USA (MNN) — Both free speech and religious freedom could be curtailed if legislation prohibiting so called "hate speech" is approved in the United States legislature.
According to reports, the House Judiciary Committee will consider hate crimes legislation Wednesday. The bill, known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, would amend present hate crimes laws to include violence motivated by a victim's sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or disability.
International Christian Concern is an international human rights organization dedicated to assisting and sustaining Christians who are victims of persecution and discrimination due to practicing their faith.
President of ICC Jeff King says, "There have been various attempts previously to introduce hate speech legislation to the U.S. Well now, they have a good chance to pass something."
While preventing hate is a noble thing, King says this is only a trick. "That's the brilliant positioning of calling this 'hate speech' legislation. Who's against hate? But this is an absolute tool–a strategy from the far left and the homosexual community to silence the Christian community. People shouldn't be naïve; that's exactly what's going on."
Couched in language that prohibits "hate crimes" motivated by the victim's race, color, or religion is more language that prosecutes violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is where pastors are at risk.
King says, "If a pastor stands up and [preaches] on the Biblical position on homosexuality, he could be charged under the hate speech legislation. If you speak against Islam from a Biblical perspective, you can be charged."
Similar legislation already has been approved in Canada and Australia. King says a pastor in Australia was arrested. "He was changed under their hate speech laws by Muslims for holding a conference about Islam and for largely reading from the Koran and passages from the Bible about how to come to God." He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself.
Typically, ICC works in countries outside the U.S. to address religious rights issues, but now religious liberty violation issues are coming to the shores of the U.S.
King says, "Christians are the frogs in the kettle. We are getting cooked. And we need to wake up."
He's asking American Christians to make some telephone calls. "All you have to do is get on the phone and call your congressman and your senator. Let them know how you feel about this legislation. Be firm, be polite, but let them know this is outrageous."
Will there be enough votes for passage? King says, "With the shift in the congress, we are worried."
Pray that this bill would be defeated by God's sovereign intervention.