By Tristan Emmanuel
On Sept. 17, 2003 a group of Christian clergy gathered with me to denounce the passage of Bill C-250. We wanted to urge the Senate to give sober second thought to the bill. In addressing the Senate, and the national press, we gave the following as our opening statement: “We preface our statement by saying that as clergy, we are motivated by Christian love. As ministers of the Gospel of Peace, we feel it is important to constantly re-affirm this axiom, particularly because of the highly contentious nature of Bill C-250, and because of the general climate of politically correct speech. As ministers of the Gospel, we re-affirm our love for homosexual persons, though we morally disapprove of homosexual sexual practices. It is love, love for our nation and love for homosexual persons, that causes us to stand here and challenge the legitimacy of Bill C-250.”
Since that press conference, I’ve noticed a number of other organizations offer similar statements. For example, I recently came across this one: “(We) do not condone nor support the promotion of hatred or acts of violence towards any person, nor do we condone speech that incites people to violent acts.”
Both statements are examples of a disclaimer. A disclaimer is a statement that renounces the opinion or action of another group. It creates legal separation. You’ve probably seen broadcasters issue these kinds of statements whenever a religious program is aired. The broadcaster wants to ensure that no one will associate them with the religious program. So they issue a disclaimer to avoid potential conflict with the viewing audience. The same goes for us. We want to ensure that no one associates Christians, who are speaking out about Bill C-250, with actual hate-mongers. No self-respecting Christian person or organization condones or supports the proliferation of hatred. However, having thought the issues through, I have come to the conclusion that when we go out of our way to issue a disclaimer, like those mentioned above, we actually do more harm than good.
The fact that Christian organizations feel it necessary to restate the obvious demonstrates that there are inherent flaws with our politically correct culture. If we are going to defend freedom of speech, freedom of religion, advance the truth, and promote the Gospel, we must not only expose the flaws of politically correct speech, but contend with and reverse the secular standards of public discourse. If we do not do this, not only will we lose the present battles (Bill C-250 and “same-sex marriage”), we will lose the culture war.
There are several reasons why the “we-do-not-condone-hate” disclaimer is not only unnecessary, but downright counterproductive to what we are ultimately trying to accomplish.
First, all such disclaimers are superfluous. Of course, no reasonable and responsible person or group condones and supports the promotion of hatred. Respect, benevolence and charity is the assumed position of anyone who cherishes freedom, democracy and the advancement of peace in a nation. Christians, of all people, cherish freedom, democracy (even with all its flaws) and the advancement of peace for all citizens. Restating the obvious isn’t necessarily wrong. However, it is unnecessarily redundant, which means that either Christians have done a very poor job of communicating their love for our democracy, or the average citizen hasn’t the faintest idea what a Christian really is. I suspect both are the case.
Second, our politically correct environment has created a double standard, and therefore, a disclaimer serves only to propound politically correct speech. The unwritten rule of current public discourse maintains that anything written or stated publicly from a conservative Christian perspective must be couched with a moderate tone, give credence to “diversity,” and promote the virtue of “tolerance.” If our writing or public statement does not live up to these rules, it is immediately condemned as judgemental, bigoted, and harsh hate-speech.
However, the same standard is not applied to those who are critical of historic conservative Christianity. One is hard pressed to find any homo-sympathetic organization that will make a similar disclaimer about “how they don’t hate Christians, nor encourage violence against Christians, etc.” when they raise objections. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Homo-sympathetic persons and groups don’t moderate their vitriol at all. They don’t preach diversity with an eye on Christianity, and they are absolutely intolerant of historic Christian virtues and values. In most cases, their rhetoric verges on being “over the top,” as they castigate the “religious right” for being hate-mongers with absolutely no evidence to back up the claim.
The double standard is so ingrained, that the national media aren’t even worried about being held accountable for flagrant and slanderous accusations. For example, in discussing the murder of Matthew Sheppard, the gay youth brutally killed by two men in Wyoming, Deborah Mathis of Garnet News Service explained: “The Christian right per se … have helped inflame the air so that the air that those people breathed that night was filled; filled with the idea that somehow gays are different, and not only are they different, but in there (sic) difference they’re bad, and not only are they bad, they are evil, and therefore can be destroyed … I mentioned … the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women for America …”
In other words, Christians were responsible for poisoning the air that the thugs breathed and therefore, Christians are the cause of Matthew Sheppard’s murder. Now, reverse the shoe. Imagine a Christian arguing that homosexual activists “inflamed the air Matthew breathed” because they promoted seedy homosexuality – the type that put Matthew Sheppard directly in touch with viscious, masochistic murderers. You know, the type of guys that get turned on seeing other guys in pain. Well, you can imagine the hue and cry this would raise, can’t you?
There is a double standard, like it or not. And our disclaimer only perpetuates the double standard, because instead of holding slanderers in the media accountable for violating their own rules, we are more concerned with issuing a disclaimer.
Furthermore, and most important, a disclaimer re-enforces the wrong message. When we continually remind our supporters and opponents that we reject all forms of hate crime, we directly, whether realizing it or not, re-enforce the idea that there is, in fact, an epidemic of hate crimes perpetrated against homosexuals. This is simply false. It is an untruth. The fact is that there is absolutely no epidemic of hate crimes against homosexuals. Homosexuals are not victims. Some may have been victimized, but this is no more or less true of them than it is of any group in our society.
The rally call of “hate-crimes” is simply propaganda homo-sympathetic people and organizations use to break down natural barriers. As one of their own stated: to get “straight America to accept us, we need to be seen as victims.” And when we issue a disclaimer, we are spreading their propaganda. We are perpetuating the lie that homosexuals are daily subjected to great crimes of hate.
Here are the facts. The statistical data related to hate crimes against homosexuals is negligible at best in both Canada and the United States of America. That doesn’t mean that homosexuals don’t experience crimes against their person or property. It just means that there is no epidemic.
Furthermore, whatever crimes are being carried out against them, these do not rise to the level of mass persecution – as, for example, what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany – and therefore there is absolutely no justification for creating special laws that single out homosexuals.
Moreover, whatever statistical data does exist does not carefully distinguish between actual hate crimes against homosexual people due to traditional and religious views, and gay-on-gay crimes. The facts speak for themselves. Homosexual authors David Island and Patrick Letellier in their book, Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them, exposed the extent of gay violence. They estimate that in the United States alone, up to 650,000 gay men are battered by their lovers every year. Yet, the pro-gay media won’t print the truth about gay-on-gay violence. Island and Letellier offer this as the excuse: “It would be just plain bad press for gays … (and) all bad news needs to be suppressed. (G)ay men truly have a (disproportionate) share of violent individuals in their midst who bash other gay men (and boys) in startlingly high numbers. The gay community needs to recognize that wealthy, white, educated, ‘politically correct’ gay men batter their lovers.”
When statistical data related to homosexual hate crimes is gathered, are the authorities distinguishing accurately between heterosexual violence against gays and gay-on-gay violence? One has to wonder. At any rate, there is absolutely no hate crime epidemic that justifies the changing of existing laws for the sake of sexual preference.
And finally, a disclaimer undermines our ultimate point, because it raises suspicion about our genuineness. As Shakespeare wrote: “The lady doth protest too much.” If we are not motivated by hate, then why are we on the defensive? Why are we prefacing our talking points, editorials, teachings and sermons with a disclaimer about how we don’t condone hate. I’ll tell you, from talking to outsiders looking in, our disclaimers actually make us look disingenuous.
The bottom line: Christians are motivated by Christian love. Anything different is an oxymoron. Issuing a disclaimer confuses the issue. It is unnecessary and it is redundant. It serves only to propagate politically correct rules, and it fails to confront the secular double standard. Bill C-250 is not about protecting homosexuals from mass hatred. Our disclaimer only perpetuates the myth that homosexuals are subject to untold hate-crimes.