'Hate' Laws will be the Rubicon for Religious Free Speech of Broadcasters
May 11, 2009
WASHINGTON, (christiansunite.com) -- National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is warning that the current push in Congress for "hate crimes" legislation is a harbinger of a new, deadly attack on broadcasting free speech, and is part of a wider international trend spotlighted by Britain's ban this week of an American "right-wing" radio personality.
The House of Representatives recently passed their hate crimes version with a substantial margin (249- 175). Now a similar bill is pending in the Senate. The New York Times today called on the Senate to "quickly schedule a vote" and pass the measure. But executives at NRB see the "hate" legislation as posing a risk that Christian Broadcasters may face prosecution for culturally unpopular views. According to NRB President and CEO Dr. Frank Wright, "our Constitutional rights to free religions speech and free religious expression are not protected by hate crime proposals."
Some legal analysts see no problem. FOXNews has quoted George Washington Law Professor Frederick Lawrence that "there is nothing within the language" of the bills that would permit criminalizing mere speech. But Craig Parshall, NRB's Senior Vice-President and General Counsel strongly disagrees. "The hate crime bills as proposed, are the proverbial 'iceberg' disaster waiting to happen, with most of the danger lying beneath and between the wording. Mere expression without any physical violence, particularly religious speech, can clearly be prosecuted under these proposals. We have tracked the international trend, and everywhere that 'hate' regulations are implemented, free speech is inevitably oppressed. England's decision to ban highly controversial radio host Michael Savage from entering the country merely because it deems his ideas 'hateful' is the most recent example. America may be the next victim of this stealth form of censorship. Right now the Federal Communications Commission has before it a petition to launch an investigation against 'hate' on conservative radio."