Statement on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act

this will be one of the serious votes that we cast during this session. this will be a vote on whether or not we will allow bigotry to TimeCode: 12:39:53.7 manifest itself in hate and result in violence. my friend rose and he said he didn't know anybody of faith. -- anybody of faith who TimeCode: 12:40:07.5 recommended violence. i would suggest that tragically the citizens of the united states know all too well some who claim to be men of faith and who have issued to kill those not of their faith and that if TimeCode: 12:40:29.3 they do so, ala will reward them. -- allah will reward them. we call them terrorists. they kill not because of individual wrongdoing or individual action. TimeCode: 12:40:46.6 they kill because of the membership in a faith or race or narbletey. -- nationality. because we're christians, juice, TimeCode: 12:41:07.8 -- jews or americans. and we call them terrorists. this is an important vote. neither the exercise of bigotry nor the rationalization of TimeCode: 12:41:19.5 bigotry ought to be sanctioned in this great house. but we know through the centuries it has been. we know there were those in times past who rose on this floor and rationalized slavery. TimeCode: 12:41:36.8 and rationalized why we should not have anti-lynching laws in america. we know that. we lament it and we say to ourselves, had we lived in those TimeCode: 12:41:51.8 times, had we lived in the 18th century hopefully we would have been beyond our time or in the 19th century, hopefully beyond our time. or in the 20th century, hopefully beyond our time as TimeCode: 12:42:08.5 martin luther king jr. urged us to be. we serve now in the 21st century . and we know that there are those in america and throughout the world who preach hate against a TimeCode: 12:42:25.1 class of people. not because of their actions, not because of their character, but because of who they are. that's what this vote is about TimeCode: 12:42:41.2 today. through this legislation the local law enforcement hate crimes prevention act, the members of this body will make a strong statement in favor of values that unite us as americans, tolerance, respect TimeCode: 12:42:58.8 for our differences, and justice and accountability for those who perpetrate violent acts against others. it has been too recent that lynching was rationalized in our TimeCode: 12:43:16.3 country. it is too present in today's society that some across the sea and, yes, some here, rationalize TimeCode: 12:43:33.8 violence because of membership in another class different than they. it is long past time to bring the existing federal hates crime TimeCode: 12:43:48.4 law which was enacted nearly 40 years ago into the 2 st century. TimeCode: 12:43:53.7 under existing law federal jurisdiction over hate crimes is limited to those acts directed at individuals based on race, religion, color, or national origin. let me say something about that to my friends. we have come to accept in america in the 21st century that TimeCode: 12:44:09.4 it is not respectable nor acceptable to be bigotted against those who are black, be bigotted against those who are catholic, baptists, or jews or TimeCode: 12:44:27.5 muslims. it is not respectable it is not acceptable. you don't talk about that in a restaurant anymore. but there is a class in america that is still respectable. rationalized many times by faith TimeCode: 12:44:42.9 but then segregation was rationalized for faith-based reasons. my friends, this is an important vote of conscience, of 0 statement of what america is -- of a statement of what america TimeCode: 12:44:59.9 is. a society that understands that we accept differences. we may not agree with those differences, but we know if society is to be free, that we must accept differences. TimeCode: 12:45:15.5 . that is the bedrock of what america means, not just to us but to all the world. and so today, my friends, i say we have an important statement to make, not a bill to pass, TimeCode: 12:45:31.5 but a statement to make about the values of our country. i had a prepared statement here. i won't read the balance of it. but i hope that every member has the courage and the TimeCode: 12:45:48.9 perspective that when they rise from their bed 20 years from now they will be able to say, unlike some of our predecessors in centuries' past, who failed TimeCode: 12:46:05.4 the test of tolerance, to say that we had the courage to live out the principles that makes america such a wonderful, great, decent, and just nation. TimeCode: 12:46:24.6 vote for this bill. vote for our principles. vote for your faith that teaches that we reach out, to lift out and to love. TimeCode: 12:46:41.7 vote for this bill.