Russ Niewiarowski faults the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act for giving “special protection to powerful activist groups pushing for national acceptance of homosexuality” (“Obama renounces religion with bill,” Oct. 30).

It presumably does so by “effectively barring all from speaking out against it, putting everyone’s freedom of speech in jeopardy.”

Square that, if one can, with the law’s actual text.

Section 4711 (5): CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS: Nothing in this division shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities ... including the exercise of religion protected by the 1st Amendment.

How, then, is everyone’s freedom of speech jeopardized?

As for “special protection,” consider this definition in Section 4710 (2): VIOLENT ACTS: This division applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of a victim.

And those protections apply equally to all — not just some — of these categories. Isn’t that consistent with the 14th Amendment? What’s special about any of them?

Niewiarowski clearly has his problems with powerful activist groups with “perverse and unnatural lifestyles.”

Apparently that’s enough for him to posit that sexual orientation is unworthy of any protection, special or otherwise.

At Matthew Shepard’s funeral in 1998, the Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church flock demonstrated with a vengeance.

Phelps claimed that “divine retribution had killed Shepard for the sin of being a homosexual.”

Sound familiar?

Dick Lewis

Newport Beach

Values include love, remorse, forgiveness

Leonard Davis writes that no one explains what Christian values really are (“Obama renounces religion with bill,” Oct. 31).

The New Testament reports the teachings of Jesus Christ which include love, compassion, forgiveness and caring for those in need.

Christ’s word’s and actions are documented, and demonstrate his values (i.e. Christian values).

Humans fail.

However, remorse, repentance and forgiveness are also included in Christian values.

Helen Magruder

Corona del Mar

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