Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 7/9/2009 6:00:00 AM
Today is National "Stop S. 909" Day.
The American Family Association, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and other conservative activist groups are urging their supporters to call, e-mail, fax, or visit their senators today to express their disapproval of S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Senate Bill 909). The bill would authorize the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute certain bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., a member of the conservative coalition known as the Arlington Group, says the measure would have a chilling effect on the religious liberty of pastors. "Back in 2006, [Democratic Representative] Artur Davis from Alabama, who will be running for governor by the way in that great state, made a statement to [Representative] Louie Gohmert [R-Texas] in a [House] subcommittee meeting that a pastor could be held liable or [as] a co-conspirator of sorts in a hate crime if we found out that his preaching and teaching incited -- according to their thinking -- someone to commit a violent act against someone that is gay," Jackson explains. In the previous Congress, Senate Democrats tried to add hate-crimes legislation as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. Many conservative activists expect that will be attempted again before the August recess.