Thursday, June 12, 2008

When Does Free Speech Become Hate Speech?

In yesterday's edition of the International Herald Tribune there was an article that should send shivers up the spine of any Christian. Entitled "Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S." The article can be neatly summed up in the title. What is alarming is the number of legal scholars and politicians who believe that the First Amendment privileges should be tightened to exclude items that have been designated as "hate speech." Here's the problem: Who decides what crosses the line into hate speech? For a Christian, is it hate speech to preach that Christ is the only way to salvation? Is it hate speech to attempt to convert people of other religions? Is it hate speech to insist that human sexual activity is only moral when it exists within the context of holy matrimony, that is in a Sacramental relationship between one man and one woman?

When we start to restrict what people can and cannot say (slander and libel excepted), then we simply reach a point where we are arbitrarily setting standards. My intuition tells me that traditional Christians will be negatively impacted by this more than any other group. It is a sad sign of the progression of liberalism in our society that a thesis proposing that we should limit the first amendment could even see the light of day.

Oh, yes, here's one more thing: Let's say that somewhere down the line the Free Speech clause is encumbered with hate-speech provisions. What's next? What if someone starts to think that there are other aspects of the First Amendment that should be curtailed? Freedom of religion, perhaps? What will stop someone from saying that this religion is OK, but that religion teaches intolerant doctrine? Who will be there to stop them once Free Speech has been relativized?

Be very, very concerned.

Here's the link:


Wendy said...

This is great info to know.

The Rev. Robert T. Jones IV, Psy.D. said...


Thanks for your comment. You really had to dig into the archives to find this one!

Thanks again.