Hate Crimes Legislation Induces Right Wing Paranoia

Earlier this week, Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee introduced H. R. 256, the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, and a piece of companion legislation in the House of Representatives and already the right is freaking out.

The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has launched a petition telling its activists that the legislation will “directly threaten your freedom of speech and religion" while Vision America, via Tips-Q, is proclaiming that, if passed, Christians are going to be rounded-up and tossed in prison:

This legislation will stifle Biblical preaching and thus prevent Pastors from sharing with their congregations and homosexuals that homosexuality is wrong and that those who practice such sin without repentance will not only suffer the consequences in this life, but in the life to come. 

The small print is clear – you could be indicted if someone simply overhears you speaking out against homosexuality, or any other group protected by the law, and commits an act of violence as a result.

Of course, if you actually bother to read the “small print” and look at the legislation, this is what you find:

      (2)(A) Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, in any circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of any person--

            `(i) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in accordance with this title, or both; and

            `(ii) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or fined in accordance with this title, or both, if--

                  `(I) death results from the acts committed in violation of this paragraph; or

                  `(II) the acts committed in violation of this paragraph include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.

      `(B) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this subparagraph are that--

            `(i) in connection with the offense, the defendant or the victim travels in interstate or foreign commerce, uses a facility or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce, or engages in any activity affecting interstate or foreign commerce; or

            `(ii) the offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.'.

Now, unless the folks at Vision America and the CADC are planning on burning, shooting, or blowing up any person falling into the protect class, or the property of such a person, then they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.  

Do they really think that their freedom of speech or religion is threatened by legislation that makes it illegal to burn, shoot, or blow up gays?