Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hate Speech

According to (June 30, 2010), the Fundamental Rights Agency [FRA] of the European Union invited all NGOs “from EU countries to submit applications for membership in the Platform. The purpose of the platform, the agency says, is to engage in a ‘structured dialogue with civil society, to ensure that the EU and national governments respect the fundamental rights of all persons.’”

However a pro-family Romanian NGO was denied a seat at the table. The FRA denounced the NGO as promoters of “hate,” because the NGO had made a statement terming same-sex marriage as “human degeneration,” in accordance with its Christian views.

The FRA argued that “The qualification of other people’s sexual orientation as human degeneration is not an acceptable basis for creating a structured and fruitful dialogue.” Is the FRA’s reasoning sound? Here are some reasons why it might not be:

1. The sexual orientation isn’t the issue but the behavior. If the FRA is disqualifying discussion of sexual behavior, why not also pedophilia, bestiality, adultery, rape, sex holidays and bigamy? Certainly these are moral issues that have far-reaching social and psychological implications. If these are important moral issues, which need to be discussed, it seems that there should also be discussion about same-sex marriage, especially in light of the fact that history and the world religions have ruled consistently against such an institution.

2. If the FRA is so concerned about human rights, how can they justify the denial of the human rights of this Christian NGO? If the FRA is concerned about protecting human rights by hearing from various voices, it seems to be acting in a hypocritical way.

3. Meanwhile the FRA “accepted the application of the British Humanist Association (BHA), one of Britain's most outspokenly anti-Christian lobby groups that works for the removal of all signs of Christianity from public life in Britain.” If the FRA denied the Christian NGO a seat because of its opposition to same-sex marriage, why then shouldn’t it deny a seat to the BHA for its opposition to Christianity?

4. It is without justification to characterize the statement of this Christian NGO as “hate” speech simply because it regards same-sex marriage as degraded. Perhaps instead, it is an act of love to speak out against an institution it regards as destructive? “Hate” implies an intention to hurt and degrade others. The FRA has failed to demonstrate the suitability of such an allegation. It then should be asked, “Isn’t the FRA exercising ‘hate speech’ against this NGO?”

5. Although the position of the Christian NGO is offensive to gays, the position of the FRA is offensive to Christians. Should free speech be infringed upon simply because some may regard it as offensive? Such reasoning could be used by the Democrats to silence Republicans or by men to silence women. Where does it end?

I think that this example and many others like it are symptomatic of troubling changes taking place in the West. Truth matters little. Power has usurped the place of reason. We refuse tolerate dissenting opinions and personal differences. When we don’t like what others say, we vilify them instead of challenging their opinions in the light of reason. Jesus, come quickly!

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