. . .. The "Philly 11" Christians were infamously arrested in 2004 for the "hate crime" of peaceful witnessing during a large homosexual rally in Philadelphia. Jailed for 21 hours, six men and five women (including a 17-year-old girl) faced 47 years in prison and a $90,000 fine each for displaying Bible verses critical of homosexuality and singing, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."
During several hearings, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office attempted to prove the incredible -- that Michael Marcavage, their leader, had been motivated by bias to use his megaphone as an "instrument of crime" to bludgeon delicate homosexual emotions. (See, Philadelphia pursues "Hate Crimes" Charges Against Christians) After three months, the beleaguered Christians were finally acquitted by a higher court.
They were free but also had a whopper of a wrongful arrest and imprisonment case against the Philadelphia city government and Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham, who authorized their persecution. Shockingly, their case was denied this week. A federal judge upheld Abraham’s right to arrest the Christians!
Back in 2004, the Philly 11 case scared and shocked Americans. But too few understood the dark conspiracy behind the arrest or the way unjust “anti-hate” laws can be used in still broader ways to punish Christians and conservatives who dare to express their beliefs. If more Americans understood, public pressure might have prevented Abraham from getting away with this outrage.
But the American public is also uninformed about an even greater danger looming over us at this very moment. The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act is now before the House Judiciary Committee. If it’s signed into federal law, the Philly 11 incident won’t be a freak injustice of American history. Instead, it will be the unheeded first raindrop of a downpour of anti-Christian arrests and lawsuits submerging Christianity in the years ahead.
What Really Caused Arrests of the Philly 11?
During the summer of 2004 Kerry and Bush hammered each other while the far right could think of little but the "whodunnit" behind 9/11. ADL, having passed their federal hate bill by a spectacular vote of 65 to 33 in the Senate, was supremely confident of victory in conference with the House that fall. Yet all summer I warned on dozens of talk radio shows of the hate bill’s imminent passage and threat to freedom. My message reached thousands who flooded congressional offices with calls. This support, largely from alternative talk radio and the evangelical right, encouraged Republican conferees in the House to defeat the hate bill just as they had done three times since 1998.
ADL was furious that victory was again snatched from them, largely by the religious right. They went on rampage. Their instrument of revenge was Philadelphia district attorney Lynne Abraham. Abraham, Jewish, is a national board member of ADL, one of the ruling elite of ADL policy making and strategy. She used ADL's Pennsylvania hate law, enacted during the late 1990s, to put a noose around 11 innocent Christians.
Abraham had the Christians arrested Sunday, October 10, two days after ADL's humiliating defeat in conference the previous Friday. Did she think she could get away with it? Absolutely! As a veteran prosecutor, she would not have arrested the Christians under such exorbitant charges unless she had been sure that powers behind the corrupt Pennsylvania court and appeals system could influence judges to protect her from a backlash indictment.
It must have been a shock to her, then, when federal judge Lawrence Stengel on May 26, 2006 issued a 17-page opinion denying a motion by the promoters of OutFest, Philly Pride, to dismiss the case. Judge Stengel wrote, "In this case plaintiffs (the Philly 11) have pleaded sufficient facts to infer a conspiracy between the Philly Pride defendants and the other defendants (the City of Philadelphia). The complaint alleges a number of facts sufficient to support an inference of a conspiracy to deprive plaintiffs of their constitutional rights." (Press release of June 2, 2006, www.repentamerica.com, "Philly 11 Wins Round One," page 2)
Yet last week, in a startling reversal, this federal judge took the opposite point of view, ruling that since Philly Pride had obtained a permit they had the right to exclude all criticism of themselves within the 15-block, tax-funded activity. Thus, according to Stengel, Abraham was justified in arresting and imprisoning the lawbreaking Christians. The Philly 11 were wrong in exercising free speech in what had become a no-free-speech zone. (Press release of January 22, 2003, www.repentamerica.com, "Federal Court Rules against Philly 11," page 3)
.Clearly, Judge Stengel had been gotten to. There is little doubt that it was ADL who influenced Stengel to pervert justice. Otherwise, Lynne Abraham, national executive board member of ADL, would have probably gone to prison.
The truth is, Abraham, not the Christians, should be indicted and convicted as the hate criminal she is. (See, Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham: 'Hate Criminal')
This perversion of justice was possible because the people of Pennsylvania, like those of 45 other states in the Union, allowed ADL to shackle them with very threatening state "anti-hate" laws. Unless we act now, this outrage will be followed by a stampede of injustices even worse. A much more dangerous hate law than Pennsylvania's is perilously close to passage in the new Democrat-controlled Congress. The David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 254, now in the House Judiciary Committee, lays the foundation for a hate gestapo which would eventually allow government "thought police" to push aside states' rights in law enforcement. Such laws would allow federal indictment of Christian "haters" in every state of the Union, possibly simultaneously in multiple states. Ultimately, it would become a federal crime, punishable by triple penalties, to show bias against protected groups, particularly Jews and homosexuals. However, deviant groups such as witches, Satanists, pedophiles, abortionists, and even "sinners" could quickly catch a ride on the bandwagon of federal protection from the "hate" of biblically oriented criticism.
H.R. 254, if passed, will create a radically new bias-motivation legal system for America, similar to Canada's. Our traditional, time-proven English system of law requires demonstrable physical evidence of crime before an arrest can be made. Yet under Canada's bias-motivation legal system, the only criteria of guilt in a hate crimes case is whether the feelings of a member of a federally protected group have been hurt. If they have, the critic is guilty as charged. Average penalty for first-time offense is $5000. Truth is not allowed as a defense in Canada's hate crimes tribunal system.
Does this sound like the kind of America you want, where you’ll live in fear lest expression of your conscience or Biblical beliefs might incur the wrath of Jews or homosexuals? Do you relish the thought of a nocturnal arrest and trip to the police station to answer interrogation about whether you are motivated by bias?
The saga of the Philly 11 is a reminder that ADL's federal hate law will create an Orwellian police state -- if you let it happen. How do you let federal hate laws take over America? Simple. Don't call toll-free 1-877-851-6437 and protest to your members of Congress.
.Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian conservative watchdog organization.
TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on the hate bill threat! Call 503-631-3808.
Come to video.google.com for a free viewing of Ted Pike’s expose of the hate crimes threat: Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians.
For many more articles explaining the threat of hate crimes legislation, come to www.truthtellers.org.
National Prayer Network,
P.O. Box 828,
Clackamas, OR 97015