserts that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. That’s why the House judiciary committee rejected an amendment stipulating that nothing in this law would limit the religious freedom of any person or group under the Constitution.We’ve seen where laws like this can lead: Hate crimes have been defined to include verbal attacks—and even peaceful speech. The Thought Police have already prosecuted Christians under hate-crime laws in England, Sweden, and Canada. And in Pennsylvania, 11 Christians were prosecuted under the state’s hate crime law for preaching on a street corner against homosexuality.Please go to the phones. Call your senators or e-mail them. Urge them to vote against the Kennedy Hate Crimes amendment. You can visit BreakPoint.org to find more information about this radical law.If we do nothing, the book under the seemingly innocuous cover will turn out to be 1984—and it will no longer be fiction, but the law of the land.
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