Congressional Resolution on Church Burnings

The following resolution was written by Project 21 at the request of and for the consideration of the Congress of the United States in May, 1996.

Whereas the foundation of a free society is forged of justice, truth, and self-governance;

Whereas America is established as a free society;

Whereas freedom for all Americans extends to the free exercise of religious faith;

Whereas the church and the free excercise of the faith of its people are fundamental to the health and strength of our nation;

Whereas such freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;

Whereas no Americans on account of race, ethnicity, sex, or creed should be denied the right and freedom to freely worship;

Whereas the attempt to deny free worship or the free assembly of people before God is an affront to the precepts of a free society;

Whereas any attempt to deny such freedom to one citizen, faith, or creed imperils all persons of faith;

Whereas arson is an act of the highest moral repugnance, shameful and without right reason;

Whereas arson has destroyed the churches and houses of worship for many Southern black families;

Whereas such acts seemingly are motivated by hate and irreverence;

Whereas such acts are unlawful and, in all respects, antithetical to the maintenance of a free society;

Whereas such unlawful acts require swift justice for the preservation of a free society and good order:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That it is the sense of the Congress of the United States that —

  1. the perpetrators of these crimes should be pursued and, upon capture, prosecuted to the full extent of the law;
  2. investigations should be conducted by the Congress and law enforcement authorities into the motives of the perpetrators of these crimes.

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