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Saturday, July 24, 2010

What Is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is hard to define. The social acceptance of what was once anathema has resulted in loving what was universally hated and hating what was universally loved. For example, I can be considered a hate monger for saying that homosexuality is wrong while another person may be applauded for saying that Christianity is mean-spirited. It was not so long ago that these roles would have been reversed.

Does this mean that our definitions of wrong and right have changed? No, wrong and right will never change as long as the same source for determining righteousness isn't changed. The problem is that people have leaned toward what is universally accepted as the definition of wrong and right. In other words, something is wrong or right because of the number of people who believe it is.

This is dangerous. Justification by number rather than rule of law will result in the minority being oppressed. An illegal action can be justified when a "majority" argument is acceptable. "I just did what everyone else was saying (or doing)," makes the breaking of a law reasonable when using the rule of the majority. Therefore, looting and other chaos can be justified after the winning of a Superbowl or the perceived injustice of a criminal verdict.

Thus, hate speech can be anything we don't agree with. Censorship will be employed if enough people join us. It is a short distance between this and the censorship of communist countries. Of course, we would say that our motivation is to promote unity and keep the peace. I'll bet the leaders of the communist countries would say the same thing.

I actually anticipate that some day I will be accused of hate speech when I say that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. I know there are those who say that pluralism is the order of the day but they fail to see that Islam, Hinduism and any other non Judeo-Christian faith is welcomed in schools and government. Freedom of religion is becoming practically defined as freedom from the Christian faith. It is natural to see it become hate speech if current trends prevail.

 I don't see how hate speech will ever be defined. I deplore the words of the KKK and other radically militant groups that promote violence between people. I would support laws that would prevent speech which directly leads to violence against other groups. However, I do not believe we should prevent people from espousing their beliefs. That even goes for those with whom I disagree.

We often applaud the freedoms that we have in our country. These freedoms are not found in most of the world. They have been paid for with the precious blood of those who have fought for these "inalienable" rights. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

How long will I be able to proclaim without fear of prosecution?:

This Jesus is the stone that is rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:11-12 (ESV)

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