Friday, May 11, 2007

AFA of PA ACTION ALERT- Hate Crimes Petition Deadline Extended



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P.O. Box 1048

149 Summit Drive

Franklin, PA   16323

Phone:  1.814.271.9078   FAX:  1.814.437.5432




May 10, 2007


Vote on Senate Hate (Thought) Crimes Bill May be Next Week


We don’t know yet when the vote will be, but there was no action this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee on S 1105 – the Senate version of the hate (thought) crimes bill.  So . . . there is still time to circulate our petition or sign online.


To better understand the impact this bill will have on the First Amendment rights of those with deeply held religious beliefs that homosexual acts are sinful, please consider the following article about hate crimes legislation from Dr. Rob Gagnon’s website.  Dr. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.


“Any public words against homosexual practice could be treated legally as words that incite others to violence and/or discrimination against homosexual persons, and thus subject to criminal prosecution. All that one needs to know about such a hate-speech bill can be summed up by the following conversation between two members of the House Committee on the Judiciary on Apr. 25, 2007, Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who opposed the “sexual orientation hate” law, and Congressman Arthur Davis (D-Alabama), who supported it (note that all 23 Democrats in the committee supported the Hate Crimes bill; all 17 Republicans opposed it).  


Congressman Gohmert: If a minister preaches that sexual relations outside of marriage of a man and woman is wrong, and somebody within that congregation goes out and does an act of violence, and that person says that that minister counseled or induced him through the sermon to commit that act, are you saying under your amendment that in no way could that ever be introduced against the minister?


Congressman Davis: No.


In other words, Gohmert was asking whether Davis’s amendment allegedly safeguarding free speech would prevent a pastor from being held legally liable if a parishioner who committed a violent act against a homosexual person misconstrued the pastor’s sermon as an inducement to violence. Davis’s answer was “no,” such a pastor might be held legally liable in such circumstances. Democrats also turned back an amendment proposed by Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) to the effect that nothing in the bill should be construed as to “limit the religious freedom of any person or group under the Constitution.”  


Click here to read Dr. Gagnon’s entire article on the hate crimes bill.   


To read the entire transcript of the House Committee on the Judiciary meeting of April 25th  from pages 192-215 click here.  Please note that Chairman John Conyers of Michigan acknowledges on page 209 beginning with line 4931 that discussion of this issue was not finalized, but they HAD to vote.  “Chairman Conyers: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have not concluded with finality this discussion, but we do require that a vote on the amendment be taken before we go to vote.’”


Since the vote in the U.S. Senate did not take place this week, we’ve extended the deadline to sign our petition to Senators Specter and Casey until next Friday, May 18th.   You can download a copy and circulate it, by clicking here or you can sign online by clicking here.  Please return the print copy by next Friday either via postal service or fax.  The contact  information is at the bottom of the petition.  


The AFA of PA will continue closely monitoring the situation and will determine by the end of next week whether we will once again extend the deadline passed May 18.


Please forward this alert to at least one person in Pennsylvania.




1.)  If you have not signed our online petition, click here.   If you’d like to circulate a petition, please click here and return by May 18th.  


2.)  Please contact Senator Specter’s and Senator Casey’s district office nearest you and ask them to vote ‘No’ on S. 1105.  Click here for Senator Specter’s contact information.  Click here for Senator Casey’s contact information. 


3.)   Please forward this alert to at least one other concerned Pennsylvanian.  If this alert is being forwarded to you by a friend, please feel free to sign up by clicking here.  


4.)  Please consider supporting the ongoing work of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania.  Make an online donation.


In His service,


Diane Gramley


American Family Association of PA



AFA of PA encourages Christians, through education, to become involved in pro-family issues in their community, state and the nation.


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