Speech by Dr. Rick Scarborough given to the Press and all who were present at the Rally for Religious Freedom on Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C.
- Rick Scarborough
- Nov 20, 2009
I want to extend my appreciation to the members of the Press, fellow preachers, colleagues and those who disagree with us for coming to listen to what we have to say. We believe what we are going to say has profound implications for the future of our great Nation. We believe it so strongly that we are willing to risk incarceration if necessary to make our case.
We have gathered from as far away as California and Great Britain at considerable expense because of what we believe to be an unjust infringement on our right to free speech as well as our right to freely exercise and pursue our deeply held religious beliefs.
In the recent Federal Hate Crimes Legislation known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (“HCP Act”) that was passed by Congress on October 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Obama on October 28, 2009, two competing interests collide unnecessarily and at great expense to the Constitution and to those it is intended to protect.
On the one hand are those who have chosen to engage in lifestyle choices that we believe are in clear violation of God’s revealed moral law, who sincerely believe they have a right to such behavior and need the power of the Federal Government to affirm their right to do so, even going to the extreme of criminalizing speech that condemns such behaviors.
On the other hand are those of us who have no desire to force those who engage in such behaviors or lifestyles to our way of thinking, but who believe the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees us the right to speak openly of our deeply held belief, based upon the Holy Scriptures and even Natural Law itself, that such behavior is destructive and morally wrong.
The reason for the First Amendment is to protect all speech including that which some may find objectionable. This new law, passed after repeatedly being turned back over ten years, and only when it was tucked quietly away in a greater Defense Appropriations Bill that was necessary to fund the troops overseas, silences any opposing speech with the threat of criminal prosecution.
We are very aware that the Brownback Amendment to this misguided legislation was intended to protect religious speech, however our legal team has studied the language of the bill and they have warned us that preachers will soon be targeted for prosecution and their speech will be monitored.
We are about to hear from Barrister Paul Diamond, Esq. Christian Legal Centre who will detail how this type of legislation has resulted in the denial of free speech and the free exercise of religion in Great Britain.
I quote from the letter which we just delivered to Attorney General Eric Holder and will pass out to you at the conclusion of this press conference:
The subject of homosexuality and “gender identity” (a term which is undefined in the HCP Act) is divisive. Many law-abiding citizens have strong moral and religious-based viewpoints on these subjects. The HCP Act appears to license only one side of the ongoing debate while threatening significant penalties for alleged violations.
While Section 4711 of the HCP Act states that the law should not be construed to limit free expression or the free exercise of religion if such exercise of religion, speech, expression, or association was not intended to (1) plan or prepare for an act of physical violence, or (2) incite an imminent act of physical violence against another, Section 4710 of the HCP Act states that courts “may consider relevant evidence of speech, beliefs, or expressive conduct to the extent that such evidence is offered to prove an element of a charged offense or is otherwise admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.” Thus, it is obvious that speech, beliefs and expressive conduct will be targeted under the HCP Act.
Attorney General Holder, speaking to the Anti Defamation League one month ago stated: “As I noted earlier, I first testified in the Senate in support of new hate crimes legislation when I was the Deputy Attorney General eleven years ago…. Against this backdrop, the new hate crimes legislation will arrive not a moment too soon. And on the day that it becomes law, we will hasten to begin using it.”
Many ask those of us who hold that homosexuality is morally wrong and condemned in the Scripture, often ask the question, “What about love and mutual respect? Why do you care what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom?”
My answer is two fold: First, the love of Christ compels me to call any sin, whether this one or any other, wrong, and plead with the practitioner of such sin to repent, for Christ shed His blood at Calvary so sinners could be forgiven and cleansed. Paul the Apostle wrote to the Corinthian Christians, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of your were. But you have been washed; you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
There are some here today that will testify that they were once homosexuals but by the power of the Gospel they found forgiveness and freedom from their sexual addiction and they are now practicing their new faith in Jesus Christ.
You may choose to disbelieve or disagree with us, but you have no right to seek to silence us. If this law is used to silence me from speaking this truth, then I will be forced to conscientiously defy it. That is my calling as a Christian and my right as an American Citizen.
Secondly, to fail to call homosexuals to repent of their sin and come to Jesus, is the highest form of cowardice and sin for it denies homosexuals of the privilege of hearing the good news that Jesus forgives all sin and can set them free. The real hate speech is that which perverts the Word of God to fit the latest cultural fad.