A California bill that purports to remove police officers engaged in “hate speech” would allow the government to discriminate against peaceful pro-lifers, conservatives and people of faith, state pro-life leaders warned.
The new California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act (Assembly Bill 655) would “root out” police officers and potential hires for “hate speech” and their connections to “hate groups” by requiring law enforcement agencies to screen potential hires for “hate.” It also would allow officers who are found to engage in “hate” to be fired.
State Assembly Member Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, the sponsor of the bill, said the goal is to stop “the infiltration of extremists in our law enforcement agencies,” according to The Federalist.
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Kalra’s legislation defines hate speech as “advocating or supporting the denial of constitutional rights of, the genocide of, or violence towards, any group of persons based upon race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.”
But the California Family Council said this extremely broad, arbitrary definition could be used to discriminate against peaceful, law-abiding Christians, Muslims, pro-lifers and conservatives.
“This is a blatantly unconstitutional violation of religious liberty and freedom of speech. It is also a tyrannical abuse of power from a politician seeking to ruin the lives of those he disagrees with,” said Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement for the pro-life organization.
The broad definition raises questions about whether the Catholic Church could be labeled a hate group because it rejects the so-called constitutional right to an abortion, or whether Muslims could be banned from the police force because they attend a mosque that speaks out against homosexuality, his organization explained.
Matthew McReynolds, a senior staff attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute, said pro-lifers and people of faith could be blacklisted from the police force if the bill passes.
“Under the guise of addressing police gangs, the bill at the same time launches an inexplicable, unwarranted, and unprecedented attack on peaceable, conscientious officers who happen to hold conservative political and religious views,” Reynolds said. “Indeed, this is one of the most undisguised and appalling attempts we have ever seen, in more than 20 years of monitoring such legislation, on the freedom of association and freedom to choose minority viewpoints.”
The California Assembly Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on April 6.