Something to Ponder this Weekend.

SOMETHING TO PONDER THIS WEEKEND | Recently I wrote about how our family loves the reality show Duck Dynasty, here. I typically do not write about things that would cause a fight. That is not what this blog is about. However, with the recent controversy surrounding what some are calling homo-phobic comments by the shows patriarch, Phil Robertson, to GQ Magazine, I feel I need to put my two cents into the mix.

The big question for me is whether or not Roberston expressing his religious beliefs and quoting the Bible can be labeled as Hate Speech. But first I must know: What exactly makes up Hate Speech?

Hate Speech Law and Legal Definition: “Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.” {source}

Simply put, an opinion (religious, personal, or otherwise), other than your own, is not Hate Speech. The statement must carry an expression of hatred to be labeled Hate Speech. You may find it to be vulgar, disgusting, repulsive, or intolerant, but that doesn’t mean the opinion/statement carries the intent of hatred.

There seems to be a fine line between personal opinion/beliefs and hate speech these days. Sometimes those lines get blurred in this social media world we live in. And, sometimes we have a knee-jerk reaction to a statement, and rush to label it or that person as racist, a bigot, or anti-whatever.

Phil Robertson was not expressing hatred of a group; he was expressing his American right to his religious beliefs. He was asked his opinion of what he believes is sinful. Like it or not, he gave it.

Never ask a question if you’re not ready to hear the answer.

This is my opinion: Tolerance on both sides is a must. A group cannot demand tolerance from another group without showing tolerance themselves. We must be quick to love, slow to judge. In this country we still (for now) have the right to express our religious beliefs. Simply expressing what is stated in our Christian Bible is not hate speech. You don’t have to like it, but you have to allow it.

Personally, I choose to base my opinion of someone by how they treat me, strangers, their family, co-workers, etc. It is not my place to judge. I will let God sort that out. I stand behind everyone’s right in this country to speak their mind.  Whether I agree with it, or not. 

Before you throw a stone at Phil Robertson with the media, read GQ the article for yourself (don’t read just the quoted excerpts, which are misleading). Then read the Robertson Family response.

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