Senate Passes Hate Bill -
Yet Democrats Compromise
[Editor's Note: "Hate Speech" bills are intended to stifle free speech, an unthinkable concept in America, but it's going down nonetheless. Pro Israel pressure groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), B'nai Brith, and Israel action committees and lobbyists are the principle instigators pushing to outlaw criticism of Israel and their Zionist ways. The very First Amendment of the US Constitution, part of The Bill of Rights, says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
"Congress shall make no law ...abridging the freedom of speech...". There it is in black and white in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. All members of congress, the Executive, and the Judicial branches of government take an oath to uphold ALL of the provisions of the US Constitution. . "Abridging" means to lessen or compromise or truncate the concept of free speech. It means you can't impose some subtle form of pressure which would have the net effect of suffocating the free expression of thoughts, opinions and ideas out of fear of retaliation or criminal indictment by the state. Yet, that's PRECISELY what "hate speech" laws do!
It's a direct violation of the First Amendment, yet they pass it anyway. And they do it without any debate on the floor and at the 11th hour (literally). Fortunately, Senator Brownback's amendment was included at the last minute which at least SLOWS down the evisceration of free speech in America, but the bill is in VIOLATION of the Constitution and should have never come up for a vote in the first place. We have the hands of TRAITORS on the wheels of power in this country. ...Ken Adachi]
By Rev. Ted Pike
July 17, 2009
Sen. Patrick Leahy's hate crimes bill, amending the National Defense Authorization Act, effectively passed the Senate tonight at about eleven o'clock p.m. EDT. A call for cloture, or termination of debate after thirty hours, was passed 63 to 28. Clearly, the Senate majority had spoken. Once cloture is invoked there is usually little more that can be done to resist.
There was no floor debate. A complete end run had been done around adequate Senate hearings, a Mark-up session and Rules Committee debate. Total Senate debate of the hate bill amounted to little more than a brief "kangaroo" hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee several weeks ago. Witnesses, which included Attorney General Eric Holder were stacked 4 to 2 against conservatives.
Passage occurred despite massive protest from the Christian/conservative right (even more than yesterday) with only the very smallest percentage of calls today in favor of the hate bill.
Yet Protest Made a Difference
Earlier Thursday evening the Senate finally assembled a quorum and voted down, 62 to 29, Sen. Hatch's amendment. It would require the federal government to conduct a study to determine if the states are not enforcing the law against violent hate crimes. Citing Attorney General Eric Holder's recent testimony in Judiciary, Hatch confirmed that states are already "doing a good job."
Then Senator Sam Brownback submitted an amendment which would include in the hate bill the most specific statement (part of the "Religious Freedom Act," passed in 1993 by Congress 97-3) that only speech that threatens imminent incitement of violence will be punishable under the hate bill. Speech that falls short of such actual incitement will be protected.
Sen. Leahy earlier said he had no problem with inclusion of Brownback's amendment. Although he voted against it, the amendment passed overwhelmingly 78-13. Approval of Brownback's amendment is a great victory, testimony to the pressure put on liberals even in the past two days. Most Senate Democrats were clearly eager to mollify, to some degree, the overwhelming anger at the hate bill from their constituents this week. Their House counterparts, under far less pressure eleven weeks ago, would never have made such a concession.
Inclusion of Brownback's amendment should help safeguard free speech from the pulpit or airwaves, except in the cases of the most blatant, immediate incitement to violence. It helps neutralize the extremely threatening language of the 1968 hate crimes law, Title 18, sec. 2A, which says if anyone "induces," through speech, commission of a violent hate crime the speaker will be tried "as a principal" alongside the active offender in federal court.
S. 909 remains a massive invasion of state's rights in law enforcement in violation of the 10th Amendment. It violates the 14th Amendment by exalting certain groups, including homosexual pedophiles, above the majority. But, thanks to massive pressure on liberal Senators, especially during the last two days, and the initiative of Sen. Brownback, at least the 1st Amendment may not be as imminently threatened as before.
Let the Anti-Defamation League teach you how they have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians, and spearhead attempts to pass the federal hate crimes bill: <http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp>http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
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WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved the most sweeping expansion of federal hate crimes law since Congress responded four decades ago to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
The legislation, backed by President Barack Obama, would extend federal protections granted under the 1968 hate crimes law to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
"This bill simply recognizes that there is a difference between assaulting someone to steal his money, or doing so because he is gay, or disabled, or Latino or Muslim," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
Voice vote passage came immediately after supporters cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle imposed by Republicans trying to block consideration of the legislation. That vote was 63-28.
The hate crimes bill was offered as an amendment to a must-pass defense spending bill that the Senate is expected to finish some time next week. Several Republican amendments to the hate crimes legislation still could be considered on Monday, but Thursday's vote determined that it will be part of the defense bill when it passes.
The 1968 hate crimes act covers violence related to a person's race, color, religion or national origin. Federal involvement is confined to a narrow range of circumstances, such as when the victim is using a public facility or attending a public school, serving on a jury or participating in a government program.
The proposed legislation, in addition to expanding the categories covered, ends the "federally protected activities" requirement.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., now being treated for cancer and unable to be on hand for the debate, first proposed the bill in 1997. While coming close on several occasions, he has never been able to overcome opposition from those who contend it infringes on states' rights and First Amendment rights to free speech. Former President George W. Bush said he would veto the bill if it reached his desk.
This time, however, pro-bill Democrats control both houses of Congress and Obama is a strong supporter. Attorney General Eric Holder has urged Congress to give his department authority to prosecute cases of violence based on sexual orientation, gender or disability.
The measure still has a way to go. Obama has told Congress he will veto the defense bill if it includes more money for an F-22 fighter program he is trying to terminate. The House in April passed a similar hate crimes bill, but did it as independent legislation not tied to a larger bill.
The Senate bill, also sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., only authorizes federal prosecutions of hate crimes when the state or local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so. It provides $5 million in grants to state and local law enforcement officials who have trouble meeting the costs of investigating and prosecuting these crimes.
Reid, D-Nev., recalled that Laramie, Wyo., was overwhelmed by the costs of pursuing the case against Matthew Shepard, the gay college student killed in 1998 whose name is attached to the bill. "When this bill becomes law, that will never happen again in Laramie, Wyo., or anyplace else in the country."
Supporters also emphasized that prosecutions under the bill can occur only when bodily injury is involved, and no minister or protester could be targeted for expressing opposition to homosexuality, even if their statements are followed by another person committing a violent action.
To emphasize the point, the Senate passed provisions restating that the bill does not prohibit constitutionally protected speech and that free speech is guaranteed unless it is intended to plan or prepare for an act of violence.
The Traditional Values Coalition had expressed concern in a letter to senators that a pastor could be prosecuted for "conspiracy to commit a hate crime" if a sermon resulted in a person acting aggressively against someone based on sexual orientation.
Another opponent, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said it was "patently offensive" that violence against one class of victims would be considered worse than violence against others. "We cannot have a colorblind society if we continue to write color-conscious laws," he said. "It violates all the principles of equal justice under the law."
Some 45 states have hate crimes statutes on their books, and about half the states have laws covering crimes based on sexual orientation.
The FBI receives reports of nearly 8,000 hate crimes every year. Of those, about 15 percent are linked to sexual orientation, which ranks third after those involving race and religion.
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