Brethren are being warned about the passage, in the U.S. House, of H.R. 1913. The bill is called the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The warnings tell of future prosecution or persecution of preachers who speak Biblically against homosexuality.
We are all sensitive to any threat against the pulpit. Some in our culture would love to stop all preaching especially that which brings to light their own sins (John 3:19). God’s men have preached against sin in good times and in bad and will continue to do so no matter what threats may appear (2 Timothy 4:2).
H.R. 1913 will not shut down the pulpit as warned by some and likely will not open the door for federal seizures of preacher’s computers, books, files etc.
Here are some things about the bill typically left out of the dire warnings:
- Hate crimes against religion are protected in this bill along with hate crimes against “NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY” (actual language, Section 6).
- The bill specifically targets those who commit a crime “through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerouse [sic] weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device” (actual language, Section 6).
- The bill specifically excludes any activities protected by the Constitution (Section 8). The First Amendment secures our right to practice religion and to engage in free speech.
Homosexuality is sinful (Romans 1:26, 27) and should be opposed. But let us be so careful in our church bulletins and our emails. Inaccurate reporting of legislation, although with good, solid motives, is harmful and should be avoided.
The larger question is whether preacher’s will stand for truth or cave in to the latest fad or trend. Even if the government should somehow ban preaching altogether, faithful men will continue to preach the words of God loudly and publically.
If you are still concerned you should know that your local Congressman, Jo Bonner, voted against the measure. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where your Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is the ranking member.