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Published on 12 October, 2009

Hate Crimes Bill sneaks through U.S. House

USA (MNN) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed a
controversial Hate Crimes Bill late last week in a 281-146 vote, with 131
Republicans and 15 Democrats objecting to the measure.

The legislation adds sexual orientation to the list of groups
under the protection of the federal law. It also gives states and local jurisdictions federal help in prosecuting
hate crimes.  

The bill passed the House in April as a stand-alone, but
there was enough controversy surrounding it that passage in the Senate was not
guaranteed.  

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the
Martyrs
says, "They
kind of went about it in a back door way. It does go to the Senate. Apparently, it will pass the Senate, from what
we understand, partially because it's attached to this Defense Spending Bill,
and the President has said he will sign it."

Nettleton clarifies that the Hate Crimes Bill is not the
same as a Hate Speech Bill, but, "Is this the first step toward a hate speech bill that would then
make it illegal to express Christian principles about some of these
subjects?"

There is legal precedence. Already, cases have been
tried in Canada and Sweden where Christians have faced criminal prosecution
for preaching that homosexual practice is a sin.

Nettleton notes that there's good reason for evangelical
Christians to be alert and to pray. "The concern is that somewhere down the road, a pastor speaks about
homosexuality, shares what the Scriptures say about it and is accused of
inciting violence because he shared what the Scriptures say about
homosexuality."

A vote on the Senate version of the defense-spending bill,
which includes the hate crimes measure, could come as early as next week.

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