SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In response to the increasing number of hate crimes, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, backed legislation to increase penalties for violent crimes committed in places of worship.
“Churches, temples, mosques, and other places of worship should be safe havens for people to congregate, pray, celebrate, and when appropriate, mourn,” said Slaughter. “No one should be fearful when they gather with their religious community. This bill aims to prevent religiously motivated hate crimes and allow places of worship to continue to be sanctuaries.”
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, hate crimes have increased by 17% since 2016. The Slaughter-backed House Bill 38 strengthens sentences for murder and assault committed in a church, mosque, synagogue or other place of worship. In addition, injuring a person in a religious institution will now carry a punishment of up to 15 years in prison, and carrying a gun or other weapon into a house of worship with the intent to harm someone will carry a punishment of up to seven years in prison.
“We cannot allow tragedies like we’ve seen recently in New Zealand and Pittsburgh to continue. Strengthening the punishments for these despicable crimes is a necessary step in making sure everyone is able to worship peacefully,”said Slaughter. “I stand with my colleagues in denouncing hate crimes and will continue to work to ensure safety for all races, religions and genders.”
For more information, please contact Slaughter’s constituent service office at 773-445-9700 or Justin@RepSlaughter.com.