As secretary, one of my goals is to assure that various records are accurate. Recently, there was a religious freedom petition circulating through the Internet. Among other things, it suggested that, “If we build them they will burn it down,” which was in reference to churches of our own.
Certainly, living in a red state gives me pause to think about the worst that could happen. Yet, I know of no cases where destruction of property has actually occured. The Federal Government investigates crimes based on religion. According to the FBI’s website, their number one priority in its Civil Rights Program is the investigation of hate crimes. Based upon Title 18, U.S.C., Section 247 (Damage to Religious Property; Obstruction in Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs) the FBI investigates any destruction of property based upon religious belief.
It is important that we be counted if we are in fact the victims of hate. If you are or if you know of a victim of a Hate Crime, please assure that it is reported to the police as such. Currently statistics for religious hate crimes are collected only as Anti-Jewish, Anti-Catholic, Anti-Protestant, Anti-Islamic, Anti-Atheism, and Anti-Other. The Jewish community is good about reporting Anti-Jewish crime, as such, nearly 70% of all religious based hate crime incidents are reported as Anti-Jewish. Anti-Other represents less than 10% of all religious based hate crimes and would include Buddhist, Hindu, Bahá’í, and (probably) Neopagan.
Accurate records are everyone’s business.
Walk with Wisdom,
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