The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Grandma Shouldn’t Go to Prison for Witnessing

Posted by thelamp on February 16, 2007

The arrests of two septuagenarian grandmothers in Pennsylvania for spreading the Gospel illustrate the flaw and danger in “hate crimes laws.” Their witnessing was considered illegal under a state statute, which advances a growing movement toward criminalizing the expression of a person’s thoughts.

Isn’t this the reason America’s Founding Fathers added the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

Click here to send an e-mail to Congress, asking your representatives and senators not to pass H.R. 254, the “hate crimes” bill.

Lynda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10, and Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, were among 11 people arrested for sharing their faith on a Philadelphia sidewalk. There is something fundamentally wrong with a criminal justice system that would send these women to prison for 47 years for sharing Christ’s message of love and salvation.

“There are valid reasons to oppose the concept of ‘hate crimes.’ By definition, the prosecution of a case with a hate-crime specification is an attempt to punish people for their thoughts,” said Pastor Rod Parsley, president and founder of the Center for Moral Clarity. “How, exactly, do prosecutors know what is in a perpetrator’s mind? By their actions. I’d argue that the government should stick to punishing behavior, rather than attempting to discern the thoughts of its citizens.”

The most ominous part of the proposed federal hate crimes law is a provision that would establish a protected class of victims for people who engage in homosexual behavior or their political agenda. Christians today should be wary of liberal activists’ attempts to expand the federal definition of “hate crimes” in this fashion. It’s a particularly dangerous and offensive proposal that threatens the religious liberties of every man and woman of faith in this nation.

The spirit of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires state governments to provide “the equal protection of the laws” to all citizens. Yet, hate-crime legislation contradicts this purpose by effectively giving some victims – including homosexuals – special treatment.

Keep in mind that prisons across the nation are overflowing. Society surely won’t be any safer if evangelists are locked away in the cells that should be reserved for murders and other violent offenders.

It’s scary to think that Pennsylvania’s prescribed punishment for witnessing in public could become status quo across America. This will be the result if Congress were to pass H.R. 254 – the “hate crimes” bill, which is said to be on the “fast track” in the House Judiciary Committee. During the 109th Congress, only the determination of leaders loyal to values voters prevented the bill from becoming federal law.

The threat posed to Christians by this legislation is not exaggerated. Consider what’s happening in California. In 2004, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a similar bill. Under this new law, individuals can claim that someone expressing his or her deeply held beliefs – whether political or religious – presents an “intimidating” threat that is punishable. Penalties for violating the California law include criminal prosecution and fines up to $25,000, and get this: the fines are awarded to those bringing the accusation. This law is nothing less and nothing other than a form of legalized extortion!

Clearly, the intended result is to silence Christians. The gauntlet has been thrown before values voters once again. Once more Christians must rise to the challenge and defend their constitutional right to religious expression.

Click here to send an e-mail to Congress, asking your representatives and senators not to pass H.R. 254, the “hate crimes” bill.


4 Responses to “Grandma Shouldn’t Go to Prison for Witnessing”

  1. Franklin would be turning over in his grave if he could hear this! Make no mistake that this generation (or the next) will take drastic steps towards exchanging their freedom in exchange for comfort.

    -J. Kaiser

  2. R-E-D said

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Coops said

    Wow, repost this one everywhere!

  4. cumby said

    Thanks as always for the excellent and needful work you are doing on this blog. The links like the one in this article make it easy to communicate our feelings to Congress. I just wish they’d actually pay attention. Maybe if enough of us speak out; they will.

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