What Is “Hate” Speech?

The power of words has always been great.  “The pen is mightier than the sword” is a well-known adage.  Ideas can spur actions, including evil actions.  For this reason, especially in an age of immediate communication through social media, there has been scrutiny of “hate speech”.  Freedom of speech and of the press is something we believe in strongly, but when speech is used to hurt there may be cause to limit it.

But when is speech hurtful and hateful versus simply expressing a different point of view or statement of fact?  A biblical and historical example can be found in the crucifixion of Jesus.  It is simply a statement of fact that the Jewish leadership pushed for the execution of Jesus.  Any theologian with half a brain understands that this in not a indictment of Jews.  Every sinner put Jesus on the cross, including you and me.  Hateful people have seized this fact over the centuries to justify anti-Semitism.  Jesus and his disciples were as much Jewish as the leaders, so there is no cause for retaliation against a people.  The fact that people will twist words does not make the original words “hate speech”.

What about this quote from the Bible?

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived:  neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

— 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

This is but one passage that calls out homosexuality as sin.  It also calls out many other sins, and if you understand how God counts sin, everybody or just about everybody is included in this list.  The point of the paragraph is not to isolate any group for hate, but rather it is to make two important points.  First, these things are sinful in the eyes of God and can exclude you from the Kingdom of God; and second, Jesus Christ brings forgiveness and inclusion in the Kingdom for all who repent of these things.  That is not hate.  It is statement of fact and love.

I do not contest the fact that homosexuals have and still do endure shameful hatred and persecution.  While many of the sins on the list above are common products of sinful human nature, homosexual urges impact a smaller portion of population.  Consequently, it is easy for people to isolate those who do have a homosexual orientation for hatred.  Much like some do to the Jews.

The push in the LGBTQ movement is to get society to see their orientation as a normal variation of the population with no moral overtones.  Essentially it is “love me and endorse the way that I am.”  If you do otherwise, you are vilified as bigoted and homophobic; and your words are categorized or censured as “hate speech”.  Recently a football play in the Canadian Football League was fired for tweeting, “Men should not be with men and women should not be with women”.  In itself, this is not hate speech.  It is simply a different point of view, and biblically (and functionally)a statement of fact.  It does not call for any hateful action.

I know some people use the Bible as a reason to hate those who are LGBTQ.  Hurting them, firing them, verbally accosting them are all sins as well.  I am as much of sinner as anyone in the LGBTQ group.  I sympathize with them in that many have come to have this disorder through means that they could not control. This is the way of many sins.

Sin is not simply bad choices.  It is the product of an inherited nature.  The fact that it is inherited does not insure that you will always and only have these urges, nor does it make it something morally neutral.  There are probably many routes to a homosexual orientation, they do start with a genetic, predisposition caused by sinful nature.  Other things must happen as well or it would die out as a trait.

I will accept the “homophobic” label for these limited reasons:

  1.   I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will lower the moral boundary for society as a whole.
  2.   I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will allow children who would develop normally to be categorized a gay or trans because their actions differ from our gender stereotypes.
  3.   I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will prevent some who can change and want to change from receiving appropriate psychological care.
  4.   I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will tempt people who are merely longing for love but not finding it in the opposite sex to conclude they are gay.
  5.   I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will lead to recruitment of people who may be emotionally vulnerable.

These are societal concerns.  But the biggest fear is this:  I fear that normalizing “alternate” sexuality will keep people from repentance, and Satan wants people to deny that sin is sin because it keeps us from the only way to have forgiveness and eternal life, and that is Jesus.

These concerns are not what the LGBTQ community wants anyone, including themselves, to believe.  It would be easy to call it hate, but it is not.  I want the very best life and the very best life after death for them all.  If abuse or mis-categorization has lead to their orientation, I hurt for them.  If persecution has happened because of their orientation, I stand with them against it.  But we know about eternal life only through the revelation of the Scriptures and there is good reasons to believe it.  If I normalize alternate sexuality then I turn my back, I allow them to continue to their Judgment.  That would not be love.

1 Comment

  1. It’s very difficult when a family member is gay. You love them but at the same time you are concerned about their eternal life. I have chosen to show them my love and leave their eternal judgement up to God.


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