The Hate Crimes Prevention Act HR 1966 which has passed the Congress by overwhelming margins is now facing hearings in the Senate. The most dangerous part of the Bill which is a direct assault against the First Amendment is that it allows for the prosecution as accomplices in a hate crime for talk show pundits that the person who commits the alleged crime claims to influence their actions.
Here is the essential text:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce [radio, TV, internet] any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. (HR 1966, SEC 3, Sec. 881a)
Reverend Ted Pike of the National Prayer Network says that “this means that if any pastor, talk show host or guest, or anyone communicating on radio or the internet is repeatedly “hostile” to the practice of homosexuality and “intends” to cause “substantial emotional distress” in homosexuals, leading to repentance, he is guilty…
This will all sound eerily familiar to Canadian readers and long time American readers of this blog, as well as fans of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.
I’ve set up an RSS feed about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act at my Conservative Talk Radio site, that is set to update a few times a day.
I urge everyone who cares about freedom of speech to watch the progress of this Act and do everything they can to prevent its passage into law.