Saturday, April 15, 2006


Hate Spech: What Would Jesus Do?

Do policies intended to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination end up discriminating against conservative Christians? Ruth Malhotra, a senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology says they do. The school has a policy that bans hate speech based on sexual orientation. Malhotra has gone to court to overturn the policy, which she sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression.

This is a difficult question for Red State Rabble. First, we are well aware that the kind of bigotry exhibited by good Christian fundamentalists, such as Ms. Malhotra, often makes life intolerable for gays and lesbians. Often, the insults lead to outright intimidation, bullying, and physical assaults. We believe that many suicides by young gays and lesbians, particularly in high schools are the inevitable product of the sort of primitive behavior endorsed by Christian fundamentalists.

On the other hand, we also know that bans against certain forms of speech most often end up hurting those they were designed to protect. Back in the 60s, such policies inevitably ended up banning civil rights, antiwar, and women's rights activists from speaking on campus, forming student groups, reserving rooms, and distributing literature. That's why we support freedom of speech for all, even those -- perhaps we should say especially those -- we disagree with the most.

This issue, perhaps more than any other, demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of the religious right. They demand for themselves the right to make the lives of young gays and lesbians miserable -- their faith, they say, demands it.

At the same time, they bray loudly about the discrimination against Christians. Sensitive to the even the smallest slight, they even claim that when stores put signs in the window wishing everyone a "Happy Holiday," they are participating in a war against Christians.

Red State Rabble doesn't believe we should ban hate speech -- vile as it is -- by Christian fundamentalist. We do believe it is imperative confront these bigots forcefully and expose them for the hypocrites they are.


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