This week, members of Congress hijacked a bill authorizing funding for America's military to advance the social agenda of advocates for homosexuality. A cornerstone of this social agenda is to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the classes of persons traditionally protected in civil rights and anti-discrimination laws. Signed by President Obama on Wednesday, the new funding law creates a special class of federal crime for violence committed "because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person." Of course, we can all agree that violent crime against anyone is despicable and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, this so-called "hate crimes" law treats victims of the same crime unequally, based solely on the government's assessment of the wrongdoer's thoughts at the time of the crime.
Additionally, "hate crimes" laws have been used in other countries to silence pastors who preach biblical truth about homosexuality. This new law says that it is not to be used to infringe any First Amendment rights, so, while this remains a serious concern, we will have to wait and see how it is applied. In the mean time, Christians and pastors should continue to speak the truth in love about what the Bible teaches about sexual immorality. It's important to cut through the misinformation and seek the truth about the "hate crimes" law. Navigate to page 646 of this PDF version of the bill. You can also read constitutional analyses of a similar bill by Heritage Foundation and ADF and view talking points from Focus on the Family Action. And please make sure your pastor is aware of these informative items from reliable sources.
Your Arizona Lawmakers
Since the "hate crimes" provision was rolled into the much larger national defense authorization bill, the recorded votes are not necessarily good indicators of any particular senator's or representative's position for or against the "hate crimes" legislation. Only the Senate voted in isolation on the "hate crimes" amendment, and Arizona Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain both voted "no" on that amendment. The House voted on a separate "hate crimes" bill earlier in the year. Final votes in the House and Senate were based on the entire bill containing the "hate crimes" provisions, as well as all of the funding for the U.S. military. Meanwhile, state Representative Kyrsten Sinema traveled to D.C. to celebrate the passage of the "hate crimes" law at the White House's bill-signing ceremony.
Where Will the Money Go?
Part of the new "hate crimes" law includes a grant program for state and local governments. The grant money will be used, in part, to address "the concerns and needs of ... community groups and schools, colleges, and universities." Watch for this to fund more of the programs we see surfacing in schools by groups that advocate for homosexuality.
Victory for School Choice!
About ready for some good news? Arizona families received a big victory this week when the Arizona Supreme Court denied review of a lawsuit brought by school choice opponents against the corporate scholarship tax credit. The Court of Appeals had ruled that the program is constitutional, so that decision remains in force, and both the individual and corporate tax credit programs remain valid.