“A Terribly Sad Day for Christians in America”: Traditional Values Coalition
The following is Traditional Values Coalition’s firsthand report from last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Thought Crimes” bill, H.R. 1592 (the bill’s is benignly called the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act”). Please note the portions in bold below:
TVC REPORT FROM THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING ON THE “HATE CRIMES” BILL, H.R. 1592
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
For almost 11 hours Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman of Traditional Values Coalition, and CEO Andrea Lafferty monitored every move in the Judiciary Committee relevant to the HR 1592, the Hate Crimes bill. They sat in the front row from early morning until it was concluded around 9:15 p.m. All 25 Republican amendments were defeated. The purpose of the Markup is to vote on amendments to the bill. There are 23 Democrats and 17 Republicans [in the Judiciary Committee]. HR 1592 passed by a party line vote, all Democrats supported it and all Republicans opposed. Following is TVC’s account of the “Markup.”
TVC materials were used by numerous Congressmen in their presentations. It was clear that they were quoting from documents TVC had produced. Numerous Congressmen came over to us and thanked us for staying there all day and all night.
The TVC staff worked diligently researching, creating reports, meeting with Members and their staff, contacting you the grassroots for help and MUCH MORE.
The first Republican amendment was proposed by Congressman Jim Jordon from Ohio adding those unborn babies and those partially-born babies to the list of protected classes. However, Chairman Conyers ruled the amendment was non-germane, which means the members were not allowed to vote on it.
Congressman Darrell Issa, Republican from California offered a clarifying amendment concerning unborn babies which failed.
Republican Congressman Dan Lungren from California stating that no where in the bill are the terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” definition and he asked for a definition. The democrats referred to what they said was an accepted definition of sexual orientation, heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. The republicans did not agree stating that heterosexuality was not an orientation.
The democrats did not want to discuss a definition of even sexual orientation or have it in the bill. They wanted no definitions.
Friends, it was obvious. There are many additional orientations that would have had to be included in sexual orientation. Also, they would have to agree to a definition of gender identity and they did not want that. They obviously did not want to define gender identity to include she-male, cross-dresser, drag queen, transgender, transsexual, etc.
Republican Congressman Randy Forbes from Virginia stated that since it has been proven and established that our military are targets of hate and physical attack, many facilities are recommending that soldiers not wear their uniforms in large adjoining cities. He mentioned several groups by name that are vehemently spitting on them and abusing them, only because they are US military personnel.
So Forbes offered an amendment to also include military personnel as a protected class and thus to attack them would also be a hate crime. It was defeated.
The Republicans offered many good amendments to add categories that would be covered by the bill. They did a very good job trying to clarify the bill and hold the democrats accountable.
Senior Citizens should be a protected class as old people are being beaten up and robbed. Rosa Parks got mugged in Detroit. Another suggested protected class was Pregnant Women who are battered by boy friends, live-in boyfriends or husbands because they are pregnant. Republican Congressman Tom Feeney of Florida offered an amendment to add the “homeless.” All were defeated.
Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas moved to remove “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the bill. It failed on a recorded vote of 19 to 13.
Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana offered the important amendment on Freedom of Religion. “Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution.”
A number of Republicans spoke in support of it. But the Democrats Jerrold Nadler, Tammy Baldwin and Chairman John Conyers kept evading the issue.
Finally, Congressman Gohmert asked, “If a minister was giving a sermon, a Bible study or any kind of written or spoken message saying that homosexuality was a serious sin and a person in the congregation went out and committed a crime against a homosexual would the minister be charged with the crime of incitement?”
Gohmert was attempting to clarify and emphasize that the legislation would have an effect on the constitutional right to religious freedom and thus the Pence amendment was needed to protect religious speech.
The Democrats continued to explain why they could not accept the amendment. Lundgren continuously shot down their answer. He said, “What is your answer? Would there be incitement charges against the pastor?”
And finally Democrat Congressman Artur Davis from Alabama spoke up and said, “Yes.”
Friends, that is what we have been warning you about and our legal advice was correct. It is evident what HR 1592 is about. It is not about homosexuals and cross dressers suffering with no food, shelter or jobs, it is about preventing Bible-believing people and pastors from speaking the truth.
It is about punishing them so they will not dare to speak the truth.
It is about threatening them with prison so they won’t dare speak the truth.
The Judiciary Committee could easily have accepted the amendment, “Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution.”
Rev. Lou Sheldon stated, “By refusing to accept this amendment the Democrats on this committee have proven their purpose, to remove freedom of religion from the U.S. Constitution.”
This is an up-to-the minute report late tonight.
Tomorrow we will send you more news and an Action item so you can write your elected officials. THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER YET. HR 1592 WILL GO TO THE HOUSE FLOOR, VERY LIKELY EARLY NEXT WEEK.
Your financial help is urgently needed as we work to defeat HR 1592 on the House floor and continue to uphold and protect Biblical principles here at the Congress. TVC can be reached at http://www.traditionalvalues.org/ or by calling 202-547-8570.
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