I don't usually use the word "hate." But it's hard to talk about hate crimes without using the word. So I freely admit: I hate hate crimes.
"What is a hate crime?" you ask. Hate crime is a potential piece of legislation that would make certain speech punishable by law. In other words, if I made a comment about Muslims or Native Americans or Homosexuals that someone considered offensive, I could be fined, arrested, or even jailed.
This could be applied to conversations, but typically is used in public communications, which even includes sermons by ministers. In other words, a pastor could say a person who is a Buddhist will go to hell when he or she dies and later be arrested for it.
"Aren't you blowing this out of proportion?" you may be thinking. Consider this: In Canada, where hate crime law is already in place, a pastor said some words about Muslims that some Muslims didn't like. They took it to the law and the pastor was sentenced (yes, "sentenced") to 300 hours of community service in a local Muslim community.
In other Western nations were hate crime laws are in effect, there have been cases where ministers have called homosexuality a sinful practice and have been sued. This could even be applied to speaking out on issues such as premarital sex being sinful for Christians to practice or speaking out on a biblical view of divorce or church leadership standards.
America cherishes free speech. However, there are ratings on movies and video games for a reason. Americans can say what they want, but I can't yell "Fire!" in a theater or "Bomb!" in an airport without getting into trouble. However, both free speech and religious freedom is in trouble if people of a particular religious persuasion (Christian or otherwise) cannot say what their religious teachings teach during their assemblies.
Why am I talking about this now? Because as new political leaders take office in 2009, hate crime bills will once again be in discussion. It will be pitched as helping end racism and discrimination, issues I do care deeply about (and you probably do, too).
However, hate crime law will end up hurting religious free speech. I want anyone who cares about religious freedom to know NOW so we can help people understand this issue when it hits FOX and CNN in a few months.
So when hate crimes start coming up in conversation or on the news, tell people you hate hate crimes.
Why? I tell people it's because I love Jesus and want to be able to tell other people what His favorite book says about life. But even non-Christians can often agree that they don't want a law telling them they can't comment on controversial areas of life.
And that's why I hate hate crimes. My name is Dillon Burroughs and I approve this message.