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House GOP Passes Controversial Bill Labeling Certain Christian Scriptures as ‘Antisemitic,’ Sparking Fears of Criminalizing Religious Beliefs

The House of Representatives passed the “Antisemitism Awareness Act” (H.R. 6090) on Wednesday, which has sparked significant debate over the interpretation of religious texts and the definition of hate speech.

The bill, aimed at curbing hate speech amid heightened tensions on college campuses concerning Israel, has seen a significant majority of Republicans in support, while a coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed it, citing free speech concerns.

It passed with a vote of 320-91, seeing opposition from 70 Democrats and 21 Republicans. The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., and supported by 15 Democratic co-sponsors.

I’m proud that my bill, the Antisemitism Awareness Act, just passed the House of Representatives 320 to 91. This bill has broad, bipartisan support and will begin the process of cracking down on the antisemitism we’ve seen run rampant on college campuses across America,” Rep. Lawler wrote.

The bill defines antisemitism broadly, incorporating definitions provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including traditional antisemitic actions and accusations such as those against the state of Israel. Critically, the bill makes it an offense to “apply double standards” to Israel or to accuse it of genocide, categorizing such actions as hate speech.

Among the dissenting voices is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who expressed concern that the bill’s definition of antisemitism could potentially criminalize Christians for their religious beliefs, particularly narratives in the Gospel regarding the death of Jesus Christ.

“Antisemitism is wrong, but I will not be voting for the Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 (H.R. 6090) today that could convict Christians of antisemitism for believing the Gospel that says Jesus was handed over to Herod to be crucified by the Jews,” Greene wrote.

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