There has been considerable debate in recent years about what is considered hate speech regarding homosexuality.
A recent Ad Council public service announcement uses Wanda Sykes to try and deter the use of “that’s so gay” among teens.
In a March 19 article in Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, Rowan Atkinson, of Mr. Bean fame, said he appeared before Britain’s House of Lords to protest the removal of a free speech clause in a homophobic hatred offense.
Removing the clause would not only limit what could be considered humor, but an offense could lead to a seven-year jail sentence for saying the wrong thing in the wrong way.
For everyday individuals, refraining from “hate speech” is rather easy. But creating this new definition of what is considered hate speech creates an unfair limitation on free speech.
As unpolitically correct as it may be, there is an overwhelming number of religious people in the world who believe that homosexuality is a sin.
According to the Web site Christian.org.uk,, street preachers and pastors in England have been prosecuted under the law, like Miguel Hayworth, who was detained by police for reading Romans 1:17-32 on a street corner in Manchester in 2008.
Stephen Green was arrested in 2006 for handing out gospel tracts that contained biblical quotes about homosexuality. Canada also has similar laws and lobbyists are working on getting these laws passed in America right now.
The David Ray Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 was re-introduced in January, and if passed without a free speech clause, would significantly limit freedom of speech for those who disagree with homosexuality.
This is the latest in a series of events that include the 2003 decision by Merriam-Webster to alter its dictionaries’ definition of marriage to include homosexual marriage. Bradley LaShawn Fowler sued both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Bible Publishers for $70 million on the grounds that the Bible’s anti-gay verses brought him pain and suffering. Mr. Bean and Wanda Sykes aren’t laughing, and the reality that this article could land me in jail someday is no laughing matter either.
Americans have earned by the sweat and blood of our forefathers’ freedom of speech and religion, and that provides us the right to voice our interpretation of scripture.
Hate crime legislation is a valuable tool for dealing with actual crimes, but its power should not be abused in a way that criminalizes the basic rights this country was built on.
Andrew Weatherford is a junior religion major and pastor of Deliverance Bible Church in Fort Worth.