Discussion needed on H.R. 1913 ... Hate Speech

We need to discuss proposed legislation in the House of Representatives covering hate speech. H.R. 1913. I got an email suggesting it was going to be snuck in with minimal debate but that public interest resulted in committee hearings.

Here are some of the particulars


Catholics have already become targets of persecution in Canada as a result of laws like this. The USA looks to be next. Here are 2 related stories.



I think the claim that this legislation is about hate speech is unfounded. Al, could you cite the provision in the bill which is about hate speech?

I think I’ve heard about this on the christian radio station I listen to. It’s my understanding that under this “law” a preacher can’t speak out against homosexuality during his sermon/homily without getting into trouble.

You don’t appear concerned enough to listen to those Christ sent either.

This seems to be one of the aims. To continue, I don’t think it just stops at preachers or priests.

The Truth is “unfounded” in Iowa. A state that just remove husband and wife from the marriage vows and now says “Part a and Party b”.

What a joke that is! Soon i will be able to marry 23 women and my dog Bailey in Iowa!

All crimes are hate crimes! All crimes are horrible. If i murder an innocent woman and then i murder an innocent gay person, should i be punished more severely for the gay murder???

I can legally murder my innocent baby by abortion and receive no civil (only eternal) punishment. That is the ultimate hate crime, to murder your own baby, your own flesh and blood!!!

i would hate to abort my only precious baby and then find out i can’t have any other children! That is truly a living Hell!!!

No wonder so many millions around the world hate us, we are such hypocrites!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


That is a remarkably uncharitable thing to say, since you have no grounds to say it.

Again, I would have to ask exactly what provisions in the bill would do such thing. That claim sounds like fear-mongering.

Really? Well first thing to establish for your benefit, is that genuine charity must be at the service of the truth. I have told you the truth, which if you respected and obeyed universal truth, would lead you closer to God. For your own sake, I recommend that you please adopt a little humility and proceed as Christ asked. There are solid grounds for me telling you this.

In deference to your statement, and in line with reality, I do indeed have grounds. If you followed those whom Christ sent, and obeyed Christ, you would be Catholic. This is truth, which describes reality which Christ established. That you don’t understand, doesn’t mean it is not true. It simply means you unfortunately are out of touch with this truth which describes reality. Therefore, once again, my comment was on solid ground. I fully expect that you would object, which is all the more reason you need to listen to those whom Christ sent to continue His mission, which are today the Pope and Bishops in union with the Pope.

Okay, you are entitled to that opinion. But it has nothing to do with the accuracy of the claim of this thread: that HR 1913 is about hate speech.

Rather than some knee-jerk ad hominem, you might want to read the article. This does appear to be a lie someone started. The bill does not address hate speech, but hate crime and specifies two criteria, that it is a felony and that it is violent.

OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN- Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of** fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person**, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person–

Actually, it doesn’t quite require violence; only that it causes bodily harm. “Mental/Physical” cases abound in the law. That is, cases in which a mental stress causes a physical reaction (e.g., headache, vomiting, physical pain or discomfort of any kind). Those are considered “bodily harm”, even though there might be no physical contact at all.

The title of this thread includes the words “Hate speech.” So, wouldn’t that mean that if someone was insulted due to what a preacher said, couldn’t that person call it that? Lets look at a few things that might end up in the pile. Preaching against homosexuals, quite naturally, be the first. How about couples living together outside of marriage. Couldn’t they have the claim if that’s spoken out about? Almost anything can be said to be hate speech. If that passes, we may find that there are very few things that we will be allowed to talk about.

Not by any definition I have ever heard. While you are right about mental anguish, legally bodily harm is used to specify harm to ones body. I would think that the modifiers of fire, explosive devices, firearms, would make this clear.

Another thing about this bill is that it does not create new laws, but rather is a funding bill. The only reason any definitions are given are to clarify the guidelines of the grant process.

Yes, ChristyBeth, but if you read the bill it isn’t about hate speech. The title is in error.

But many are concerned that the law is vaguely written and will lead to hate-speech prosecutions. Reportedly the law allows for prosecution of hate-speech which is related to the commission of a crime. An example of this has already happened in Canada.
Pastor Boission is a good example of how this law could prosecute speech here in the U.S… The commission asserted that his letter to the newspaper proclaiming the Biblical basis for seeing homosexual acts as sinful may have contributed to the later beating of a teenager in his area.

Here is a article listing the free-speech concerns the last time the hate crime bill came up… catholic.net/index.php?size=mas&id=2383&option=dedestaca

Drew Mariani (Relevant Radio) mentioned his concern over this bill today and provided this link on his site… onenewsnow.com/Politics/Default.aspx?id=494798

Lifesite news also reported on the possible restrictions on religious speech encountered by this bill… lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041714.html

The attempted silencing (in Canada) of Catholic Bishop Fred Henry and Fr. de Valk on the Church’s teachings in this area should give us pause… catholicexchange.com/2008/06/04/112780/

Also Senators are voicing their concerns about this bill and how it may affect religious speech.

There is a report and a petition sponsored by the Family Research Council …frcaction.org/get.cfm?i=AL09D05

I checked out your sites. They seemed concerned over things other than this particular bill, either the one attempted under Bush or the slippery slope that a hate speech bill may follow. I did not see any quotes from the bill yet, here or there, that justifies that fear, though.

This day and age, the internet has made such fears contagious. So many things have started out as rumors and evovled into urban myths. Yes, we may some day have laws that persecute Christians, as they do in Canada, but I simply can’t find it in this bill. I will re-read it.

Neither you or I will be able to be certain how this legislation will be implemented. It will be up to the courts to decide what constitutes conspiracy to commit a hate crime. Personally I don’t have a great deal of confidence in our judiciary at the present time. Since there are many in congress who see the language contained in this bill as problematic, there is reason for concern.

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, agreed, saying the legal framework that the bill establishes will virtually guarantee the eventual prosecution of religious leaders who speak against homosexuality.

“H.R. 1913 broadly defines ‘intimidation,’” Lafferty said. “A pastor’s sermon could be considered ‘hate speech’ under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any sexual orientation. The pastor could be prosecuted for ‘conspiracy to commit a hate crime.’ ”

Lafferty told CNSNews.com that during committee markup of identical legislation in 2007, one of the bill’s cosponsors, Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), admitted that the hate-crime legislation would not exempt a pastor from prosecution in that scenario.

“H.R. 1913 broadly defines ‘intimidation,’” Lafferty said. “A pastor’s sermon could be considered ‘hate speech’ under this legislation if heard by an individual who then acts aggressively against persons based on any sexual orientation. The pastor could be prosecuted for ‘conspiracy to commit a hate crime.’ ”

I read the full article. I went back and did a search. The bill does not define intimidation. It does not even mention it. I did a search on several variations of the word and can not find it. Again,** in the bill**, where is speech or an sort of verbal anything even mentioned?

Here is a searchable link.


FYI - I do not like this bill on several levels. I just do not think it is doing what people are claiming it does.

There has been a couple of tries here in Kansas to put a out a bill with this sort of thing. I can’t remember exactly what it covered, hate crime/speech/whatever, but it got one group up in arms. I’m sure most of you have heard of Fred Phelps. He and his group thought that this was targeting them. So they managed to get it killed before it got very far. Beware any bill that gets a group going against it. It well may be the nightmare given life.

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