If I Were the Devil, I'd Enact Hate Speech Laws
Hate speech laws are loved not only by the do-gooders who demand them. If I were the Devil, I'd love laws that limit free speech, too.
"If I Were the Devil," a famous monologue originally written by Paul Harvey in 1965 that he reworked over a 20-year period, didn't mention hate speech laws. But listen to his final version, and feel the chill of its truths when you realize just how much Satan has achieved.
Then imagine how much more the Devil could accomplish if he could silence, under the banner of a moral imperative to limit speech, not just Paul Harvey, but all Christians.
Christian speech, like all speech here in America, though (for the time being, at least), is protected by the Constitution from the Devil and anyone else who'd like it silenced. Christianity is also protected, and it's no coincidence that religion and speech are mentioned in the same amendment.
As Alexis de Tocqueville noted a few decades after the creation of that document: "the Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other."
The Devil's been busy during the years since, constructing his idea of a "wall of separation" in both the minds of Americans and the streets of America. He's also been working, as Harvey emphasized in his monologue, to make unlimited sexual "liberty" society's focus instead of the kind of self-governing, virtuous liberty the framers had in mind.
This handiwork of the Devil has helped create not only the present-day concept of what constitutes socially acceptable, politically correct speech, but also the impression that much politically in-correct speech is "hate speech" that should be policed.
Sure, Satan loves hate speech, but he loves the word "hate" even more than the content of truly hateful speech. For a Master of Words like the Devil, it is ambiguous terms like "hate" that become the paving stones of good intentions on the slippery slope leading down to his domain.
Recent calls to censor speech have placed us at the precipice, and what began as The Morally Right Thing to Do may end at the Church's doorstep as bars on its doors, preventing the moral messages preached inside from reaching outside.
A clever rhetorical shift has already begun to erect those bars: the evolving usage of "freedom of worship" in place of "freedom of religion." Mary Ann Glendon has lectured that "freedom of religion means much more than believing what you like in the privacy of your room and worshiping in church. It means freedom to be yourself in public as well as in private ... and it means the right of citizens to advance religiously grounded moral positions in the public square."
But what happens when louder voices consider any advancement on any square to be not only politically incorrect, but motivated by bigotry and hatred?
Although it's been said that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn't exist, it's really that he's conned people into doing, all in the name of the good, his work for him. C.S. Lewis once observed that much "wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way."
An example right out of my local paper: a full-page ad produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) titled "Ten Ways to Fight Hate." In the intro to its action plan, it says: "[W]hen hate flares up, good people rise up against it!"
Sounds "good," right? But take a look at some of the organizations the SPLC identifies as
"hate groups" that are anything but, like the Alliance Defending Freedom. One recent addition to SPLC's list, Coral Ridge Ministries Media, is fighting back and suing the SPLC. The ministry's trademark slogan is "Standing for truth and defending your freedom," but that didn't stop the SPLC from inclusion on its "Anti-LGBT Hate Map," simply because, according to Coral Ridge's suit, it "espouses and supports Biblical morals and principles concerning human sexuality."
A "disgusting anti-LGBTQ manifesto" is how an article described the Nashville Statement recently produced by CBMW, "a coalition for Biblical sexuality," signed by a lengthy and impressive list of leaders in the Christian community. Although that document was written in "the hope of serving Christ's church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture," it is being read by others as "hate speech."
The anti-article linked to a confrontation last year with Tony Perkins, one of the agreement's co-signers, with this statement: "GetEqual activist Angela Peoples confronted Perkins with the fact that he is complicit in the massacre of 49 people in Orlando."
As she chased Perkins, Peoples, somehow oblivious to the "fact" that the shooter was Muslim, shouted:
You are responsible for hate and lies – a culture that has fueled violence against our community. ... You are responsible ... for all of this violence. Do you see those 49 people that were murdered in Orlando? You created that environment, Sir. ...
We don't want your prayers, Tony Perkins. We don't want your lies. We want you to stop being homophobic. We want you to stop the hate speech.
The Devil himself couldn't have said it better.
The media have also been his willing accomplices. Back in 2012, in a piece on this same subject, "Christianity or Thoughtcrime," I wrote about an exchange in which NBC's Ann Curry essentially asked actor Kirk Cameron whether his views on redefining marriage are "hate speech" and "encourage people to feel hate towards gay people" and to "mistreat" them.
"We all know what the next step is," commented Breitbart's John Nolte, "and that's the outlawing of these opinions under the principle that the speaking of such things will cause harm to others."
"Harm" is as ambiguous a term as "hate," and when the two are used in unison in a law, they become the Devil's playground for a good attorney representing an unhappy individual from a favored group facing a sympathetic judge.
In Europe, where many hate speech laws are already on the books, Flemming Rose notes that "there is acceptable and unacceptable hate speech. It's okay to mock Christians but not to ridicule Islam." And although those laws were intended to champion "equality," in reality, "there is no equality before the law when it comes to hate speech."
Christian pastors there are well aware of the potential of unintended results, and they "worry that the new push for anti-hate speech laws – in the name of championing 'British values' and aimed at silencing Islamist preachers – may also have detrimental consequences for Christian free speech."
That scenario highlights another favorite deception of Satan: that all religions are equal. But as explained by Ravi Zacharias: "[a]ll religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same. At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life's purpose."
We've seen where that road to purpose can fork: where one religion's extremely devout follower becomes a jihadi terrorist, and another religion's a Mother Teresa. But somehow, in another masterstroke, Muslims in Europe and America have become a protected group.
Now, as Ryan Anderson has detailed, religious liberty is under attack, and "what started out as well-justified efforts to combat racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism have morphed into laws protecting against the 'dignitary harm' (i.e., harm to dignity) allegedly inflicted by anyone who disagrees with progressives about human sexuality."
This "threat to religious liberty" for anyone "who believes that we are created male and female, and that male and female are created for each other" sounds like more of the Devil's handiwork on sexual liberty as described by Harvey.
SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) laws that "punish the wicked" are the goal, noted Anderson, of LGBT activist and multi-millionaire Tim Gill. Many other do-gooders have been taking matters into their own hands, purging whatever they deem "hate" and whomever they deem "haters." Roger Kimball outlines their progress in his fascinating piece, "Inebriates of virtue: On iconoclasm and the restriction of free speech."
You can bet that the law that will soon be proposed will specify and target not only racist hate speech. It will open the door to the censoring of all speech.
And the Devil will smile. For he knows that such a law can be deftly twisted to bully Christians into silence – just as they were 2,000 years ago, when the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman government for the charge of "odium humani generis" (hatred of the human race). Keith Fournier explained that because the Christians didn't approve of sexual promiscuity, marriage redefined, and abortion, they were hated as "haters."
Both then and now, Satan would much rather silence his opposition than have a debate.
Yes, if I were the Devil, I'd encourage the enactment of hate speech laws. "In other words," as Paul Harvey concluded, "I'd just keep right on doing what he's doing."