If you stood out on a street corner and started saying that gay people should be killed or made racially-charged remarks about slavery, it would be considered hate speech and you could be arrested.
In the UK, however, Miguel Hayworth and father John Hayworth are facing arrest for doing just that… but they say they are being treated unfairly. All they were doing is preaching what the Bible says.
I don’t know if they were preaching the following verses, but no doubt they serve as examples of some awful passages:
If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.
Christians can make an argument that these passages need to be read in context to be properly understood and that these words say nothing about what God supports or condemns, but it’s a hard sell since Christians habitually take verses out of context to suit their own needs.
Chief Inspector Chris Hill, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Police were called to St Ann’s Square in Manchester city centre following complaints from members of the public who considered the comments being made by two street preachers as racist and homophobic.
“When spoken to, the men said they were quoting from the Bible. The officers confirmed they were entitled to preach on the street, but advised them offensive behaviour is not acceptable.
They haven’t been arrested. Yet.
But if the Hayworths were reading passages such as these, it shouldn’t even matter that they were coming from the Bible. Hate speech is hate speech. Violence against any group of people ought to be condemned. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading from the Bible or any other book with graphic depictions of violence against certain groups.
This is not a violation of free speech. Even that has its limitations.
I wonder if the cops would’ve arrested the Hayworths if they screamed “fire” in a crowded theater because the Bible told them to.
Where do you draw the line?
(Thanks to hoverfrog for the link!)