SENATE PASSES HATE BILL!
YET DEMOCRATS COMPROMISE
By Rev. Ted Pike
16 July 09
Sen. Patrick Leahy’s hate crimes bill, amending the National
Defense Authorization Act, effectively passed the Senate tonight at
about eleven o’clock p.m. EDT. A call for cloture, or termination
of debate after thirty hours, was passed 63 to 28. Clearly, the Senate
majority had spoken. Once cloture is invoked there is usually little
more that can be done to resist.
There was no floor debate. A complete end run had been done around
adequate Senate hearings, a Mark-up session and Rules Committee debate.
Total Senate debate of the hate bill amounted to little more than a
brief “kangaroo” hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee
several weeks ago. Witnesses, which included Attorney General Eric
Holder were stacked 4 to 2 against conservatives.
Passage occurred despite massive protest from the Christian/conservative
right (even more than yesterday) with only the very smallest percentage
of calls today in favor of the hate bill.
Yet Protest Made a Difference
Earlier Thursday evening the Senate finally assembled a quorum and
voted down, 62 to 29, Sen. Hatch’s amendment. It would require
the federal government to conduct a study to determine if the states
are not enforcing the law against violent hate crimes. Citing Attorney
General Eric Holder’s recent testimony in Judiciary, Hatch confirmed
that states are already “doing
a good job.”
Then Senator Sam Brownback submitted an amendment which would include
in the hate bill the most specific statement (part of the "Religious
Freedom Act," passed in 1993 by Congress 97-3) that only speech
that threatens imminent incitement of violence will be punishable under
the hate bill. Speech that falls short of such actual incitement will
Sen. Leahy earlier said he had no problem with inclusion of Brownback’s
amendment. Although he voted against it, the amendment passed overwhelmingly
78-13. Approval of Brownback’s amendment is a great victory,
testimony to the pressure put on liberals even in the past two days.
Most Senate Democrats were clearly eager to mollify, to some degree,
the overwhelming anger at the hate bill from their constituents this
week. Their House counterparts, under far less pressure eleven weeks
ago, would never have made such a concession.
Inclusion of Brownback’s amendment should help safeguard free
speech from the pulpit or airwaves, except in the cases of the most
blatant, immediate incitement to violence. It helps neutralize the
extremely threatening language of the 1968 hate crimes law, Title
18, sec. 2A, which says if anyone “induces,” through
speech, commission of a violent hate crime the speaker will be tried “as
a principal” alongside
the active offender in federal court.
S. 909 remains a massive invasion of state’s rights in law
enforcement in violation of the 10th Amendment. It violates the 14th
Amendment by exalting certain groups, including homosexual pedophiles,
above the majority. But, thanks to massive pressure on liberal Senators,
especially during the last two days, and the initiative of Sen. Brownback,
at least the 1st Amendment may not be as imminently
threatened as before.
Let the Anti-Defamation League teach you how they have saddled 45 states with
hate laws capable of persecuting Christians, and spearhead attempts to pass the
federal hate crimes bill: http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
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