Concerns about New Hate Crimes Bill

The Baptist Press reports some disturbing news:

‘The U.S. Senate passed legislation July 16 to expand hate crimes protections to include homosexuals and transgendered people.’

Here’s how the Baptist Press explains the significance of the measure:

‘The measure, combined with existing law, could expose to prosecution Christians and others who proclaim the Bible’s teaching that homosexual behavior and other sexual relations outside marriage are sinful. For example, if a person commits a violent act based on a victim’s “sexual orientation” after hearing biblical teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, the preacher or teacher could be open to a charge of inducing the person to commit the crime, some foes say.’

34 Responses to Concerns about New Hate Crimes Bill

  1. G F McDowell July 18, 2009 at 1:50 am #

    Hate crime = thoughtcrime. “hatred” may be useful to a prosecutor in helping prove a motive for breaking the law, but to make an additional crime out of a person’s mindset while engaged in criminal activity goes well beyond the scope of human justice.

  2. G F McDowell July 18, 2009 at 1:57 am #

    I think in my lifetime I will see the day when Christians in the USA are persecuted for teaching the word faithfully. In that day, I think much of the church will be revealed to be soil type 2. I know the church will survive, but I pray with fear and trembling that God would give me the strength to survive along with it.

  3. volfan007 July 18, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    This is definitely concerning. The Big Brother Thought Police are revving up their engines. The USA is heading down a bad road.

    David

  4. Derek Taylor July 18, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    G F McDowell, I think you’re right. I hope we – and I – have the stomach for persecution. Many people scoff at the notion that persecution is growing in the U.S., because Christians and churches don’t face physical threats. However, we do face growing social pressure that reveals cracks and weakness. Already, we see many Christian leaders, churches, seminaries, charities and organizations buckle under, throwing up the white flag on sexual ethics, the authority of Scripture, abortion, etc. You make a good case that much of American christianity is comprised of soil #2.

  5. Brian Krieger July 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I’m sure I’m not the first one to think this, but doesn’t this create a caste system? As in some humans are worth more than others. Many crimes are based on hate of one form or another. Why is it that a mother killed by her ex (jealous hate) would be seen as somehow less (i.e. punishment worse for the ex) than, say if a killing were motivated by race/sexual orientation? Or if someone killed me because they hate the fact that I am perhaps wealthier than they are would be seen a lesser crime than if someone hated for some other reason. And, to follow, should those who bomb churches have a greater crime? I don’t think I recall ever seeing that. Or, isn’t that a contradiction of sorts? For example, if a homosexual group accosted parishioners of a church for biblically teaching that homosexuality is wrong (verbal assault is still assault in many locations), then isn’t that verbal assault based on sexual orientation? Or is it only if you’re for, but assault the other direction would be less of a crime?

    GF, you’re right, it is coming. I think it will also come a littler quicker than I ever thought. Of course, we could somehow all be completely wrong about the direction of things to come, who knows?

  6. Ryan K. July 18, 2009 at 7:29 pm #

    Hate crime legislation has never been about justice, but rather a political ideology. Truth of the matter is that all crime is by definition hateful. You do not harm or violence to others while being filled with love for them.

    Therefore hate crime legislation is redundant and does nothing to make someone safer.

  7. Mark July 18, 2009 at 7:49 pm #

    “Hate Bill” Favoritism

    If “hate bill”-obsessed Congress can’t protect Christians from “gays” as much as it wants to protect “gays” from Christians, will Congress be surprised if it can’t protect itself from most everyone? If “hate bills” are forced on captive Americans, they’ll still find ways to sneakily continue to “plant” Biblical messages everywhere. By doing so they’ll hasten God’s judgment on their oppressors as revealed in Proverbs 19:1. (See related web items including “David Letterman’s Hate, Etc.,” “Separation of Raunch and State,” “Michael the Narc-Angel,” and “Bible Verses Obama Avoids.”) Since Congress can’t seem to legislate “morality,” it’s making up for it by legislating “immorality”!

  8. ndefalco July 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Guys, the persecution of the church in America is coming. It will be messy, lots of “grey” areas, and not all Christians will be persecuted, but the day is coming when we will see Christians put in jail for being faithful to the Bible.

    THree things this shows us:

    1. As Derek pointed out, the attacks will not be outright like they used to be in Biblical times, but they’ll come in through side doors or “cracks in the culture” with issues like abortion, homosexuality, and the like.

    2. When you study the persecuted church, you’ll see that it was much more difficult to tell who were truly faithful and who weren’t. Especially once the persecution ended and many who lied about being Christians to save their life and their family’s life were not allowed back into the church because they were looked at as deserters. I wonder how we will treat those who find ways to stay out of jail.

    3. There are still anti-sodomy laws on the books, however antiquated, and the homosexual community will EASILY justify putting Christians in jail by reminding us of that (the moral equivelancy excuse). Now how many Christians supported and still support outlawing homosexuality- a non-violient “crime” that cannot be policed.

    I wonder what life would be like if we had allowed homosexuality to be legal, yet STILL called it a sin. After all, there are plenty of legal activities in this world that we still call sins yet nobody is wanting to put us in jail for it.

    All I’m saying there is we kinda gave them a quick jumpstart by turning sinners into criminals unnecessarily. It gave them a motivation, a rallying cry, to get organized and serious about their rights. Could we have stalled, maybe indefinitely, the coming persecution (at least from this angle), had we taken that motivation from them a long time ago?

  9. Tom 1st July 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    Everyone should be protected against hate crimes. Everyone. Homosexuals have been oppressed for a long time b/c of their sexual orientation. And while I disagree with their life choices, I do think they should be protected from people who would do violence to them.

    If Christians are proclaiming the truth in love, then we have nothing to fear. People will not act violently as a result of a gentle appeal to homosexuals. It’s the fire-and-brimstone sermons that cause people to act irrationally and without love because the sermons themselves ARE VIOLENT!

    Again, I’m not saying their lifestyle is acceptable. I’m just saying that I think everyone, including homosexuals who have been hurt badly in the past (even by Christians!), has the right to protection. This law doesn’t scare me and neither do slippery-slope arguments were are logically fallacies at heart.

  10. Darius T July 19, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Tom, unfortunately the facts don’t back you up. Canada has put into place hate crime and Thoughtcrime legislation, and they have prosecuted people for quoting Scripture online. This bill is idolatry, as it sets up man instead of God as the judge of motives and thoughts. It is evil, simply put.

  11. Tom 1st July 19, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    What facts did I bring up? The only assertions I made were these:

    1. Everyone is deserving of protection against hate crimes.

    2. Christians speaking the truth in love (not truth in violence) have nothing to fear.

    (The situation in Canada has absolutely no causal connection with the American one and therefore is not relevant except as a single possibility among many).

    3. The argument is a slippery slope one. It is based on fear. It is illogical in the strictest sense.

    I see little in what I have asserted that can be challenged. And the only thing would be #2 and you’d have to establish that there’s a causal connection between the two situations to say ‘the facts are against me.’

  12. Nathan July 20, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    Tom,

    The problem with your concept is that “hate crime” is now based on perception and not based on law.

    If someone is assaulted they are a victim of a crime. It really doesn’t matter why the assault occurred or if there were hateful thoughts against a persons race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Assault is assault. Same with murder, burglary, etc.

    So, why does there need to be legislation to protect someone from a crime that is already on the books? That is the real issue. And that is the slippery slope. Because once you can legislate thought, then speech that can lead to perceived violence becomes a hate crime as well.

    So the question for you is this: Where in our country currently is your Item #1 not be carried out?

  13. Tom 1st July 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Nathan,
    Apparently our constitution thought it important enough to say that not only is assault assault, but that there were certain things for which a person should not be persecuted…religion being chief among them.

    Knowing the motive of an action is important in fighting and understanding crime – not only important, but necessary.

    Consider the example of preaching – the more specific you are in your condemnation of particular sins, the more your people will understand the practical need they have to rid themselves of it. If all you did was ever preach on ‘sin’ in an abstract sense, then it would hardly ever get particularized in their own hearts.

    So too with this – we do not just want to condemn assault. We want to be even more specific – if someone is assaulted b/c of their race, religion, or sexual orientation, then we need to come out specifically against that – AND CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO DO SO considering our persecuted past.

    If people started persecuting Christians, I would hope there would be a hate crimes bill specifically against such an action. It lets everyone from there victim to the persecuted know that the government cares about that specific action and will not tolerate it or generalize it.

    But, again, I’m not convinced that this is anything more than a slippery slope argument.

  14. ndefalco July 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm #

    Tom:

    Consider also the following:

    1. There could be an agenda behind hate crimes that isn’t mentioned out loud. Why is it that after 230+ years of American law, we are just now including this idea of hate crimes? And look who are the ones proposing the ideas. Largely liberals who would love to keep Christians’ mouths shut. Seems pretty fishy to me.

    2. Hate crimes are impossible to police. Real actions like assault, rape, murder, fraud, etc can be legally defined. Whereas intentions, not so much. So your preaching comparison doesn’t count. We Christians understand the difference between preaching against homosexuality and assualting homosexuals, but certainly you can see how an unbeliever wouldn’t see the difference.

    3. Free speech means you can say whatever you want as long as you don’t do two things: Threaten with bodily harm. Threaten with death. What do you think of that?

    4. As for your last point, why do we have to make something illegal to condemn it? Hate speech can be ignored by the citizens in a community. So, why prosecute it? You don’t have to prosecute it to prove it is wrong. It’s a LAZY, I repeat, LAZY way of doing the hard work of influencing and persuading the people around you of the Christian worldview.

  15. Tom 1st July 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    1. “could be” is slipperly slope and has no legitimizing evidence. Sorry, not good enough.

    The reason it took so long could be manifold and varied. How long did it take us (even us Southern Baptists!) to realize slavery was wrong? – and then even after that to get over our racism? The longevity of our lack of protection means nothing to this discussion.

    2. I’m not always sure that we Christians do, in fact, know the difference, brother. I have heard multiple sermons where the rhetoric was clearly violent (usually b/c of fear!). I have also heard the word ‘fag’ come out of the pulpit twice.

    Then, I went to a Christian college and I heard plenty of gay jokes and homophobia. So, I’m not sold that we really do know the difference. Our fear has blinded us.

    And, again, it is not just about ‘policing.’ It is ALSO (and maybe mainly!) about letting both the victims of these crimes and the perpetrators know that the government cares about this issue.

    3. What do I think of what? Free speech? That’s fine. But understand that free speech is NOT a Christian virtue…holy, loving speech is.

    Furthermore, I’m going to suspect you don’t know too many gay people. I know plenty. I been walking with them as people walk past us and call them fags. I’ve seen them get things thrown at them. They deserve to be protected against such actions.

    Words, not just actions, can be violent.

    4. Hate speech can be ignored. You’re right. But it’s not just about condemnation in a general sense – it’s about letting both victim and perpetrator know that the government has specifically set this issue aside and said it is important and they care about. I appreciate that there are discrimination (discrimination is a form of hatred!) laws in favor of religious people.

    Next, I’m not sure what you’re saying is Lazy. Are you saying I am?

    Let me say this clearly – I DO NOT think hate crime bills are the telos of Christian living. They ARE a step in the right direction. But Christians not only need to avoid hate, but they actually need to love (which casts out all fear!…a fear we still seem beholden to with this issue!)

    So, sorry, but that’s not lazy. It’s just a recognition that this is a right step, but not the last step.

    Furthermore, I’ve still not seen anyone challenge my claim that this is a logical fallacy. This is really the root of the problem, it seems to me. We’re acting unreasonably b/c we’re afraid.

  16. Paula July 21, 2009 at 2:05 am #

    Tom1st said, “It is ALSO (and maybe mainly!) about letting both the victims of these crimes and the perpetrators know that the government cares about this issue.”

    Here’s where you’re jumping the shark. “The government” is not a thinking, feeling being that “cares” about anyone or anything. Laws can only change behavior, not attitudes or feelings. Furthermore, having “The Government” attempt to dictate what people should feel, think, or believe about anything (let alone sexual sin) is against the very principals our country was founded upon.

    Tom1st said, “Furthermore, I’m going to suspect you don’t know too many gay people. I know plenty.”

    Sigh…is anyone else tired of this straw man? Seriously, it’s hard to go through life these days without knowing any gay people. I’m also tired of the “homophobe” accusation. Being opposed to the homosexual political agenda is not the equivalent of being “afraid” of homosexuals. Really, I’m not afraid of gay people.

    Tom1st said, “I been walking with them as people walk past us and call them fags.I been walking with them as people walk past us and call them fags. I’ve seen them get things thrown at them. They deserve to be protected against such actions.Words, not just actions, can be violent. They deserve to be protected against such actions. Words, not just actions, can be violent.”

    So are you saying there ought to be some government controls on free speech too?

  17. Tom 1st July 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    Paula,
    Believe me when I say that I do not trust the government in any sense of the word.

    And while the government is not a feeling/thinking being on an abstract level, there ARE thinking feeling people within government. And letting a group of people know that you have heard their cries and care about them is a good thing. So, I believe my point here still stands.

    You can sigh all you want, but the facts are that many people have no significant interaction with gay people. This is not a strawman if it’s reality. I don’t just mean, ‘hey I work with a gay person.’ I mean, do you have significant, loving interaction with gay folks?

    It may be hard to go through life without coming across gay people. But it’s quite easy to go through life without engaging them and living life on a meaningful level with them.

    So, no this is not a straw man.

    Next, if you thought I was calling ANYONE here homophobic, then you clearly did not read my statement. I was merely speaking of people I went to school with. I suspect that’s a larger reality, but I did not call you or anyone here out on that.

    I never said you were afraid of gay people. And I certainly NEVER said being against homosexuality or the gay agenda is equivalent to being homophobic. I believe you are reading some liberal agenda onto me instead of listening to what I’m actually saying.

    Finally, AGAIN, free speech is a great thing! But let us not equate it with a Christian virtue. Whether I have free speech or not, I am to proclaim Christ in a LOVING way.

    Words can be violent. Violent words can lead to violent actions. We need to be careful about this. If our words make homosexuals fear us instead of God, then WE ARE IN THE WRONG! That means somewhere in our communication there is a breakdown. I suspect it is our fear of losing control of this once ‘Christian’ nation.

    Please understand what I am saying, not what I’m NOT saying.

  18. ndefalco July 22, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Tom:

    1. So, a law that cannot be policed… you’re okay with that? If the point of criminalizing hate speech is just to send a message to the victims and perpetrators that the government cares, then why doesn’t the government just draft a resolution stating they care? Why make it a law? Perpetrators will never abide by a law that is never enforced. I think my point stands. It is impossible to police, therefore it is pointless to make it a law.

    Besides, when is it a CRIME to be a jerk?

    2. You suspect wrong. I do know gay men and women. It’s like Paula said, it’s hard to NOT know anyone who is gay and when I mean “know” I mean it the way you do. Besides, bringing up the fact that you know gay people is equivelant to white people “keepin’ it real” because they have a black friend. Who cares if you’ve had intimate conversations with gay friends? I have and I still say it’s ridiculous to turn any kind of speech into a crime.

    3. If you believe that criminalizing hate speech is a good deterrant, then yes, I believe you are being lazy. I thought I made that clear. It’s like saying, “I know, let’s make the government do all the work of teaching morality (by FORCING people to be moral otherwise they go to jail) and we’ll fund it with tax payer dollars!”

    Any immoral act that does not violate the physical rights of another individual (such as rape, murder, assault, and fraud) should not be criminalized. To do so would be to pass laws that cannot ever be enforced. It’s a poor deterrant, it’s a waste of tax payer dollars, it makes jerks into criminals for no reason, it’s a cop-out for doing the hard work of discipleship, and it is NOWHERE SUPPORTED IN SCRIPTURE. (caps for emphasis)

  19. Kenneth Ross July 22, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    I guess in this respect the UK has gone down the road ahead of the USA. It looks very likely that legislation currently being progressed will make it an offence to criticise or even discuss matters of sexual behaviour from a Biblical perspective. There would be no nedd for evidence of incitement. It would be an offence to simply state that sexual activity beyond the Biblical standard is wrong.

  20. Darius T July 22, 2009 at 8:52 am #

    In the UK, they have criminalized gay jokes… seriously.

  21. G F McDowell July 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    DeFalco said: There are still anti-sodomy laws on the books, however antiquated, and the homosexual community will EASILY justify putting Christians in jail by reminding us of that (the moral equivelancy excuse). Now how many Christians supported and still support outlawing homosexuality- a non-violient “crime” that cannot be policed.

    I wonder what life would be like if we had allowed homosexuality to be legal, yet STILL called it a sin. After all, there are plenty of legal activities in this world that we still call sins yet nobody is wanting to put us in jail for it.

    I liked your thoughts on persecution, but I found the above to be a bit puzzling. Don’t all governments get their authority from God? Aren’t they meant to be a minister of God, wielding the sword to reward righteousness and punish wickedness? I would have no problem if a government outlawed adultery, for example. Granted, a government comprised of men will be flawed in its execution of God’s justice, but I completely reject the notion that a believing legislator, or a believing judge, or a believing executive in our democracy shouldn’t even try to uphold God’s standards. I feel like your statement is akin to saying, “There will always be some weeds in my garden, therefore I won’t waste my time weeding, because I can’t win that way. There will always be more weeds.” Just as that is a formula for a garden to be overrun with weeds and not capable of bearing fruit, so too a libertarian approach to legislating morality leads to the triumph of evil in our society.

    That being said, I need to state just as forcefully that the main mission of the church is not the cleanup of our society, but the dissemination of the Gospel, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Woe be to us, the church, if we do not preach the Gospel! The culture wars are to be fought in the legislatures and supreme courts of our land, not from the pulpit.

  22. Tom 1st July 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    ndefalco,

    Your tone tells me that you’re really not interested in conversing. I’m sorry the discussion has come to this. I will reply to your assumptions about my position, but probably will not continue to do so simply b/c I feel like I’m just repeating myself (which may be a failure of communication on my part).

    Please DO NOT miss the point that I could care less about what government does or doesn’t do. Their enforced morality cannot change people on the inside.

    Also, I could care less because they are not the ones who determine my moral standards. If they want to pass this legislation, that neither changes what I say nor how I say it.

    So please try to understand what I’m saying instead of what I’m not saying here.

    I’m completely coming from the Christian perspective that words are powerful and words can be violent. I have seen gay people hurt by violent words and am happy that there are people in government who care. But that changes nothing about my practice PRECISELY B/C I AVOID SUCH THING!

    I don’t care where gay jokes are legalized or made illegal (per Darius) – b/c I have no right to engage in or approve of such speech! Free speech is not a Christian virtue – God controls our speech and it is to be loving and holy!

    So,
    Per #1
    I don’t care if the law pointless or not.

    I’m merely saying that we Christians should be the first (before government or anyone else!) to say that violent words and actions toward gay people are wrong! End of argument.

    It may not be a crime to be a jerk, but it certainly is a sin. Government can do nothing about sin, but the church should be the first to point them out – not just the sin of homosexuality, but the sin of violence (verbal and physical) against homosexuals. (While maybe we have come out against physical violence, I believe we have [in my experience!] done a poor job of coming out against violent rhetoric.)

    Per #2
    Once again I feel that you are putting words in my mouth and not reading what I actually wrote. To be honest (but hopefully gentle), I am a bit frustrated by this. Nevertheless, here it goes again…

    I never, never, NEVER said that you or anyone else here don’t intimately know a gay person. How could I know such a thing? But I am around a lot of Christians all the time who don’t interact with gay people on a meaningful level and so I have some substantiation for my comments. So please don’t take those comments as a personal attack – they’re not intended to be.

    Also, to be perfectly honest (but again said gently) I don’t care whether you think its equivalent to ‘keeping it real.’ Being cool in the gay crowd is not my agenda. Knowing them, letting them know I love them, and living a sacrificial life for them is my agenda. Make it sound stupid if you like, but your opinion of me matters not. I am not finally accountable to your judgments.

    I tell you what though – I have had more opportunity to share the gospel with gay folks than most evangelicals will precisely b/c I interact with them and mourn with them and love on them. They have a lot of fear and anger toward evangelicals, and I have had to hurdle a lot of that just to get to the gospel.

    Per #3
    Once again, what government does is not my concern. Free speech is not my highest virtue, godly speech is. I suspect if previous generations of Christians had sought to speak lovingly instead of employing/protecting their ‘free speech’ rights, we might have a different track record with gay people.

    Per your final paragraph
    I am not concerned primarily with the criminalizing of people or the protection of free speech.

    I am concerned with Christian fears here that they will lose their free speech. I am saying that we need to have godly speech (which does the hard work of evangelism AND IS FOUNDED IN SCRIPTURE and is not lazy!)

    Please take all that is written here in grace. I am not trying to be rude, just direct. You are clearly passionate and I appreciate that. But I do fear that I am not being heard – which, again, may be my fault.

    I would also like to add one more thing – I am still convinced that this discussion is still based on a logical fallacy. No matter what I think or don’t think about the issue, my position will not be changed until I see a good reasonably substantiated argument that this is not slippery slope.

    Cheers,
    Tom

  23. Tom 1st July 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    ndefalco,
    Just realized that you were the one I questioned how many gay people you know. I apologize. From my experience many of my congregants or ministerial friends don’t know any gay people intimately. I am sorry that I cast that on you. Please forgive my presumption.

  24. Tom 1st July 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    GF,
    Really appreciated your second comment. Some good questions raised there.

  25. Larry S July 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    A few comments from a Canadian Jesus follower:

    1. Darius in comment #10 makes some claims about Canadian legistlation. I’m wondering about the source of this information and how accurate it may be.

    2. IMO, Evangelical Christians have the well earned reputation for reacting before they’ve done careful research.

    3. Caveat; I have not read the US legislation mentioned in the Baptist article. I’m noticing posters appear to focus on the notion of ‘free speech.’ In other words a public speaker (pastor) saying somthing negative which incites someone else to do violence agianst a gay/lesbian person. [I would hope a thoughtful pastor, while speaking about his/her convictions, would also speak about the gay/lesbian person’s right to life and safety.]

    4. I did a bit of websearching about the July-16 US legislation noted in the Baptist article and found this news piece from someone named Welna (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106677813). Here’s a short quote: “The new law would expand the definition of a hate-crime to violence motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identification or disability. The House passed a version of the bill in April.”

    In Canada I’ve seen ‘hate’ legislation used to protect minorities. Gay bashing (people out hunting gays) People of colour assaulted by people who say things like ‘we don’t like brown people.’

    It seems to me that Christians should be concerned about protecting folks from ‘hate’ violence like this. IMO, its not good enough to say there are already laws on the books against assault. These are acts which because it can be proven in court are motivated by hate. By the way, proving motivation in criminal court is no easy matter.

    5. George McDowell’s comments in #21 are puzzling. It sounds like he is arguing for Christian theocracy. In a pluralistic society made up of folk from different religons or no religon – how could that possibly be fair in a truly Christian way which allows for the freedom of a person to live by whatever belief system they choose? (more could be said about this, but my post is too long already).

    blessings

  26. Darius T July 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    For those who aren’t aware of the evil north of the border which threatens to come south, here is one of many examples: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=66704

  27. Darius T July 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    “These are acts which because it can be proven in court are motivated by hate.”

    As opposed to your garden variety murder which is motivated by what, pure motives? This is such nonsense, it bewilders me that any Christian could possibly support it. The liberal intelligentsia has done quite the job on some people’s minds and hearts, to the point that they would even deny free speech in the name of “feelings.”

  28. Larry S July 22, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    I’ve read that in the south there was a ‘sport’ called N____ Knocking.

    I suppose you would be bewildered by any Christian who would support legistlation geared towards protecting blacks that type of activity.

    thanks for the link Darius, i’ll take a look.

  29. Tom 1st July 22, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    Larry,
    Thanks so much for your input. I had questioned Darius’s refernce to Canada (have heard it numerous times before) but have never had the time to substantiate the claim.

    Your thoughts were very helpful and right in line with my own.

    I also appreciated the grace and gentleness with which you presented yourself.

    Cheers.

  30. Larry S July 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    Darius

    Your link was helpful and deals with a matter which was heard before the a ‘Human Rights Tribunal.’ I’d want to do indepth research before engaging in debate about that particular incident.

    However, I think it would be helpful to separate the ‘free speech’ issue from a Christians view of protecting people from violent acts motivated by hate (as per my #25 post). I’m not entirely thrilled with everything Human Rights Tribunals get involved in.

    And by the way, does anybody else agree that Evangelical Christians have a history of hysteria in responding to issues and then looking a wee bit stupid?

    If pressed I can come up with a few examples 🙂

  31. Larry S July 22, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    Tom thanks for the welcome.

    I gotta say, at times it feels a bit wierd to be a Canadian Anabaptist (ie. trained and orientated towards biblical theology rather than systematics) to be reading / posting on a Southern Baptist site.

    However, I learn from people who have different perspectives / backgrounds than my own.

  32. ndefalco July 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    Tom:

    Per #1:

    I agree.

    Per #2:

    I agree.

    Per #3:

    I agree.

    Seriously, I DO agree with all of those statements. I’m not sure, if you ultimately do not care about the legal stuff, why you would say that everyone should be protected from hate crimes, but everything you just said I agree with.

    If the government is not your concern, then you should probably distance yourself from legal language and stick to just the Christian virtues and principles you talked about in your last response to me. You made some good points in that last response that I think everyone here can benefit from.

  33. ndefalco July 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    GF McDowell: The question is, “where do you draw the line?”

    Why stop at adultery? Why not lying to your parents? Cussing? Cheating on a test? Throw them all in jail for those sins committed!

    Everyone has to answer the question, “Where do you draw the line?” Like Larry S said, unless your arguing for a theocracy (like theonomists do), then you cannot and should not criminalize every sin.

    For me, the buck stops with crimes that violate the physical rights of another person. Murder, rape, assault, fraud, and theft are all crimes that violate the right of another person. The rest are non-violent sins and should not be prosecuted.

    I just want to emphasize that regardless of what we think about our legislators and our laws, we should be about doing the hard work of persuading men to turn from their sins and embrace Christ. Leaving their sins voluntarily (instead of coercively under threat of imprisonment) speaks VOLUMES more about what God can do to change a man.

  34. Tom 1st July 23, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    ndefalco,
    Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad we’re working toward some kind of agreement.

    To be honest, I believe I did largely avoid legal discussions. I tried to engage it only b/c the people I am engaging were working with it. But primarily, the legal stuff is not my forte.

    That said, I think there is still room for me to talk about protection of certain peoples. I don’t have to rely on government to do this. Though, it would certainly make life easier if Government cared about protecting the innocent.

    Thank you for taking the time to understand my position. I deeply appreciate it.

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