The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is where one will find the guarantee of Freedom of Speech . In recent years, the question has been raised as to what roll and to what extent the government should play in it’s legislation of “Hate Speech” laws. Let’s use a recent example.
Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern originally became known to me a year or so ago when she declared “I honestly think it’s [homosexuality] the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam…”
Well the other day she was at it again when she made the following declaration as part of her new signature drive on the “Oklahoma Citizen’s Proclamation for Morality“.
WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and
WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month [June 2009 as ‘LGBT Pride Month’] to an immoral behavior;
The proclamation also declares the federal government “is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built.”
As would be expected, a crowd of less than happy protesters made themselves heard shouting things like “shame on you” and “hypocrite.” She felt that the protest was “…a wonderful demonstration of intolerance.” All I can ask is did she READ what she was proclaiming?
My favorite was the response of Pastor Paul Blair of the Fairview Baptist Church who said:
They don’t feel like we should get involved and interfere in what they are trying to say, we had hoped they would show us the same respect.
Are they kidding? These pronouncements were made in the Oklahoma State Capitol and they expected what, humble silence?
When was the last time you had an LGBT protest show up at a church picnic or a funeral? Does the LGBT community stage protests in front of their Churches and decry the perversion of Jesus’ teaching or the hatred spewing forth from many pulpits in America? Maybe they should… Hmmm…
I was taught, by Southern Baptist parents, that to stand by and say or do nothing was to lend my support and sadly most churches say nothing about the insensitive, little less the absurd, that is carried out in the name of Jesus.
Chuck S. Thornton, the Deputy Director of the ACLU Chapter of Oklahoma responded:
I think it’s very unfortunate, frankly, I haven’t seen scapegoating like this since pre-World War II Germany. She blames all these things upon a great moral crisis…but nowhere in this parade of horribles does [she] mention greedy Wall Street executives or government regulators who were asleep at the switch.
Now I expect that comparison to Germany and the term “scapegoating” to be taken poorly by her and those who think like her. So let’s ask if such a statement would be justified or an overly dramatic one.
Scapegoating can be defined as a practice by which angry feelings and feelings of hostility may be projected, via inappropriate accusation, towards others. Another description would be the creation of an “us” versus “them” mentality where the “them” are the cause for all the woes that the “us” are blighted with, the “us” tend to be beyond reproach and have little to no fault in the situation.
…[They have] achieved… the ability to control and manipulate the mass media to their own advantage.
LGBT school children were openly ridiculed by teachers and the bullying of LGBT in the playground by other pupils went unpunished.
Oh wait a moment, that first quote wasn’t Rep. Kern, it was Adolph Hitler from “Mein Kampf” and the second was taken directly out of an article on Jews in Germany during the rise of Hitler between 1933, when the Jews had become the “Untermenschen” – the sub-humans, and before the Krystalnacht of 1938, I just replaced the words “Jews” and “Jewish” with “LGBT”. If you watch and listen, you hear many LGBT students reporting this exact behavior today.
There will always be those who cannot see the difference between disagreeing on something and using Hate Speech.
Pat Robertson and other “religious” leaders are perfectly welcome to say that they do not agree with the LGBT community, Same-Sex Marriage or abortion but when you instill hatred and incite people to violence against another then you have crossed the line from Free Speech into the realm of Hate Speech.
I disagree completely with the “traditional” interpretation of Jesus’ teachings that have come down to us from Catholicism and into the assorted Protestant movements, but I would never deny those who believe it the benefits of society or suggest in any way that violence of any kind be directed towards them.
Hate Crimes are the fruit of Hate Speech and those in positions of influence need to be specifically careful to make sure that when they disagree with any group or idea that they take care so as not to incite those looking for an excuse into rash and deplorable behaviors toward those that are on the other side of the argument.
I think Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, summed it up beautifully before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week when he said;
One has to look at the unfortunate history of our nation. There are groups that have been singled out, that have been targets of violence. We have to face and confront that reality.and
Hate Crimes victimize not only individuals but entire communities, perpatrators of Hate Crimes seek to deny the humanity that we all share regardless of the color of our skin, the God to whom we pray or the person we choose to love.