Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 10/29/2009 8:30:00 AM A Christian evangelist who was once arrested, jailed, and charged under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law says the federal hate crimes bill signed into law by President Obama is one of the most dangerous laws in the history of the United States.
With the stroke of President Obama's pen yesterday, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law. It creates additional penalties for violent crimes motivated by the victim's "actual or perceived" gender, "gender identity," sexual orientation, or disability.
Michael Marcavage, director of Philadelphia-based Repent America, was one of 11 Christians who were jailed and charged with a hate crime for carrying Bible verse banners and preaching at a 2004 homosexual pride event in Philadelphia. The charges were later dismissed -- and in 2008, the state's Supreme
Marcavage says the new federal hate crimes law is yet another move by the federal government to "silence Christians."
"What this bill does is [seek] to shut down those who dare to speak against the sin of homosexuality with the hope and freedom that is found in Jesus Christ," says the Christian activist.
"Having been charged under a hate crime, I'm definitely moved with compassion on those who the government is trying to silence us from reaching out to," he continues, "but we're going to continue to do as we have been doing, and ministering to those trapped in the bondage of this lifestyle."
Marcavage offers three reasons why he opposes the new law. He says it is ungodly because it "seeks to shut down the gospel of Jesus Christ"; unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment; and also unnecessary because there are already laws on the books that punish violent crimes.