Thoughts and links on HB 741

I was following HB 741 thru the various committees during the recent Florida legislative session. I found it fascinating that it passed unanimously. (ref 1)

Representative Kimberly Daniels mentioned the so-called Messianic Jews as she stated her support for the bill called antisemitism. Representative Daniels makes her comment about Messianic Jews around the 2 hour and 16 minute mark in the video. Link to the video (in case you want to hear Representative Daniels): https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/VideoPlayer.aspx?eventID=2443575804_2019031312

I wonder if anyone mentioned this to Representative Kimberly Daniels: “​V​arious Christian leaders have publicly criticized Messianic Jews for their aggressive missionizing in the Jewish community and for misrepresenting themselves as Jews.” (Ref 2)

I know many people were outraged when Vice President Pence invited a so-called Messianic Jewish Rabbi to give a prayer after the murders at a synagogue. Here is a link to one article talking about that: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/30/us/mike-pence-rabbi-jacobs.html  When I originally read the news, I (like Representative Daniels) didn’t understand the history of the Messianic Jewish movement. A friend explained it to me. Hopefully someone explained to Representative Daniels why bringing up the so-called Messianic Jews while expressing support for an antisemitic bill was inappropriate.

Representative Fine said his bill HB 741 is trying to address a growing fever of antisemitism.  In the Florida House Education Committee (link above) and the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee (link below) you can hear many people express their support for Israel and their sadness over the existence of antisemitism in this country.

The bill was heard in the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee on April 8th, here is the link (discussion of HB 741 begins around minute 20):
http://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=2443575804_2019041108&Redirect=true

During the session when the Florida House voted on HB 741, they started the meeting with “In Jesus’s Name We Pray.” I thought that was odd. Here is the link to the  video: http://www.flsenate.gov/media/VideoPlayer?EventID=2443575804_2019041146
The prayer is at the beginning of the meeting. They discuss HB 741 (the antisemitism bill) beginning around the 3 hour and 45 minute mark.

Representative Fine spoke up and put into Florida law that antisemitic language is not welcome in Florida. You can hear him say (in the full house meeting on April 10th–see link above) that the law won’t put anyone in jail for saying mean stupid things. The bill clarifies and acknowledges that words matter and some words make people feel excluded.

I continue to wish that HB 741 would apply to not only the public schools but also to the private schools receiving voucher money. Since some of the most vocal Christians mentioned their love of Israel rather than their disdain for antisemitic language in the debate of the bill, I do wonder about their motives of adding “religion” in the list in Florida Statute 1000.05. These days, when people add religion to a list I wonder if instead of using it as a shield to protect against discrimination, they want to use religion as a sword to harm others.

Quote from this article https://www.npr.org/2019/05/23/724135760/how-the-fight-for-religious-freedom-has-fallen-victim-to-the-culture-wars:

“RFRA was originally enacted to serve as a safeguard for religious freedom,” he said, “but recently it’s been used a sword to cut down the civil rights of too many individuals.”

There is a lot in the bill I don’t understand. And I do wish the definition of antisemitic language was broader so it included the definition of bigoted language in general.  However, there is something cool about 100% of the Florida legislators saying antisemitic language should not be used.  I do worry, however, that the dominionist christians have ulterior motives,

I read a Huffington Post article (see quote below) and it made me wonder why Governor DeSantis is signing HB 741 in Israel.  Governor to sign HB 741 in Israel.

Quote from this article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/opinion-ingersoll-jerusalem-embassy-end-times_n_5afae504e4b09a94524c312c

…Some heard in those prayers generic messages about peace and the safety of Israel. Some Evangelical Christians heard that they, and their fellow believers, are at the center of God’s plan for history. And they heard loud and clear the essential message that, despite his failings, the president is playing his part.

These are the questions I’d like answered by Representative Fine (the sponsor of the bill):
1.  What do you think of Representative Daniel’s  mention of the so-called Messianic Jews?
2.  What do you think of Representative Sullivan’s emphasize on Israel rather than on antisemitism?
3.  Will adding religion to 1000.05 create problems similar to how RFRA created problems?  In other words, will this be used not only to provide a shield against discrimination but as a sword to harm others?  If a religion’s tenets call for harm to others, how will this be sorted out?  I recently read an article that a legislator said his religious beliefs say that the races shouldn’t mingle.  I have heard that some religions condemn homosexuality.   Some religions require that wives obey their husbands.  How will these things be sorted out?
4.  Why didn’t you include wording to make sure the bill applies to any school that receives public funding?  Does it cover the charter schools?  Does it cover the private schools receiving voucher money? If not, why not?
5.  Could you tell me more about the statute that Representative Thompson mentioned? Is every school in Florida that receives public funds required to teach details of the holocaust? (ref 3)

Representative Sullivan expresses her support of Israel but makes no mention of antisemitism when she speaks at the 2 hour and 23 minute mark
Education Committee–03/21/19 https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/VideoPlayer.aspx?eventID=2443575804_2019031312

House Session 4/10/2019  starts around the 3 hour and 45 minutes mark:
http://www.flsenate.gov/media/VideoPlayer?EventID=2443575804_2019041146
Some of the quotes from the session:
Representative Fine says that antisemitism is increasing.
Representative Fine says it applies to public schools.  [BUT how does he define “public schools”?  Does it mean any schools receiving public funds even private schools receiving voucher money?]
The first part of the bill is merely the definition of antisemitism.
Representative Fine says the bill does not criminalize antisemitism.  People are allowed to be anti-Semites and racists.
Representative Thompson says there is a statute that requires that public schools require the teaching about the Holocaust

References
1. https://www.timesofisrael.com/florida-senate-passes-anti-semitism-bill/

2. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/messianic-judaism/

3. https://www.adl.org/blog/why-we-need-legislation-to-ensure-the-holocaust-is-taught-in-schools

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