In this age of politically-correct reasoning, it has become fashionable to support hate crimes legislation because--on the surface--such laws would help tocurtail violent crimes against targeted minorities. However, as withmost issues, one must look below the surface of hate crimes laws todistinguish what is the ultimate consequence of their passage. Ibelieve that those individuals who brutalize, vandalize or kill - forwhatever reasons - should be swiftly punished to the fullest extentof the law. But politicizing such individuals' actions, in myopinion, is dangerous and reckless. In fact, the ultimate victims ofhate crimes laws will be religious conservatives who embrace theBible as their ultimate authority. We need look no further thanCanada to understand how hate crimes have created an environment thatis hostile to Christians.

My Old Time Gospel Hour broadcast has aired weekly in Canada forthirty years. However, today I cannot air the same broadcast therethat is utilized here in the U.S. In the Canadian broadcast, Icannot mention anything regarding homosexuality or partial-birthabortion because the government there has enacted far-reaching lawsthat prevent any criticism of those issues. Even though the Bible isvery clear on the sanctity of human life and presents a clear designfor sexual morality, the Canadian government shuns those biblicaltenets because they are offensive to protected classes ofindividuals.

Christian organizations are facing severe legal threats in Canada.As a prime example, a private Christian school in Canada is currentlyinvolved in a legal showdown because it upholds biblical guidelinesof behavior for its students. The observance of these biblicalvalues has led to the legal confrontation between Trinity WesternUniversity and the British Columbia College of Teachers. TheCollege, which sets professional standards for public schoolteachers, has balked at certifying the teaching program at Trinitysimply because the university's code of conduct forbids homosexualactivity. The College of Teachers ruled that the code will produceteachers who are likely to discriminate against homosexual students.This is nothing but double-speak--with no legal precedent--that isdesigned to malign Christians.

On the other hand, a Canadian school board is presently being coercedto include three books with same-sex characters into the schoollibrary. While a few American schools have chosen to utilize similarbooks, the difference is that, in Canada, the British ColumbiaSupreme Court overturned the Surrey School Board's ban on the books(although the Court of Appeal later upheld an appeal by the board).The Court of Appeal ruled that teachers may voluntarily use booksdealing with same-sex families in the classroom.

Attorney Gwen Brodsky, who represents EGALE (Equality for Gays andLesbians Everywhere), a Canadian homosexual-rights organization,said, "In fact, the Court of Appeal makes it clear that school boardshave a positive duty to espouse the values in the Constitution,including the constitutional principle of non-discrimination based onsexual orientation. Under the terms of this ruling, the SurreySchool Board is not permitted to interfere with the professionaljudgment of teachers who choose to use the books in the classroom toteach about the diversity of Canadian family life."

Ultimately, EGALE wants all schools to be required to maintain thebooks. Christians in America should learn an important lesson fromour northern neighbors. Politicians there--many with goodintentions--have created an environment that is antagonistic towardthose who choose to recognize God's laws. And I see our nationfollowing in this same perilous path.

Already in our nation, the Boy Scouts of America have faced the wrathof homosexual-rights groups who oppose the group's moralityrequirement for leaders--a provision that prohibits homosexualbehavior. Homosexual leaders charge that such a morality clause ismotivated by "hate." Last week, a Manhattan school district barredschools from sponsoring Boy Scout troops because the organizationexcludes homosexuals. There is potential for this resolution to beadopted statewide. The Boy Scouts continue to be targeted byhomosexuals and leftist social engineers solely because theorganization attempts to create a moral and principled environmentfor young boys to learn to be upright future leaders.

Those who adhere to Judeo-Christian standards of living are beingportrayed as hate-filled bigoted villains who need to have theirthoughts, their speech, their beliefs and their actions regulated bythe government.

As his presidential tenure comes to a close, Bill Clinton is sternlypressuring Congress to enact new hate crime legislation in ournation, specifically the so-called Hate Crimes Protection Act. Ipray that he fails--not because I embrace hate-motivated crimes, butbecause the laws camouflage a dangerous political effort that couldultimately silence millions of Americans.