We know The Interfaith Alliance members made a difference because the Senate's lead sponsor said that on the Senate floor.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) said, "The Interfaith Alliance - a nonpartisan advocacy organization representing 75 different religions - said that hate crimes are an assault upon 'the belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions [and] that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth.'"
But our work to pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation is not done. We need you to keep the pressure on your Senators and Representatives to make sure that the amendment survives the conference process. The House passed the bill earlier this year by a strong bipartisan majority of 237-180.
Please send a message to tell your elected officials that hate is neither a religious or American value. Your support will help us tell the White House that, as fair-minded Americans who care about the well-being of our fellow citizens, we will not tolerate a veto of this important legislation.
The Interfaith Alliance calls on our members and all Americans to urge the United States Congress to pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation. Those who value religious pluralism must send a strong, unified message that democratic and religious values call for equal protection for all people to be free from attacks motivated by bigotry. Religion and government must work together to create an America in which diverse people are safe as well as free.
Why Do We Need This Legislation:
Crimes motivated by hatred or bigotry are an assault not only upon individual victims' freedoms, but also upon a belief that lies at the core of our diverse faith traditions --that every human being is endowed with dignity and worth. Every American should enjoy the strongest possible guarantee of freedom from attacks motivated by bigotry.
- The US Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a hate crimes bill that define when a person’s bigoted thoughts or speech turn into a crime against another person or persons.
- As of 2006, five states do not have hate crimes laws covering individuals (Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming). Among states that have hate crimes laws, some communities are protected, while some are not.
- Since 1991, the FBI has documented almost 100,000 hate crimes. During that period, however, the Justice Department has filed fewer than 75 cases under the current, narrow federal law. And a new government report states that the real number of hate crimes in the United States is more than 15 times higher than FBI statistics reflect.
- According to FBI statistics, hate crimes most often target people because of their race, religion, and sexual orientation.
- To view a report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights documenting the “Human Face of Hate Crimes,” please click here
What Will This Legislation Do:
Democratic and religious values call for equal protection for all people in all places. National hate crimes legislation will help ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans.
- To ensure equal protection under the law, hate crimes prevention legislation must cover people based upon race, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability.
- Comprehensive hate crimes legislation would provide federal assistance to state and local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes in states where current law is inadequate.
Who Supports Comprehensive Hate Crimes Prevention Legislation?
- This legislation has received bipartisan majority support in Congress. On September 14, 2005, the House of Representatives approved the measure as an amendment to the Children’s Safety Act by a vote of 223-199. (Unfortunately, in the past, the House leadership has acted to block approval of this legislation.)
- The Senate has approved the bill on two occasions since 2000, most recently in June, 2004 by a vote of 65-33.
- The measure also enjoys the support of over 210 civil rights, professional, civic, and religious groups. Download Complete List Of Supporters
- The measure also enjoys the support of 31 state Attorneys General, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, and a number of the most important national law enforcement organizations. Download Complete List Of Law Enforcement Supporters