Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hate Crimes and Free Speech

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, the staff of the LGBT Community Center in Greenwich Village (New York City) arrived at work to find the Gay Pride rainbow flag on their building had been burned, torn, and defaced.  A call was made to the NYPD, and detectives were immediately dispatched from the central hate crimes unit as well as officers from the nearby precinct.

As the story unfolded in following weeks, the interesting aspect of the investigation is that this was seen as a "hate crime."  “This desecration can not and will not be tolerated,” Community Board 2 chairwoman Jo Hamilton wrote in a statement.

Flash back now to the 1960's, 70's, and 80's.  A landmark ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989 determined that desecration and burning of the American flag was a right protected under the First

Amendment Freedom of Speech.  According to Texas v. Johnson (that's the Supreme Court ruling) it is ok to tear down, deface, and burn the symbol of our nation.  At the same time now, we find that it is a hate crime to burn the rainbow flag or,beyond that, to express (or even hint at) disagreement over moral issues.  Does anyone see a double standard here?

The purpose of this short blog is not to revisit the current issues of gay rights and the landslide transitions taking place in our culture.  I have addressed that elsewhere.  My purpose here is to point out a growing one-sided picture with respect to FREEDOM.  We appear to be headed in directions that allow and promote a decidedly left-wing worldview, while penalizing and restricting anything that hold up more traditional, conservative values.

EVERYTHING is being redefined -- from family to marriage to gender to life itself.  The new normal not only presents a new way of looking at the world, it also declares war on the old.  

I am reminded of George Orwell's 1984.  In that "brave, new, world" they engaged in NEWSPEAK (as opposed to OLDSPEAK).  Along with this new language, was also something called Thought Crime.  Orwell was shockingly prophetic.  A new, approved worldview is arising that not only promotes itself, but penalizes all that disagrees.

As cases in point:

A few years ago, Christianity Today magazine reported that Christian relationship counselor Gary McFarlane was fired for refusing sex therapy to homosexual couples.  Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin was released from her job for wearing a crucifix around her neck in hospital wards.

Fox News reports that last September, a high school honors student in Fort Worth, Texas was sent to the principal's office and punished for telling a classmate that homosexuality was wrong.  The conversation was private but a nearby teacher overheard it.

In 2010, Eastern Michigan University dismissed student Julia Ward from its graduate program in school counseling because of her belief that homosexuality is wrong.  

There is a growing bias that constitutes a double standard.  Freedom of speech is defined to allow even the most offensive desecration of all things Christian or promotion of sensuality (witness the state-funded art of Andres Serrano or Robert Mapplethorpe).  At the same time freedom of speech with respect to biblical morality is classified as "hate crime."

This confusion is likely to continue.  It may soon be politically incorrect to designate anyone by gender at all.  Increasingly, the family as God has designed it, may stand out as an anomaly in a world gone crazy.  If so, may we be salt and light.  May we be messengers of God's infinite love for a world in rebellion.  And,when it is all over....LOVE WINS.

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