Pro-family Groups Predict Hate Crimes Laws Will Target Christians

(AgapePress) - One pro-family activist says politicians are eager to pass "hate crimes" laws and that if they succeed, the real targets will not be criminals, but Christians.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. Knight says laws and penalties are already in place for committing crimes, but that adding the term "hate crime" is merely a politically correct emotional response. He says this is dangerous legislation because it attempts to regulate how a person thinks.

"Hate crimes set up special classes of victims that get more government protection than others," Knight says. "This fundamentally violates the equal protection concept of the U.S. Constitution."

"Hate crimes also introduce the un-American concept of 'thought crime' - that's where some thoughts or beliefs that are tied to crimes are actually criminalized," he explains. "You can't go around hitting somebody over the head anyway or burglarizing the house or defacing their garage - these are already illegal. But if you say that some people get more punishment depending on their attitude while they're doing it, now you're setting up different classes of belief."

According to Knight, the day will come when Christians will be charged with hate crimes for simply stating their religious beliefs. "I could see a day when hate crimes laws are being used to silence Christians for merely stating biblical truth about homosexuality," he says. [Those laws will] say homosexuality is something that's okay, and hate crimes against homosexuals are caused by Christians speaking their beliefs."

Forty-four states now have hate crime statutes, citing biases based on factors such as race or ethnicity, with 26 including "sexual orientation."

Christian Labeled 'Hate Group'?

Meanwhile, one pro-family leader in West Virginia believes terminology in that state's hate-crimes training material for law enforcement officers targets Christians as a "hate group." According to Kevin McCoy, director of the West Virginia Family Foundation, Paul Sheridan - the state's assistant attorney general - includes the topic of "sexual orientation" when teaching police across West Virginia a course in hate crimes.

According to a report in The Register-Herald in Beckley, West Virginia, the material includes "homophobia" under the topic of hate group ideology identification. McCoy says under that definition, 95% of West Virginia residents would be considered a hate group. "Unless [Sheridan] would like to give us a different definition of what homophobia means, my contention is this applies to anyone who has a problem with homosexuality," he says.

But McCoy is particularly upset about a later statement identifying hate-mongers: "Some groups include apocalyptic Christianity in their ideology and believe we are in, or are approaching, a period of violence and social turmoil which will precede the Second Coming of Christ."

According to the newspaper, McCoy interprets this statement to mean anyone who takes a literal interpretation of the Bible, particularly those scriptures on prophecy, is automatically part of a hate group. He fears such statements are "laying the foundation for certain types of speech that are not politically correct and how they could be possibly perceived to be not appropriate within the law enforcement community ?."

McCoy's group plans to counter Sheridan's training seminars through "intense networking" with members of Congress and lawmakers and authorities in West Virginia.