Free Speech – The Line Dance

I just finished commenting on a religious show (insight) about the idea of when ‘free speech becomes a hate crime’. The show was concerned with the right of a political party to speak their mind and propose their plan of action concerning homosexuality in Canada. For me, I have no problem with the actual conversation with the whole premise (ie: free speech in discussion) but I have to draw a line in the sand – when does your speech actually cross that line?

Firstly, the question needed to be clarified to ‘when does free speech become hate speech’ (not crime)…that’s comparing the same thing. For me ‘hate speech’ is when someone espouses ‘discriminatory dislike or threats’ about a certain group. If someone can logically state why they do not like a certain group then are free to discuss that – I am not sure that is hateful. It is when that logic does not line up or someone demeans a group for no good reason we start to see some semblance of hate speech.

The people on the program were from a political party and based their agenda on statistics and medical journals for their platform on the gay lifestyle. As far as that discussion goes – I am not sure it is hate speech. For me, since they never said what the actual line was in hate speech, the problem comes when you start calling the gay lifestyle an addiction and base part of your political platform on ‘dealing with that addiction’. To be fair, they never stated to treat gay people badly or anything – but their platform does draw a divisive line in which one has to figure out what they mean by their platform.

Hate speech becomes a true problem when it starts to become an action plan – and action based on limited knowledge of the problem or biased opinions creates blurred vision. The plan may be quite simple – to ban gay marriage via law (then I am not sure that’s hate). But since addictions are defined as ‘not normal’ then what is next in the path to ‘dealing with that addiction’? Are we talking jails here? What level of tolerance towards gay people becomes acceptable after something like this is passed? This is where I see real ethical problems with the whole stance.

The platform, being not really clear, makes people decide what is meant to be done with this ‘addiction’. The party compared it to alcoholism – and the way that addiction is dealt with. Alcohol is a legal substance in Canada – but it is a substance (not a person). They are trying to make the point being gay is not internal but external to the person (and even if it is internal – these are defects that cause problems). What is the cure then? Are they gonna subject gay people to medical testing? The true issue is this is gay is defined as being a problem – not normal – and needs to be ‘dealt with’…that my friends is called discrimination.

So the question is – when does free speech cross a line into hate speech – and when does hate speech become a problem in society?

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8 thoughts on “Free Speech – The Line Dance

  1. My first impression of this group’s agenda is “red flag”. First diagnose homosexuality as an addiction and act upon it. Whether there is any truth to this diagnosis is irrelevant. What is relevant is that these folks’ “cure” could be worse than the disease.

    The line in free speech is drawn IMO when one person or group calls on the physical harm of another. The greatest recent case of this is the Rwandan nutcase that egged the Hutus on, even pointing out live on the air where covoys of Tutsis were headed. This type of speech is different than what Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken do.

    It is one thing to say that homosexuality is an addiction or not God-ordained. It’s wholly another to advocate throwing homosexuals into insane asylums.

    The problem with “hate crime/ hate speech” laws is that they are too broadly written. Leaving these laws open to interpretation is a time bomb. There was the case in Canada where the printer refused to print stationary for a homosexual activist group – he even referred them to someone who would glady print their material – and went broke defending himself from a “hate crimes” lawsuit.

    Now the printer’s refusal didn’t put the homosexual activists in harm’s way yet, for taking that stand, he was put in harm’s way – being driven into poverty. Ironic how the “hate crime law” becomes the “hate crime” itself.

  2. “It is one thing to say that homosexuality is an addiction or not God-ordained. It’s wholly another to advocate throwing homosexuals into insane asylums.” (Jim)

    Where would you say the line is on ‘hate speech’ with the gay issue? This political group actually has no agenda (I e-mailed them and they haven’t replied yet) as of yet concerning this idea of ‘addiction’ they have (accept it is cureable?). But for me it leaves the whole thing wide open for any person to make their own judgments – and this can be just as harmful as saying ‘homosexuality is a sin punishable by death’ and then not explaining what is meant by that. Someone might hear that and make a weird judgment.action on their own and think they are right for doing so…which I find as dangerous as saying actual ‘hate speech’.

    The whole printer story is discriminatory for no good reason – because the people are gay he refused them (or was it because of what they saying on their printing?). But either way, unless is was harmful rhetoric the printer would be in the wrong because even though they are gay (and he may not like that) – they are people with rights – including printing (free speech). For me, it depends what they were dispersing – if it in and of itself was hateful then I can see a reason to deny them their request…but if it’s only because they identified themselves a gay then the printer is so in the wrong he deserved to lose that court case.

  3. This political group actually has no agenda (I e-mailed them and they haven’t replied yet) as of yet concerning this idea of ‘addiction’ they have (accept it is cureable?). But for me it leaves the whole thing wide open for any person to make their own judgments – and this can be just as harmful as saying ‘homosexuality is a sin punishable by death’

    If they have no agenda then what’s the problem? If I say I don’t believe homosexuality is God-ordained, and someone says “Jim said that, so I’m going on a kiling spree”what does that have to do with me? Am I responsible for another person’s insanity?

    My daughter won’t stop talking about fashion brand “Juicy Coutour”. If I say, “I’m tired of hearing about Juicy Coutour” and someone resonds by killing the CEO of that company, should I be arrested? I hope not!

    Regarding the printer, it was offensive stuff. Your holdout would be like the printer saying “I won’t print Wittgenstein’s Tractatus because he was gay”. I assure you that was not the case here. It’s my understanding that they chose this printer to harass because he printed Christian materials for many clients.

  4. “If I say I don’t believe homosexuality is God-ordained” (Jim)

    Do you not hold to the idea you are responsible for what comes out of your mouth? Now you can say that all you want – but I think it is better to clarify what you mean by that so no one gets a mis-interpretation about your viewpoint – or maybe some nut job picks up your rhetoric without the same reasoning that you use – just the saying and what they think it should be used for. They put something ‘out there’ in the public sphere and left it at that – now I think that is dangerous – since they did not make it as well known what their actual meaning was until I asked.

    But here is their agenda (from Ron Gray’s own mouth):

    “The actual policy statement of the CHP is simply that no government body or agency should grant approval or recognition to identifiably sexually deviant groups. Beyond that, dealing with addictions is a medical problem.”

    Based on this research:

    “The refernce to homosexuality as an addiction is Dr Jeffrey Satinover’s book “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth”.

    You would also be interested, perhaps, in the history of the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV): that decision was made at the APA convention in San Francisco, when delegates were subjected to threats by homosexual activists. But four years later, when a professional magazine surveyed all practising psychiatrists in North America, 69% said they still regarded homosexuality as a treatable psychopathology. And in 200, the doctor who had proposed removing homosexuality from the DSM-IV, Dr. Robert Spitzer, said that he had found that reparative therapy was often helpful for homosexual patients.”

    “Am I responsible for another person’s insanity?” (Jim)

    No – but do every youth a favor and let them know what you mean when you say things about a group of people that has been known to be ‘killed’ for their stance on life. I think that is onyl fair – don’t leave things out hanging for someone to imagine what your meaning. (I am not saying you do this but if you do – it’s not wise)

    The Juicy Coutour thing is not the same – the company is not hated on for their products of for their being in existence…meanwhile back in reality – gay people can be subject to vicious attacks for no other reason than being gay.

  5. You would also be interested, perhaps, in the history of the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV):
    ————Yes sir by-golly, I read the other day where a group from the homosexual ‘christian’ [little c for practicing] are editing a new Bible that changes what the Holy Spirit inspired His writers to say about sexual [specifically homosexual] sin too. Took them a little longer than the APA.

    At least the APA got it a little right–practicing homosexuality is not a diease. But it is a sin, thought the new “homosexual” Bible erases it from existence.

    So did I just write hate speech?
    fishon

  6. “So did I just write hate speech?” (fishon)

    I don’t think so either – but – I think when we talk about this subject with people who don’t understand we need to clarify our positions clearly so people understand what is meant by ‘our words’. I would never want someone to take something I say and act radically upon it in some action of violence – I think it would be better to say nothing than to have that happen (which was my point all along). But I am an advocate of free speech so basically anything goes on my blog (as for perspectives)…I may not agree but that does not mean it can’t be said (unless it actually is hate-filled).

    “You did not tell anyone to DO anything. I think you understand the line that HAS to be drawn and the line that wreaks havoc.” (Jim)

    Well actually Jim ‘hate speech’ and a ‘hate crime’ are 2 different things – one’s words and the other’s an action. Hate speech would be one group saying all kinds of mean and discriminatory things about another group just to show utter dislike of a group (ex: KKK). Hate crimes would be actual actions of hate against a group that result from someone believing hate speech (ex: Kid in Colorado shooting – hated Pentecostals and Christians).

    For me there is real thin line between promoting hate speech and promoting hate crime – since they will always be explicably tied (words and action). I think we each have to draw the line we think is being Christ-like in the issue.

    As for me and my computer – we will accept gay people as who they are – people. The God I serve loves them and cares about them just as much as I believe that same God loves me. It only leaves me with one command after that – love my neighbor as myself (which connotates speaking into someone’s life we know).

    I’ll pose this conundrum to both of you – if two consenting gay adults decide to marry and live together – is that wrong and why? If a gay person decides to play on the scene and have many partners, never settle down – is that wrong and why? I see a difference between those two – do you?

  7. society,
    You asked: ‘I’ll pose this conundrum to both of you – if two consenting gay adults decide to marry and live together – is that wrong and why? If a gay person decides to play on the scene and have many partners, never settle down – is that wrong and why? I see a difference between those two – do you?”

    ——-society, I am not in the debating mood tonight. And besides, I am guessing you know my stance on those questions, just on what little exchange we have had with each other. I will, however, answer your last question. NO.
    MAKE IT a great weekend.
    fishon

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