WASHINGTON – A national effort to stop the U.S. Senate from passing legislations that many are saying may threaten the right of Christians to express their biblical view on homosexuality will take place on Tuesday.
Christians are urged to participate in National "Hate Crimes" Petition Day by protesting the contested bills with telephone calls, e-mails, and faxes to members of the U.S. Senate who are expected to vote on the bills by the end of this week.
"Those who hate God are working to criminalize those who love Him, and they are making great strides to see that it happens," said Repent America director Michael Marcavage, in a statement. "We must not remain silent as our liberty to freely speak the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being threatened by those who are framing mischief by a law."
Repent America - a Philadelphia-based evangelistic organization that is an outspoken critic of homosexuality, abortion and evolution – is the organizer of the "Hate Crime" petition day.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass an expanded federal hate crime bill that added the hate crime categories of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability to the original list of race, religion, color or national origin. The bill, H.R. 1592, also made it easier for the federal government to get involved in hate crime investigations.
H.R. 1592 passed by a vote of 237-180 on May 3 and is now being reviewed by the Senate along with the U.S. Senate version S. 1105.
However, the White House has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to the president's desk.
In a statement earlier this month, the White House said state and local criminal laws already address hate crimes featured in H.R. 1592.
"The administration favors strong criminal penalties for violent crime, including crime based on personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion, or national origin," stated the White House. "However, the administration believes that H.R. 1592 is unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.
"If H.R. 1592 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," the statement added.
Many Christian leaders have publicly criticized the bill, highlighting fears that the bill will encroach on freedom to express religious beliefs and be used to silence church pastors who preach on the sin of homosexuality.
"The Hate Crimes Act will be the first step to criminalize our rights as Christians to believe that some behaviors are sinful," Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family Action, said in a message for a petition to oppose the bill.
"Pastors preaching from Scripture on homosexuality could be threatened with persecution and prosecution," he noted.
Other Christian leaders that have criticized the bills include Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church and chairman of High Impact Leadership Coalition; Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America; Randy Thomas, executive vice president for the gay outreach ministry Exodus International; Brad Daucus, president of the Christian law firm Pacific Justice Institute; and Janet Folger, president of Faith2Action.
"On Tuesday, May 15, we are calling Christians all across America to come together in a unified effort to speak up and be heard on Capitol Hill," Marcavage urged. "Together, as one loud voice, we must urge our lawmakers to vote against the legislation that seeks to silence us."