Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said at a youth conference today that he once predicted “hate crime legislation … would one day be used to persecute Christians.” Speaking at the Turning Point USA High School Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., Gohmert said, "I knew 10 years ago, when hate crime legislation was being pushed, that it would one day be used to persecute Christians, and that is coming about – U.S. Commission on Civil Rights talks about this hate group, evangelical Christians."
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, to which Gohmert was referring, imposes additional penalties to criminal violent acts that are motivated by hate. In an op-ed, Gohmert asserted: "The new Federal Hate Crimes bill, which is about to pass the House, intrudes on First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion." Bolstering his position was the future vice president: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said of the bill: "I fear this legislation, intentionally or unintentionally, could have a chilling effect on the religious expression and the religious freedom of millions of Americans."
Gohmert also said on Wednesday, “The message of the federal hate crime bill, that is still in law, is if you are going to hurt me, shoot me, brutalize me, but please don't hate me. Make it a random, senseless crime of violence instead. You’ll walk free from the federal charges under the new Hate Crimes bill if you do.”
Speaking on the House floor in 2010, Gohmert said: “If you’re oriented toward animals, bestiality, then, you know, that’s not something that can be used, held against you or any bias be held against you for that. Which means you’d have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions, [...] pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most would say is perverse sexual orientations but the trouble is, we made amendments to eliminate pedophiles from being included in the definition.”
In a commentary he wrote on the hate crime law, Gohmert gives an example where someone who shoots a homosexual after hearing a religious leader preach “that homosexuality is wrong and leads to the ultimate destruction of moral society,” it could be argued that “the teaching of the minister/rabbi/imam is what ‘induced’” the perpetrator to commit a crime.