Stop the Hate: Start the Debate

It’s time to stop the hate.  And we all know it. Twenty-three pro-homosexual organizations rightly condemned the shooting of a security guard at the office of the Family Research Council this Wednesday by a man who actively supports the homosexual agenda. And Christians (all people actually but especially Christians) should rightly condemn every act of physical violence against any person that is not a matter of self-defense. But there’s another kind of hate that needs to be stopped.

The “hate” I’m talking about is the use of the word “hate” itself. And two recent examples come to mind.

We witnessed one example in the Family Research Council (FRC) shooting. Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have taken it upon themselves to label some organizations, like FRC, as “hate groups.” To me, such labeling is like posting a “Hit List” for those people like the shooter who think they can serve their cause best by “taking out” folks on the “Hit List.”

Liberals accuse folks like Rush Limbaugh of “fomenting” hate and blame him for hate crimes. But if liberals want to say that, then might not they be similarly accused?

What groups like SPLC and others mean by “hate” is that if you disagree with their point of view on an issue, then you are hateful. But if disagreement on an issue constitutes hate, then doesn’t that make all of us haters at some point? We all disagree with someone at some point on some issue. Using the liberal’s understanding of the meaning of hate, every parent will at some point be transformed into a “hater” in the eyes of the average teenager (which may explain why some parents never discipline their children). And doesn’t that definition mean that every conservative group can rightly call every liberal group that disagrees with their conservative point of view a “hate group”? The word “hate” becomes meaningless.

If expressed disagreement is now the definition of hate and we’re all now haters and every organization with a position on anything is now a hate group, How does that advance intelligent, rational discussion about the issues of the day? Well, that goes to my second point: the underlying purpose behind liberals’ use of the word “hate.”

And that purpose? To avoid debate on the substance of an issue. It is the old ad hominem argument. In academic circles that type argument is known as a logical fallacy. In street language, it means that the argument is stupid, meaningless, and unconvincing to any reasonable, thinking person.

Here’s how it played out for me last week. I was on a television show with other panelists discussing the Chick-fil-A situation. And one of the panelists started talking about hate in connection with those who disagree with “marriage equality.” I could not let that pass.

My response was that I was tired of debate that used pejorative terms in order to distract from the real issue, namely, what is the nature and purpose of marriage and what kinds of human relationships are consistent with that.

You see, that issue is one they don’t want to really talk about so they distract the audience from the real issue. They try to silence all opposition to their view by trying to shut us up by calling us “hateful.”

And why might that work? Because none of us like to be thought of as hateful. We don’t want to become social outcasts. And so too many of us back off and say nothing.

But for us Christians, as long as we are speaking the truth and doing so graciously, then we need to grapple with something Jesus said:

Blessed are you when men hate you and ostracize you, and cast insults at you and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. Luke 6:22, 23 (NASB)

If we Christians remain silent when accused of being hateful, then we need to ask ourselves this question: “Were these words meant to be encouragement to stand firm when called a ‘hater’ or was Jesus wrong on this one?”