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Rep. Barrett stands against "Hate Cime Bill"
posted May 1, 2009
Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 1913,
better known as the Hate Crimes Bill. I opposed this legislation
because I believe it creates a special class of victims, suppresses
religious freedom and criminalizes thought.
Under this bill, justice will no longer be equal. It will depend on a
victim’s race, gender or sexual orientation. This legislation allows
for different penalties to be imposed for the same crime. This bill
clearly violates the 14th Amendment by creating a special class of
victims who deserve some kind of special protection under the law. More
importantly, this legislation unwinds a key thread of our judicial
system by placing a higher value on one life or lifestyle over another.
In addition to creating a special class of victims, this legislation
could allow for the criminal prosecution of religious leaders or
members of religious groups who express the beliefs of their respective
faiths. Pastors, imams and rabbis across the country would now be
forced to question the legality of the words they preach. Consequently,
this bill will inhibit religious freedom in our society.
Unfortunately, constitutionally-protected speech is not the only
freedom jeopardized by the Hate Crimes Bill. This legislation would go
so far as to criminalize thought. No matter how fervently we disagree
with what someone thinks, we cannot punish them for thinking it. It is
the criminal action that merits swift justice; not the thought or
The legislation must still be considered by the Senate and signed by
the President before becoming law. Please be assured that I will
continue to work hard to protect the Constitutional rights of all
Americans. Thank you for your time and as always, please do not
hesitate to contact me should you have any thoughts or concerns.
Rep. Gresham Barrett (R) 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Barretts statement on the floor of the US House here
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