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Groups counter idea that Antisemitism Awareness Act is anti-Christian

“This law no more stifles free speech than the presence of a thermometer would change the temperature,” wrote Pastor John Hagee and Ralph Reed.

Pastor John Hagee speaks at the annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington on July 17, 2023. Credit: CUFI.
Pastor John Hagee speaks at the annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Summit in Washington on July 17, 2023. Credit: CUFI.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) released a letter on May 3 from its national chairman, Pastor John Hagee, and Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, both of whom praised the passing of the Antisemitism Awareness Act by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, H.R.6090, requires the U.S. Department of Education to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism when considering whether Jews have been discriminated against under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by U.S. President Joe Biden to become law.

They wrote: “As is clear, the world’s oldest hatred is alive and well on both fringes of the partisan divide. Likewise, as American colleges are taken over by hordes of pro-Hamas demonstrators claiming their genocidal ambitions are merely anti-Israel, this legislation is timelier than ever.”

While the bill passed in the House on May 1 by a vote of 320-91, there were detractors. Some congressional Republicans who voted against it claimed that it could punish Christian free speech.

“To the biblically literate, claims that the Antisemitism Awareness Act is anti-Christian are as insulting as they are injurious,” wrote Hagee and Reed.

They said those opposing the law seem to ignore that it is focused on “preventing unlawful action, not speech. For the law to apply, a student would have to have an unlawful act committed against them first.”

They added that “this law no more stifles free speech than the presence of a thermometer would change the temperature. This law is sound. The biblical and moral mandate is clear.”

CUFI sent the letter to leaders in Congress.

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