Homophobia And Hate-Speech

Christians are routinely described as being homophobic. The word literally means “afraid of homosexuals”. That is a ridiculous thing to assume about all Christians. I don’t know large numbers of Christians who are afraid of homosexuals (if any). However, the meaning of the word has morphed. In the public mind it now means to have an irrational hatred of homosexuals. [1] The word is used to condemn. Anyone said to be making homophobic comments is seen as being bigoted, unkind, and hateful. Society now reacts strongly against anyone seen to be homophobic. For example, sportspeople accused of making homophobic comments in the course of a game will be profiled on the media and punished by their sporting code. We might say, ‘Rightfully so. There is no need to ridicule or humiliate someone because of his/her sexual preference.” Again, let it be said that some Christians have failed in this area. Some have been nasty. However, that is not the end of the issue. “Homophobic” is now the adjective used of anybody who speaks out against homosexual acts. That is why Christians are routinely described as being homophobic. All Christians are assumed to be homophobic. A person doesn’t need to be afraid of homosexuals or to hate homosexuals; he/she simply needs to disagree with homosexuals to be labelled homophobic. The implication is that that person is bigoted, unkind and hateful – even if he/she is, in reality, gracious, gentle and loving, but has convictions. The threat of being labelled, and condemned, makes people reluctant to express their personal convictions. One cannot, it would seem, disagree with homosexuals. They are, apparently, a special case that is above any criticism or challenge. Clearly, it is a sad day for freedom and justice when people are unable to speak without being condemned and when one privileged group cannot be challenged. There is, of course, a great irony in the fact that a group that has for so long campaigned against prejudice and abuse then adopts the same tactics. Similar concerns can be raised about “hate speech”. Christians would be the first to say that people should not speak hatefully but where is the line to be drawn. If Christians (or anyone else) can be prosecuted for simply disagreeing with homosexuality, that, in itself, will be a gross injustice. For an accusation of hate speech to be upheld it must be shown that the motivation was in fact hatred, not simply disagreement. Rick Warren has said, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Footnotes [1] The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines homophobia as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophobia  Related pages
© 2017 Peter Cheyne
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
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Homophobia And Hate-

Speech

Christians are routinely described as being homophobic. The word literally means “afraid of homosexuals”. That is a ridiculous thing to assume about all Christians. I don’t know large numbers of Christians who are afraid of homosexuals (if any). However, the meaning of the word has morphed. In the public mind it now means to have an irrational hatred of homosexuals. [1] The word is used to condemn. Anyone said to be making homophobic comments is seen as being bigoted, unkind, and hateful. Society now reacts strongly against anyone seen to be homophobic. For example, sportspeople accused of making homophobic comments in the course of a game will be profiled on the media and punished by their sporting code. We might say, ‘Rightfully so. There is no need to ridicule or humiliate someone because of his/her sexual preference.” Again, let it be said that some Christians have failed in this area. Some have been nasty. However, that is not the end of the issue. “Homophobic” is now the adjective used of anybody who speaks out against homosexual acts. That is why Christians are routinely described as being homophobic. All Christians are assumed to be homophobic. A person doesn’t need to be afraid of homosexuals or to hate homosexuals; he/she simply needs to disagree with homosexuals to be labelled homophobic. The implication is that that person is bigoted, unkind and hateful – even if he/she is, in reality, gracious, gentle and loving, but has convictions. The threat of being labelled, and condemned, makes people reluctant to express their personal convictions. One cannot, it would seem, disagree with homosexuals. They are, apparently, a special case that is above any criticism or challenge. Clearly, it is a sad day for freedom and justice when people are unable to speak without being condemned and when one privileged group cannot be challenged. There is, of course, a great irony in the fact that a group that has for so long campaigned against prejudice and abuse then adopts the same tactics. Similar concerns can be raised about “hate speech”. Christians would be the first to say that people should not speak hatefully but where is the line to be drawn. If Christians (or anyone else) can be prosecuted for simply disagreeing with homosexuality, that, in itself, will be a gross injustice. For an accusation of hate speech to be upheld it must be shown that the motivation was in fact hatred, not simply disagreement. Rick Warren has said, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Footnotes [1] The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines homophobia as “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals” http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/homophobia  Related pages
© Peter Cheyne 2017.
A Christian’s Guide To Homosexuality
Truth In Love
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