By Alex Bush
May 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, stated on his daily radio program, Focus on the Family Daily, that "utter evil" is coming out of the United States Congress. He made the remark in reference to the recently passed Hate Crimes Bill, H.R.1913, which makes "sexual orientation," as well as race, religion, class, gender or disability, categories that are protected from "hate crimes."
Bill H.R.1913 has been criticized by conservative commentators, who say that it could be used to prosecute religious leaders who simply defend traditional moral views on sexuality. Critics have also charged that the bill is redundant, since violent crimes are already punishable by law, and that the bill, by protecting special classes from "hate," effectively criminalizes thoughts rather than criminal actions.
Dobson was joined on his radio show by Congressmen Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Steve King, R-Iowa.
"Every case they bring up would not be affected one iota, not one bit, by this hate crimes legislation," Gohmert said, "What this bill does is, it starts saying [that] some classes, some types of people, are more important to protect than others. That divides America, it’s un-American."
Bill H.R.1913 states that whoever "attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person" commits a hate crime.
Advocates of the bill, however, have responded to religious critics, pointing out that it includes a clause, in Section 10.4, saying that, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs."
In addition, it states that if one is charged with a hate crime under H.R.1913, "evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial." But Gohmert emphasizes the importance of the next line of the bill: "unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense."
According to Gohmert, if a religious leader teaches "that homosexuality is wrong and someone goes out and commits a crime of violence then [the religious leader] can be arrested for inducing that person to do it and under existing Federal Law you are as guilty as the one who committed the act of violence."
Dobson then quipped in response, "So much for the 1st amendment."
Dobson also expressed his concern that, "The broad definition [of sexual orientation] could mean anything including the 30 forms of sexual deviancy that are listed by the American Psychiatric Association."
Currently the term "sexual orientation" is not defined in the hate crimes bill, and is only defined in one law in the books, a law that is not referenced in the bill. Gohmert said that when a judge is trying to figure out how to define a term that is not defined in the law and does not reference another law, the judge gives the term the plain meaning.
"Some judge is going to finally say, ‘Sexual orientation’ means exactly what the words say: it is whatever you are oriented toward sexually."
Congressman King, in attempting to pre-empt this catch-all definition of "sexual orientation," proposed an amendment that would prevent pedophiles from being protected under H.R.1913. Pedophilia is one of the "sexual orientations" listed by the American Psychiatry Association. The amendment, however, was rejected. "We have a record roll-call vote that shows every Democrat on the judiciary committee voting to have pedophiles protected under sexual orientation," said King.
Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, stated in April, after H.R.1913 passed through Committee but before being passed to the Senate for review, that the hate crimes bill is simply redundant, since "such acts [of violence] are already crimes under state law. What converts the acts targeted by this bill into a federal offense are the thoughts or opinions of the perpetrator alone."
H.R.1913 has passed through the House of Representatives and has been introduced to the Senate as bill S.909.
Focus on the Family Daily : Protecting Our Country’s Future (05/14/09)
(Look for the specific title, this page only loads the most recent program)
House of Representatives Bill H.R.1913
Senate Bill S.909
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Free Speech Concerns Ignored as "Hate Crimes" Bill Passes Fed. Judiciary Committee
Obama Urges House of Representatives to Pass Sexual Orientation "Hate Crimes" Bill
Fed. Judiciary Committee to Examine Homosexualist "Hate Crimes" Bill Monday
Obama’s First 100 Days: The anti-life plan is now established
Pro-Family Group Urges Congress to Oppose Federal "Hate Crimes" Bill Set for Committee Hearing Tomorrow