Hate-crime bill poses no danger to religion


Sadly, the June 8 editorial titled “Hate this” opposed the bill in Congress extending the federal hate-crime law to cover gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. To bolster their position, the editors cite incidents in Canada and Sweden where anti-gay sermons have been prosecuted as a hate crime (unsuccessfully).

Free speech and religious views are constitutionally protected in this country, and there is a clause to that effect in both the Senate and House bills. Adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the existing hate-crime law in no way “risks stifling discussion and hamstringing religious freedom,” as the editorial claims. Only acts of physical violence–not hateful speech–can be prosecuted as hate crimes.