Washington—The Senate last night unanimously approved legislation authored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to update the Church Arson Prevention Act.
This bill makes it a federal crime to threaten damage to religious property. Under current law, damaging religious property is a crime, but threatening religious property for their religious character is not.
Senators Feinstein and Hatch introduced the legislation after a string of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in 2017 and rising hate crimes against Muslims.
“We are seeing an appalling increase in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews and other religious minorities, including threats against their places of worship,” said Senator Feinstein. “The rise in hate crimes is due, in part, to the perception that people in positions of power are indifferent and do not prioritize protecting the rights of all Americans. We must stand together to make clear that hate has no place in our country and these vicious crimes will be investigated with the seriousness that’s demanded.”