FROM: Jerry Falwell
WHY I OPPOSE HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION: In this age of politically-
correct reasoning, it has become fashionable to support hate crimes
legislation because - on the surface - such laws would help to
curtail violent crimes against targeted minorities. However, as with
most issues, one must look below the surface of hate crimes laws to
distinguish what is the ultimate consequence of their passage. I
believe that those individuals who brutalize, vandalize or kill - for
whatever reasons - should be swiftly punished to the fullest extent
of the law. But politicizing such individuals' actions, in my
opinion, is dangerous and reckless. In fact, the ultimate victims of
hate crimes laws will be religious conservatives who embrace the
Bible as their ultimate authority. We need look no further than
Canada to understand how hate crimes have created an environment that
is hostile to Christians.
My Old Time Gospel Hour broadcast has aired weekly in Canada for
thirty years. However, today I cannot air the same broadcast there
that is utilized here in the U.S. In the Canadian broadcast, I
cannot mention anything regarding homosexuality or partial-birth
abortion because the government there has enacted far-reaching laws
that prevent any criticism of those issues. Even though the Bible is
very clear on the sanctity of human life and presents a clear design
for sexual morality, the Canadian government shuns those biblical
tenets because they are offensive to protected classes of
Christian organizations are facing severe legal threats in Canada.
As a prime example, a private Christian school in Canada is currently
involved in a legal showdown because it upholds biblical guidelines
of behavior for its students. The observance of these biblical
values has led to the legal confrontation between Trinity Western
University and the British Columbia College of Teachers. The
College, which sets professional standards for public school
teachers, has balked at certifying the teaching program at Trinity
simply because the university's code of conduct forbids homosexual
activity. The College of Teachers ruled that the code will produce
teachers who are likely to discriminate against homosexual students.
This is nothing but double-speak - with no legal precedent - that is
designed to malign Christians.
On the other hand, a Canadian school board is presently being coerced
to include three books with same-sex characters into the school
library. While a few American schools have chosen to utilize similar
books, the difference is that, in Canada, the British Columbia
Supreme Court overturned the Surrey School Board's ban on the books
(although the Court of Appeal later upheld an appeal by the board).
The Court of Appeal ruled that teachers may voluntarily use books
dealing with same-sex families in the classroom.
Attorney Gwen Brodsky, who represents EGALE (Equality for Gays and
Lesbians Everywhere), a Canadian homosexual-rights organization,
said, "In fact, the Court of Appeal makes it clear that school boards
have a positive duty to espouse the values in the Constitution,
including the constitutional principle of non-discrimination based on
sexual orientation. Under the terms of this ruling, the Surrey
School Board is not permitted to interfere with the professional
judgment of teachers who choose to use the books in the classroom to
teach about the diversity of Canadian family life."
Ultimately, EGALE wants all schools to be required to maintain the
books. Christians in America should learn an important lesson from
our northern neighbors. Politicians there - many with good
intentions - have created an environment that is antagonistic toward
those who choose to recognize God's laws. And I see our nation
following in this same perilous path.
Already in our nation, the Boy Scouts of America have faced the wrath
of homosexual-rights groups who oppose the group's morality
requirement for leaders - a provision that prohibits homosexual
behavior. Homosexual leaders charge that such a morality clause is
motivated by "hate." Last week, a Manhattan school district barred
schools from sponsoring Boy Scout troops because the organization
excludes homosexuals. There is potential for this resolution to be
adopted statewide. The Boy Scouts continue to be targeted by
homosexuals and leftist social engineers solely because the
organization attempts to create a moral and principled environment
for young boys to learn to be upright future leaders.
Those who adhere to Judeo-Christian standards of living are being
portrayed as hate-filled bigoted villains who need to have their
thoughts, their speech, their beliefs and their actions regulated by
As his presidential tenure comes to a close, Bill Clinton is sternly
pressuring Congress to enact new hate crime legislation in our
nation, specifically the so-called Hate Crimes Protection Act. I
pray that he fails - not because I embrace hate-motivated crimes, but
because the laws camouflage a dangerous political effort that could
ultimately silence millions of Americans.
Timothy J. Dailey of the Family Research Council said that such hate
crimes laws would have "a chilling effect" on free speech by making
currently unpopular ideas a basis for harsher treatment of criminal
"Opponents frequently assert that federal 'hate crime' legislation
such as HCPA would prohibit only acts of violence, not speech," he
said. "However, HCPA would incorporate current federal law, which
already specifically includes speech, making it unlawful to injure,
intimidate, or interfere with any person because of his or her 'race,
color, religion, or national origin.'"
Mr. Dailey noted that the Hate Crimes Reporting Act of 1990 mandated
that the FBI include "intimidation."
"Nearly half of the 'hate crimes' in the 1997 FBI statistics are in
this category," he stated. "Passage of HCPA would make name-calling
literally a federal offense."
Under this law, a minister who preached from Romans Chapter 1 - a
chapter that expressly forbids the practice of homosexuality - could
be slapped with a hate crimes offense.
That is why Christians need to beware of such laws.
A nation with such a splendid history of political debate and social
deliberation should not be in the business of silencing the views,
opinions - and even words - of a vast segment of the population
simply because that group espouses contrary beliefs. In this regard,
hate crimes laws are not only dangerous, they are downright un-