Skip to comments.PA Hate-Speech Law Could Limit Churches
Posted on 07/01/2004 4:39:45 PM PDT by churchillbuff
A law in Pennsylvania may be used to silence pastors in the pulpit, but Christians have vowed to fight for the right to speak to the truth.
We've heard of laws in the Netherlands and Canada that penalize preachers for using the Bible to condemn homosexuality. Now it's happening in America.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has added an amendment to its hate-crimes law that covers something called "harassment by communication."
Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said the new provisions could open clergy to the possibility of prosecution for preaching on God's views of homosexuality.
"The threat is very real and something that needs to be addressed," Geer said. "The pulpit should be definitely a free-speech zone in the United States of America and in Pennsylvania."
Anthony Picarello, chief counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, agreed that the law may be tailored to intimidate pastors, priests and rabbis, but he said his group is ready to defend any pastor who might be charged for speaking out.
"The wording is broad enough that it could be applied (to religious speakers)," Picarello said, "and that's something . . . that the people who crafted the language had in mind."
The offer of free legal help from the Becket Fund to pastors was backed up with 9,000 letters to all houses of worship in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, some pastors are thinking about insurance to cover their sermons.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Web site contains more information about the Pennsylvania law and its implications.
Where is the ACLU on this one?????
I would dare anyone to file charges against our church if the pastor chooses to call homosexuality a sin. We're talking about Freedom of Religion here, folks. DO NOT let Barry Lynn and his commie friends intimidate you into not speaking the Truth!
So the right to free speech and freedom of religion does not belong to Christians who believe the Bible is the word of God? This is ridiculous!! Why do we, the majority, allow this nonsense?
So separation of church and state only belongs to those who oppose Christianity. These people are hypocrites when they say the church has to stay out of politics but they have no problem stepping into the church arena and declaring what is wrong with the church's teaching.
I agree with you. I pity the person who comes into my church and tries to shut up the teaching. They could very well be overtaken by a very angry crowd. The days of the church being "non-involved" are over. You either have to take a stand for what's right, or give up your rights altogether.
In the waning hours of the 105th Congress, quiet efforts to pass controversial legislation are under way.
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act... cites violence based on sexual orientation as a Hate Crime.
Hate Crimes have commonly been racially motivated. Only in Canada has sexual orientation been included in anti-hate and human rights legislation. The Canadian law does not focus exclusively on physical violence-- it includes all forms of communication as well.
...As a Canadian living in the United States, I fear for your freedom, mainly because you take it for granted.
If my words were published in a Canadian newspaper... I would be charged with inciting hate under the criminal code.
Freedom of speech no longer exists in Canada-- I could not state that AIDS is largely found within the homosexual community, nor quote statistics to back up my assertion.
My opinion would make me a criminal. Since "tolerance" has been redefined... only Political Correctness is tolerated...
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a signifigant foot in the door for homosexual rights lobbyists-- it validates the entire... movement as an endangered group in need of special legislative protection.
Violence against any person is already illegal, no matter what the motive.
I find it offensive that violence is noteworthy only when the victim ( is)... a member of some political action group.
This is another GREAT LIE by the liberals, just like scaring all the Christian children about praying in school. Take a stand, for crying out loud! Speak up for your rights! What is wrong with the church community? Why are we allowing government agencies to do this?
"We're talking about Freedom of Religion here, folks."
Well how about Freedom of speech? What if I'm an atheist who thinks homosexuality is wrong? Or what if I think Jews are greedy? Or blacks are no good? Can I no longer voice these views?
I can understand preventing 'stalking' type communication as harrassment, but this bill doesn't sound like that is its aim.
I feel I must add this disclaimer: I'm not an atheist and I don't hold any of the above views, other than that I think homosexuality IS a deviency and a sin.
Are they monitoring the mosques for what THEY have to say on this topic???
It blows my mind how Christians are perceived as intolerant neanderthals, but the Moose Limbs are revered as a multicultural icon.
If just one person could tell me what's up with that, I'd be amazed. It's NEVER discussed, in the media or in "polite" company.
Agreed. It didn't even occur to me that EVERYONE will be affected by this sort of outrageous legislation. I would expect it in Canada or Europe, but certainly not in the United States of America!
I think this is a bluff by the left to intimidate churches from speaking out.
Seems to me Barry Lynn ought to be one of the first preachers picked up to be prosecuted for violating the "harassment by communication" law.
Doesn't suprise me a bit, this kind of thing has been in the works for a long time now. The day is coming when churches will be threatened with losing their tax exempt status if they refuse to tow the government-mandated politically correct line. Looks like the Keystone State is getting a little taste of this already.
I see. Saying that abhorrent and perverse behavior is offensive is illegal if you're a Christian. Saying that you advocate legalizing sex between old men and boys who are six years old (NAMBLA) isn't. We are losing our country. I see crap like this and I feel the urge to pick up my shotgun and go defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and *domestic*. Why don't these people just come right out and seize our guns, put us in "re-education" camps, abduct and brainwash our kids, burn our villages, and kill us off like Hitler did to the Jews? I could at least respect their honesty. But no, the bastards have to sneak around. *Not that I encourage this* but if there just happened to be a few dead Democrats lubricating the Tree of Liberty with their blood the Tree might be a little greener.
When will people learn that seperation of church and state does not mean seperation of faith and state.
You are not alone in your feelings. I seriously think there will be civil uprisings, if not a civil war, when people finally get fed up. And I expect them soon.
I'd hold off on believing this one folks. A quick google search show no one commenting on this other than this Becket organization. A quick review of the current "harrassment by communication" statute in Penn. reveals that it deals with telepone communications only. It prohibts a repeated course of action of using phone calls to harrass someone when there is no legitimate intent to communicate. For example, repeated calling someone and either threatening or cussing them out. I'm thinking this is just some organization trying to stir up some contributions.
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