The Criminalization of Christianity

November 5, 2009 at 11:04 pm (Christian news) (, , , , , , , , , , )

It’s nearly noon on any given weekday. You’re feeling hungry, so you head to your local diner and grab a booth in the back. It’s quiet, almost too quiet for a normally busy diner at lunchtime. You look around and realize you are alone in the diner except for a man in a suit behind the counter. You catch his eye and he immediately stands and walks over to you, introducing himself as the manager. He asks what you’d like to drink and if you are ready to order.  Because you are watching your waistline as well as your wallet, you order a water and a $2.99 garden salad with low-fat dressing.

The manager scowls at you, then heads behind the counter to prepare your salad and drink.  He returns with your food and a sour face, leaving the check as he walks away.  You see him pick up the phone and dial a number while looking in your direction.  He speaks for a moment then hangs up. A smug smile creeps across his face.

A few minutes later, two uniformed police officers enter the diner and walk directly to your table. They tell you to put the fork down and stand up. As you do, one of the officers grabs you roughly and slams you down on the table on top of your salad. They cuff you and lead you off as they read you your rights. You ask them what you are being charged with and they tell you that you are accused of a hate crime. The manager of the diner was offended that you would come in and only spend $3.17 on your lunch.

“Don’t you understand how much it costs to keep the lights on, to keep the diner climate controlled, to keep the food cold, to cook the food, and to pay the manager a decent salary,” they ask?

I say that’s crazy! Where’s your proof? We are still innocent until proven guilty in this country, aren’t we?

The officer said yes, but the proof is that the manager felt offended, and that constitutes a hate crime.

*   *   *   *   *

What crap, you say? That sort of thing could never happen in America, you say?

Well, think again.

Last Wednesday, President Obama signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil rights legislation empowering African-Americans.

The new law expands federal hate crimes to include those committed against people because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It also loosens limits on when federal law enforcement can intervene and prosecute crimes, amounting to the biggest expansion of the civil-rights era law in decades.

“No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love,” Obama said in an East Room reception, surrounded by joyous supporters. “No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are, or because they live with a disability.”

But does it violate first amendment freedom of speech liberties? Maybe.

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley explained that it “provides special penalties based on what people think, feel, or believe.”

“ADF has clearly seen the evidence of where ‘hate crimes’ legislation leads when it has been tried around the world: It paves the way for the criminalization of speech that is not deemed ‘politically correct,'” Stanley explained. “‘Hate crimes’ laws fly in the face of the underlying purpose of the First Amendment, which was designed specifically to protect unpopular speech.”

The ADF analysis said, “The emotion of hate is an unfortunate reality of the human experience. But it is not a crime unless accompanied by a criminal action – and even then it is the action that is within the police power of the government, not the emotion. The reality is that ‘hate’ crime laws are designed to punish people for what they think, feel, or believe. The crime itself that is committed is already punished under various federal and state criminal laws. The only thing added … is punishment for what a person thinks, feels, or believes. That intent is diametrically opposed to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

But hate crimes legislation is here to stay, and only likely to get worse as time goes on. For now, there is a thin layer of protection for pastors and preachers who denounce homosexuality as a sin, but even that is likely to be removed in the near future.

What began as protecting a group of people from violence has become special rights for a special class of people who can “fight back” anytime they “feel” offended by a word, a look, or even a belief.

We are witnessing the beginning of the criminalization of Christianity.

“Even so, Lord Jesus, come soon!”

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