What is Hate Speech?

truth-new-hate-speech-300x181If something is wrong, it is not hate speech to say so. Problem is, it’s getting harder and harder to agree on what “wrong” is. If the great evil of Postmodernism has its way—the loss of the objective—we will eventually reach the point where it will be considered hate speech to say anything is wrong.

Who decides what is right and wrong? Who is to say what is good and what is evil? To ask Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” If we get to decide for ourselves, we’ll always be aiming at a moving target.

There was a time not so long ago in American history when it was illegal to commit cold-blooded murder. Today it’s not only legal in certain contexts, it’s even encouraged.[1]

Anyone who says abortion is wrong is an enemy of women’s rights.

If you oppose assisted suicide (or even call it that), you must be a hateful person who enjoys watching people suffer.

The ability to distinguish right from wrong isn’t an exclusively Christian concern. The prevalence of evil is a symptom of a very sick state.

We are still (probably) at the point where most people regard bestiality and pedophilia as sexual perversion. But for how long? Most people used to regard homosexuality as sexual perversion, but this is no longer the case. Last Friday, Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in a popular vote. In a few weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on the legality of same-sex marriage in America. The writing is on the wall.

To be clear, public opinion is no threat to the truth, but it is a threat to those who confess it. In a recent letter to all LCMS pastors, President Harrison has recently said the Supreme Court decision, which will likely rule in favor of the gay agenda, “will be the earnest beginning of a very long struggle for faithful Christians who will, more and more, be driven from participation in the culture.” He has advised our congregations to seriously consider obtaining counsel from our own attorneys. Legal protection may be lost for congregations who commit the “crime” of confessing the truth. Congregations may be fined and pastors thrown in jail for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. President Harrison reminds us of the words of the late Cardinal George:

I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.[2]

This is nothing new, nor should it come as any surprise. Jesus has warned His Church: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you… if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” (John 15:18, 20). Following our Lord in the way of the cross, countless saints have been persecuted and martyred for their confession of Christ.

What are we to do? Stand fast. Speak the truth in love, and let the chips fall where they may. In this world we will have tribulation, but Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). As Jesus once told the Church at Smyrna:

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

We can in good conscience call sinners to repentance and faith because that’s what the Lord has given us to do. Hatred of the truth profits no one. The only true hate speech is to call good that which God calls sin.

[1] Here I do not have in mind those who have been authorized to bear the sword on behalf of the state for the good of the people (e.g., policemen, soldiers, etc.).

[2] http://blogs.lcms.org/2015/harrison-we-speak-the-truth-in-love-to-all-on-same-sex-marriage

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