Saturday, August 02, 2008

Hate Speech

I've dealt with this subject before, but it bears another visit, simply because it's so complicated (wonderful turn of phrase, that), and because I have an impetus. Once again, it's the jeebnuts at Christian Worldview Network who provide my blog fodder. From Bill Muehlenberg:

If nothing else, the steady stream of madness and moral decrepitude one encounters on a daily basis at least keeps life interesting. It is hard to stay bored in such an environment. Consider as an example this quite recent news item...
I agree. It's a common thread in my writing. Oh, but you meant liberals. My bad.

...“A Michigan man is seeking millions in compensation from two Christian publishers for emotional distress and mental instability he received from Bible's referring to homosexuality as a sin. Bradley LaShawn Fowler says his constitutional rights were infringed by both Zondervan Publishing Co. and Thomas Nelson Publishing who he claims deliberately caused homosexuals to suffer by misinterpretation of the Bible. Fowler, 39, is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson. Zondervan has stated that he's suing the wrong party whether his claims are credible or not because the publishing house does not translate the Bible nor do they own the copyright for the translations.”...
Well, he can't very well sue god, can he? I'm conflicted here, because he has a point, as stupid as it is. I've said before that I'm not a fan of censoring anybody, and I'm increasingly uncomfortable with human rights cases, and I've never liked frivolous lawsuits. There's no fucking way this guy should win, even if he does have a small point. And here's that point.

Here's a working definition of hate speech from Canada's criminal code:
By this definition, the Old Testament is clearly hate speech. Not just for gays, but for women, a laundry list of other religions and ethnicities (fortunately largely wiped out by the Canaanites, and therefore not around to make complaints to human rights tribunals), for violators of the ten (or so) commandments, and for those who disregard The Law (which, the more you read it, looks more and more like a cosmic game of Simon Says). The New Testament is marginally better, but still not compassionate or understanding, and though Jesus was more sunshine and puppy dogs than Old Testament god, he still says some pretty mean-spirited shit.

The thing about hate speech is that it is a call to action, a means to punish people for differences. It's one thing to say that gay people are breaking god's law. Feel free to say it. The problem is that violating god's law comes with a) a prescripted penalty, usually involving crowds with stones, and b) eternal torment, which c) might cause mental anguish if you actually take that shit seriously.

The Bible clearly exposes people to hatred, contempt and even violence. It's dangerous shit, and anyone who tells you otherwise isn't reading the best parts. And so, the Bible is hate speech.

The problem is that I'm not a big fan of censorship, and while this lawsuit raises some valid concerns and points out that religious texts are texts, and therefore subject to the law (no matter what the jeebnuts might say, and I know what they'd say), the law has very little to say about what you can say. Or at least, it ought to.

But while I agree that the lawsuit is frivolous, wasteful and wrong, I've little else in common with the besieged Christians over at CWN.

There are many responses that come to mind here about this bizarre scenario. Let me mention just a few.

Firstly, this is yet another example of the fact that we live in an overwhelmingly litigious society. We now live in age in which everybody is suing somebody for something. We have gone mad with lawsuits, court cases, tort laws, and all sorts of often unnecessary litigation. The motto seems to be, “Don’t just get angry, get even, and sue the living daylights out of the guy”.

Quite right. You don't have the right to remain unoffended. Suck it up, princess (gay joke intended).

This case is also an example of a world in which rights-talk has gone mad. Everyone everywhere seems to be insisting on this right or that right. There are now rights for everything it seems. And these rights are simply being pulled out of the hat. They never existed before, but people are just making them up as they go along.
Actually, as I've said before, the question has never been what rights are, but who gets them. Clearly the gays don't, we wish women and inferior races didn't, and the damn Papists only get theirs because they were here first. Oh, and though the Jews killed Christ, they're still God's Chosen People, so I guess, maybe, we'll let them have some too.
Perhaps one of the most strange and nefarious rights to come on the scene lately is the right not to be offended. I am not sure where this idea came from. It certainly is not found in any major human rights declarations or national constitutions. But it has become all the rage to expect not be offended by anything or anyone.
You know what they say about a stopped clock? But don't worry, it doesn't last:

But I would have thought that daily life in a fallen world will mean offences will arise all the time. If you are in a hurry, a red light will seem offensive. So should we sue the government for red lights? A Coke lover may be offended by a Pepsi. A Manchester United supporter may be offended by any rival soccer club. A nudist may be offended at clothes. A Hindu may well be offended by the exclusive nature of Christian truth claims.
Or by the exclusive truth claims of any religion, numbnuts. What makes your god so special? And what the hell is this thing about the fallen world. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were indirectly blaming god for letting things go to hell...

The list is endless. But surely turning every offence and grievance into a lawsuit or a court case is not the way to go in a democratic society. Lawyers may love it, but it will soon bankrupt any open society.

And in the past, rights never stood on their own. They were always bundled together with duties, obligations and responsibilities. Any society that demands various rights without corresponding responsibilities is asking for, and getting, trouble.
Again, the jeebnut nails it (though the comment is unrelated to the thesis). But he's about to go off the rails:

This case also illustrates the never-ending set of demands of the radical homosexual lobby. Their agenda is never satisfied, and their grievances are endless. Indeed, this is but another example of how militant homosexuals seek to shut down all public debate about the issue. Instead of allowing for the free flow of ideas and values, they want to shut down any and all opposing viewpoints.
Those damned homos. Why can't they be ashamed of themselves, like all good fags (and every sexually active person, but straight fornicators are a lesser evil. It's the sodomites you've got to watch out for. Let's get those homos back in the closet where they belong, and then we'll get the nasty-fuckers.) I also like the idea of a "radical homosexual lobby". I demand you treat me like a real person! How radical.
They may talk all they like about tolerance and acceptance, but this is all just
one-way traffic. They show very little understanding, acceptance, tolerance or
openness to those who happen to disapprove of the homosexual agenda.
I've always wondered about this homosexual agenda. None of the gay people I've asked (and I've asked a lot) have seen the agenda. My brother thinks he might have missed that meeting.
Finally, this case shows the folly of the various types of legislation which have sprung up around the Western world. I refer to various sorts of equal opportunity laws, discrimination legislation, and the like. These bits of legislation are really designed to stifle debate in general and silence Christians in particular. Hate crime laws are the main example of this, and presumably this is what Mr Fowler from Michigan has in mind.
Yes, we do want to shut the Christians up. We've been outed, guys. Cheese it! The cops! I expect Mr. Fowler just wants Christians to stop telling him he's dirty, an abomination, and going to hell.

Indeed, it is becoming quite commonplace now for homosexual activists to claim the Bible is one big exercise in “hate speech”. Because the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is wrong and sinful, homosexuals and their supporters are seeking to argue that the Bible should be banned, because it engages in hatred toward homosexuals.
It is. It does. Should it be banned? No.

These trends, taken together, nicely dovetail in what we now see happening, as exemplified by this Michigan case. A world which is losing its moral bearings, forgetting about common sense, and resorting to neo-paganism, becomes a very nice breeding ground for this sort of insanity. The soil has been nicely prepared for these sorts of nutto cases.
Right, because the gays and the Wiccans are in cahoots. Satan is dancing. I wouldn't bandy the word "nutto" about, you nutto.

Indeed, we can only expect to see many more such cases, as long as these
destructive trends are allowed to continue. It really is only a matter of time
before most Western nations fully outlaw the Bible, all in the name of acceptance, tolerance and homosexual rights. Whether that day comes sooner or later really depends on what we do about it. And can I suggest that silence will only hasten that day.
I can't stress this enough: give me a fucking break. You got all of that one, Billy. Hit that paranoia right out of the park.

Is the idea of Christian persecution maybe just projection?

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