Evangelicals Enter Hate Bill Fight!
Activism; Posted on: 2009-04-06 14:51:34 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
A New "Hate Bill"
By Rev. Ted Pike
If there is one thing Rep. John Conyers did not want, it was premature news that his extremely dangerous new federal hate crimes bill (HR 1913) had been entered into the House Judiciary. A milder, shortened version (HR 256) was introduced in early January to take any flak against hate crimes legislation. The much more threatening version, HR 1913, contains all that is necessary to establish a hate crimes bureaucracy in America. Shielded as long as possible, it has 42 co-sponsors and is a polished weapon for destroying free speech. Conyers wanted to stealthily introduce it just before spring recess of Congress last Thursday—to be rapidly pushed to victory when members of Congress return April 20.
Dishonest legislators avoid introducing alarming legislation amid the floodlights surrounding the beginning of a new session of Congress. They wait until the last minutes of a session, just as the lights are just being turned off!
Conyers must have been delighted at the lack of opposition from the mainstream religious right since early January. He knows most Christian "watchdog" groups won’t act until the final bill, with title and bill number, is established. This was the situation last week: virtually all such opponents were silent. Our NPN poll showed protest calls to Judiciary members down to a dismal average of one per day!
But on Wednesday my e-alert warned “Conyers Introducing New Hate Bill!” Its effect was electric. The next day, Republican offices reported receiving "many calls" objecting to Conyers' new hate bill. Already Conyers’ cherished legal weapon was being splattered with mud by the conservative right!
Throughout Thursday, Conyers must have had second thoughts about introducing his hate bill. Perhaps he thought to minimize the damage by not giving the hate bill a name and number. Even at 5:30 EST Thursday evening, a spokesman for Judiciary said Conyers might not enter it until April 20.
But on Friday morning, there it was: HR 1913, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Although not yet posted on the government website, this new bill is undoubtedly identical to HR 1592 which passed the House in 2007.
Watchdogs Begin to Bark
Meanwhile, the religious right was beginning to awaken. Through my Wednesday article, discovery of the lurking hate bill was trumpeted all over the internet. Responding to my encouragement, many called those groups I had listed within "The Hate Bill Hall of Shame," asking why they were doing nothing. Result: Some leadership groups scrambled into action.
* Late Thursday night, WorldNetDaily published a strong article announcing Conyers’ hate bill. WND also links to a short but powerful video critical of hate laws, a recording of Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) speaking on the floor of the House in 2007. Gohmert, one of the feistiest hate bill enemies in the House Judiciary, is (like most Judiciary Republicans) vowing a bitter fight against the hate bills. Just like two years ago, they are powerfully energized by calls of protest and deeply grateful for them. They agree with NPN that the only sensible place to defeat the hate bills is in Judiciary, not the floor of the House.
* Although the spokeswoman for the California branch of Traditional Values Coalition told my research assistant Friday that she “didn’t even know there was a hate bill in Congress until yesterday,” TVC quickly posted an excellent, stiff call to action against the bill.
* On Friday, Concerned Women for America featured a gripping radio interview with a Canadian Christian describing how free speech has become extinct in Canada. While mentioning that there is a hate bill in Congress, they gave no details concerning the present threat from Conyers’ bill.
* WorldNetDaily’s article says “Tony Perkins of FRC was also busy alerting his constituents” to the threat of Conyers' bill. How that is happening is unclear since as of Sunday, April 5, FRC’s homepage still has no alert posted.
Our Battle Strategy
Over this weekend, the homepages of most large conservative groups (except TVC) remain barren of any warning. But expect that to rapidly change. Conyers’ evil hate bill is important news to the evangelical right. Every new right watchdog must be seen by their followers as taking action.
One caller last Thursday was told by Focus on the Family that they have suspected HR 256 was not the real hate bill liberals wanted; their plan was to take no action until the final bill appeared. Focus sets policy standards for a galaxy of Christian activist groups nationwide. I’m sure Focus repeated this defeatist message to many over the past three months.
I only pray that Focus, and all previously silent watchdogs, do not continue their three month "vacation" from the hate bill issue! They should not wait until Congress reconvenes April 20. Phone lines are often jammed when Congress returns. Conyers is the powerful head of the House Judiciary Committee and is backed by Democratic House leaders; together, they could move HR 1913 out of Judiciary and onto the floor in a few days! They've moved that quickly before. With feisty Republicans fighting the hate bill in Judiciary, there is hope. On the floor of the House, there is almost no hope of defeating the hate bill, regardless of protest.
We are already very, very late in this battle. Congressional offices will be open during business hours until Congress returns April 20. Evangelical and conservative leaders should instruct their millions of constituents to follow these general suggestions:
1. Call your members of the House and Senate at 1-877-851-6437 or toll 1-202-225-3121. Leave this message: Please don't vote for Rep. Conyers' dangerous new hate crimes bill HR 1913.
2. Call the state offices of your two US Senators and the House member from your district. Their names can be found by dialing the numbers above. The capitol operator will provide them after you give your zip code. Numbers for their state offices can be found on the internet or by calling your public library. Leave the same message.
3. Emphasize that there are powerful 10-minute videos at www.truthtellers.org-- must-sees to understand the danger of hate laws! Already, many staffers in Congress, both liberal and conservative, tell callers they are watching our videos. If this trend continues, the truth about hate laws will spread like a benevolent virus through Congress. Liberals will fear their hate bill’s humiliation by a sixth defeat and prefer to let it die in Judiciary.
God has given us a miraculous reprieve of at least two weeks to redeem our effort to save freedom. We should bow ourselves before Him in gratitude and cry out for His mercy and protection in this time of enormous legislative peril. Let’s anticipate the National Day of Prayer a month early by fasting and praying for divine deliverance. Churches must stand on Psalm 91 and begin prayer chains of intercession against the hate bill!
While Western Voices has no connection with Pastor Pike or his ministry, we encourage all readers to support this important work. Please make your friends and family, especially if they are evangelicals, conscious of this great resource in the cause of freedom.
News Source: National Prayer Network