(MNN) — It's called H.R. 1592. It's a bill in the United States House of
Representatives that would extend special protections to homosexuals as hate
crime victims. The bill has the potential of limiting free speech rights of
Christians and pastors who openly state the Bible's views on sodomy and
homosexuality. Similar laws have already been passed in Canada.
We at Mission
Network News never thought we would be contacting Voice of the Martyrs
about issues facing the U.S., but that's exactly what we did. VOM's Todd Nettleton says the protections
could include the homosexual agenda and lifestyle. "Those things could be
identified as hate crimes, and Christians could come under government
punishment for speaking out against that."
to Nettleton, "This is a very slippery slope when you start trying to
identify what people's feelings are and then punishing them for their feelings,
rather than actually what they do."
oppose the bill and offered several amendments, "including, protecting
other vulnerable groups like pregnant women, under-aged children, the military,
unborn children, senior citizens. Every single Republican amendment that was
proposed was voted down."
was then forwarded on to the House on a party line vote.
says reading Scripture could become an issue. "You could read the
Scriptures and be accused of hate speech. The Gospel is a message that people
have sinned and are in need of God. It is not a message of everything's fine –
"You do what you want to do, and I'll do what I want to do." It is a divisive
told believers that people would hate Christians. Nettleton says, "We
shouldn't be shocked by this, but obviously we do live in a democracy. We do
live in a country where we can have a voice, and we need to be speaking out on
behalf of freedom."
the meantime, Christians around the world suffer every day at the hands of
their government. Nettleton says, "We in a America and we as the body of
Christ around the world need to prepare ourselves so that we will follow Christ
whether our government supports us and protects us, or whether they work
against us. Our first calling is to be like Jesus and to live for Him, and we
need to do that no matter what the laws are or what the government says."
that the bill fails in Congress.