Americans Following Canada’s Lead   WASHINGTON, May 16, 2002 ( – Liberal churchmen have joined far-left Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy in his campaign to pass a new hate crime bill. Gordon Smith, a Republican Senator from Oregon is also pushing the proposed legislation. The religious coalition includes Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Sikh clergy. This latest initiative, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, would allow federal law enforcement officials to intervene in local criminal investigations if “bias” on the basis of certain designated categories is believed to have been a motivating factor for the crime. Those categories are gender, disability, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. The bill would require several other conditions to be met before the feds could take over the investigation, including cooperation from the local officials in the state in which the offence took place. The bill is expected to come before the Senate as early as next week.  A Christian critique of this hate crime law has been provided by Focus on the Family spokesman Glenn Stanton. He told Cybercast News Service that governments should punish tangible crimes, not the perceived thoughts of the heart. “How can you determine that?” he asked. “Hate itself is not a crime,” he added, explaining that it is not right to treat one “crime [as being] worse than another because of who this person is or because of what this person represents.” The message such an approach sends is that the crime is not as serious if it is carried out against somebody who does not fit into one of the groups identified in the law.  See: