Members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee today rejected an opportunity to protect Christian pastors who preach the biblical condemnation of homosexuality and approved on a 15-12 vote a "hate crimes" bill that supporters admit could be used to bring charges against religious leaders.
The bill, H.R. 1913, now will be considered by the full House of Representatives.
The committee rejected a number of amendments offered by several members seeking to protect religious liberty, to protect the unborn, to protect against violence by illegal aliens, and to clarify the bill's meanings of "gender identity" and "sexual orientation."
One of the rejected proposals was offered by Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, who sought to ensure ministers could not be prosecuted for abetting a "hate crime" simply because they preach from the Bible or another religious book.
When a nearly identical plan was developed in the last Congress, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., admitted during a hearing on the bill it could be used to prosecute pastors merely for preaching under the premise that they could be "inducing" violence in someone.
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