Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is attempting to pass hate crime legislation by maliciously attaching it to the must-pass defense authorization bill.
Follow this link to the original source: "Kennedy cramming hate crimes into defense bill"
Earlier this year grassroots organizations sent out legislative action alerts on a hate crimes bill that would designate certain crimes a hate crime and therefore place the crime under federal jurisdiction. The bill never passed Congress and was a seemingly dead issue for several months. In a new effort to revive the legislation, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has attached the widely unpopular legislation as an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585).
Since President Bush has threatened to veto hate crimes laws, it is no surprise that Senator Kennedy would choose to attach the legislation as an amendment to a must-pass defense authorization bill. Critics of the Kennedy amendment have called the Senator's actions as "shockingly manipulative," and a way to "push the homosexual agenda on the American people by exploiting American soldiers who are currently in harm's way...."
If hate crime laws were enacted, they would federalize certain crimes that have traditionally been prosecuted under local jurisdiction. Furthermore, such laws would not only punish the criminal and his actions, but also the presumed thoughts behind them. Hate crime laws have already limited the freedom of speech for certain individuals and religious groups across America. Here are some examples as cited in the article linked to above:
• Madison, Wisconsin. David Ott, a former homosexual, was arrested for a "hate crime" for sharing his testimony with a homosexual at a gas station. He faced a $10,000 fine and one year behind bars. Seven thousand dollars in legal fees later, [he] was ordered to attend re-education classes at the University of Wisconsin conducted by a lesbian.
• St. Petersburg, Florida. Five Christians, including two pastors, were arrested at a homosexual rally for stepping onto the public sidewalk instead staying caged in their officially designated "free speech zone."
• Elmira, New York. The Elmira police arrested seven Christians for praying in a public park where a homosexual festival was getting started.
• Crystal Lake, Illinois. Two 16-year-old girls are facing felony "hate crime" charges for the content of their flyers.
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Linda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk.
The laws we currently have in place already protect all individuals from the crimes that would encompass Kennedy's proposed hate crimes legislation. Please visit this site frequently for updates on the status of this amendment.
Mary Benoit is a Research Associate for the John Birch Society.
The John Birch Society - Truth, Leadership, Freedom - on July 18, 2007, 1:55pmby Mary Benoit from