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I Hate ‘Hate Speech’

This is a slightly amended version of my latest post in Christian Today – you can read the original here..   This is an important subject for us all to grasp…please do feel free to spread this article around…(if you agree!)


hate speech
(Photo: Unsplash/Matt Botsford)

After the Second World War, Soviet Russia was determined to have the concept of ‘hate speech’ enshrined in international legislation. They wanted there to be legal sanctions against ‘hatred and incitement to hatred’. In Maoist China, hate speech was a crime.

In many Islamic states, criticising Islam and Muhammad is a crime that can carry the death penalty.

Why are repressive regimes and authoritarian governments so keen on the concept of hate speech? Because it is a means to control people – not just what they do but also what they say and think.

George_Orwell_press_photoGeorge Orwell in his famous 1984 novel was prophetic in his understanding of where society was heading. What he didn’t see was that it would be so-called ‘liberal’ societies that would end up using the concept of hate speech as a form of control.

In his appendix to 1984 he explained how Newspeak worked: “The Purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings.”

The attack on language in our post-modern culture has now reached these Orwellian proportions. Most rational people accept that there are limits to free speech – the famous example of a man shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre – illustrates that. Most of us would accept that incitement to violence is and should be a crime. But what has happened in our society is that the term violence has now been redefined to mean criticism of someone’s identity. Or to be more precise, criticism of someone who has a ‘protected’ identity. As Orwell put it in his other prophetic novel, Animal Farm, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Israel Folau

A classic example of how this works is seen in the case of Israel Folau, who this week was sacked by Rugby Australia.

“Rugby must be inclusive of all,” said Rugby Australia’s CEO, Raylene Castle, adding “that Rugby Australia fully supports the rights of players to their own beliefs … People need to feel safe in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality”.

israel-folau-ausIt is the classic example of Orwellian Newspeak. We are inclusive but we are going to exclude anyone who does not share our (or our sponsors’) views. We want people to ‘feel safe’ regardless of their religion, unless their religion goes against something that we believe. Folau is considered to be guilty of the violence of hate speech and therefore his contract is terminated. Meanwhile players who have actually been violent and abusive continue with their contracts. Go figure.


In another example of how ‘hate speech’ is being used to control – the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims has suggested that a new definition of Islamophobia should be adopted: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

The trouble with this definition is that it is so broad and woolly that it can be used to silence any criticism of Islam whatsoever. In the name of preventing ‘hate speech’ we are in danger of seeing a new blasphemy law introduced. It’s not surprising that Richard Dawkins, the National Secular Society and various Christian groups have united in an unholy alliance to challenge this extreme measure.

Spiritual Abuse

But the Church is not immune from this attempt to control people through the weapon of hate speech. There is currently a move to have ‘spiritual abuse’ defined as the Christian equivalent. Starting from the correct premise that there is such a thing as spiritual abuse (domineering leaders, cult-like control etc.) this will quickly morph into ‘you can’t teach that as I find it offensive, abusive, harmful because it attacks my identity’. Just as a new blasphemy law is being introduced so we are faced with the danger of a new Inquisition – where self-appointed spiritual guardians (backed up by the state) will start determining what the church can, or cannot say.

We are on a very dangerous path. Not only government, but the giant internet corporations are moving towards a society where they alone determine what is or is not hate speech. My own personal experience is indicative of that. The BBC once banned me for using the phrase “Britain’s Christian traditions”. Twitter banned me for an unspecified reason.

dear-bigots-posterone-scotland-postershate-crime-postersAnd the Scottish police got upset because I reported them for hate speech…

Their criteria for hate speech is clear: “A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.”

I perceived that their ill-advised poster campaign was motivated by hate and prejudice. They dismissed my claim by stating that was not their intention. But their laws say nothing about the intention of the alleged perpetrator, but the perception of the victim. It seems that some animals are more equal than others.

What can the church do?

We do not argue that hate speech does not exist. We do not argue that words do not matter. We know that the tongue is a “restless evil. Full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

We do argue against the use of the concept of hate speech to control and manipulate. We are aware that the standard of Jesus is much tougher than that of any government or corporation.

“Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

What needs dealt with is the evil within our hearts – something that the government can never change or control. Only the truth of Jesus Christ can change people’s hearts and turn hate to love.

Orwell also noted that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it”. He was right. They hated Christ because he spoke the truth – and they will hate Christians who really follow Christ and do the same.

One final Orwell quote for you to ponder: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

Christians are the new revolutionaries in our post-truth ‘hate-speech’ society. Speak the truth in love – and watch how it is called ‘hate’ – but know that ultimately truth and love will triumph over lies and hate. Vive La Revolution!

David Robertson is a minister in the Free Church of Scotland. He blogs at

The End is Nigh! Extinction and Evangelism

The crime of spiritual abuse: One of the most dangerous ideas in decades

Ps.  If you want to know where this is going have a look at this tweet I received over the weekend.  It is not a spoof.  It is for real.  Someone genuinely believes that my Christians beliefs, my conscience should be subject to the Scottish State….We have been warning for years that this is where we are heading – but this person is so blind and irrational that they doubtless think that subjecting peoples beliefs to the law is somehow ‘progressive’ and ‘tolerant’ when it is the very opposite.  The Thought Police are here.

Screenshot 2019-05-19 at 13.05.07


  1. ‘an unholy alliance’ – No. This is what Schaeffer called co-belligerence.

  2. I think a pertinent fact with Israel Folau is that he had repeatedly breached his contract over many months and refused to mend his ways. That’s very different than someone who loses their cool and then promises not to do it again. I also suspect there would be less outcry if he had used those words against Jewish people d if he had used them against Christians I think there would be a lot of people calling for him to be fired!

    I think it’s also important for people to learn the difference between social media and talking with your mates in the pub. Social media is broadcasting.

    I think it would have been far better for Rugby Australia to have him sit down with some real life gay people and understand how his words had landed and what potential impact they had on the lives of real people, but I suspect he would have been unwilling even if the Rugby bosses had wanted to set that up.

    1. Again Peter – and this is your final warning – I am reluctant to post your posts which continually have speculation based upon what you feel and accusing others. You don’t know Folau – and you know very little about him. And no he had not repeatedly breached his contract over many months – you are just making that up – unless you have any evidence?

      1. There was actually nothing about social media use in his contract at all. That’s why it has been such a long process.
        Further, his comment was not in his own words, he used a bible verse to respond to a direct question.

    2. My brother-in-law often says to people who made absurd statements like yours (I may stand corrected, but I think it originated with Marty Feldman):-

      “You know, I think it’s so rude that whenever you open your mouth some fool speaks!”

      As theweeflea has noted, your post is nothing but a long list of presumptions. As an Australian, a (now, as a result of this, estranged) Rugby fan, & having followed this debacle for the past year, allow me to correct your thoughts.

      “I think a pertinent fact with Israel Folau is that he had repeatedly breached his contract over many months and refused to mend his ways.”

      The fact is that there was NO breach of his contract as such. After he signed his updated one nearly twelve months ago they tried to put in an addendum regarding social media, which remains unsigned. The only allusion has been Rugby Australia’s vague & foggy notion of “inclusiveness”.

      “I also suspect there would be less outcry if he had used those words against Jewish people d if he had used them against Christians I think there would be a lot of people calling for him to be fired!”

      There’s some truth in what you say. But the post in question had nothing to do with racism or other religions . It merely listed a whole host of categories equally, including drunks, thieves & adulterers. But the mainstream media consistently excluded ALL other categories except “homosexuals”, & identified it exclusively as a “homophobic rant”, & other similarly pejorative & misleading descriptions exclusively focusing on it as being “anti-gay”.

      But the fact is that, in his comment, he identified that ALL have sinned, & included himself!

      “I think it’s also important for people to learn the difference between social media and talking with your mates in the pub. Social media is broadcasting.”

      No, it was on his PRIVATE Instagram account, so only his followers could read it. That means people who are hostile towards him & his beliefs infiltrated his follower base for the sole purpose of bringing him down.

      “I think it would have been far better for Rugby Australia to have him sit down with some real life gay people and understand how his words had landed and what potential impact they had on the lives of real people, but I suspect he would have been unwilling even if the Rugby bosses had wanted to set that up.”

      That’s simply a false assumption that he doesn’t know, or hasn’t met, any “real life gay people “, hardly possible in this day & age, & a claim he himself has positively refuted.

      The real story is the open secret that our national airline Qantas, whose CEO is an openly gay man, who’s made no secret of his feelings on the matter, is Rugby Australia’s major sponsor, & so behind the scenes they have been holding that sponsorship over the head of those running the sport like the sword of Damocles, threatening to withdraw their sponsorship if Folau’s contract wasn’t torn up.

      Rugby Australia cannot afford to lose that sponsorship, as they’re looking down the barrel of an $8 million operating deficit this year. So the Qantas CEO’s opinion has borne the most weight.

  3. Great article. I have been following the Israel Folau with increasing despair over the past few months.

  4. The methods of human domination and attempts to suppress dissent don’t change, whether you call it “blasphemy” or something else.
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

  5. I agree wholeheartedly about the Islamophobia debacle.
    Who will ever forget 9/11 or the Charley Hebdo murders, or any Islamic terrorist attack?
    It must be called out for it is. No argument.

    What seems odd about the Falou case is his seemingly Jekyll and Hyde approach to the issue of Homosexuality.
    On the one hand he states he is fully supportive of the rights of homosexuals, agrees with ‘inclusiveness’ and was a leading figure for promoting the Bingham Cup – a Gay Rugby tournament – and then he is using social media to state that unless they repent Homosexuals (along with several other groups) are going to Hell!
    That sounds like a touch of hate speech.
    Why on earth didn’t he just keep such views to himself?
    Was there really a need to evangelize such thoughts on social Media?
    Why didn’t he have a go at Muslims or Jews or any group that is not Christian?

    And on that note, according to recognised doctrine, Falou may also be Hell bound as he is non-trinitarian.

    Religion is just too strange.

    1. “That sounds like a touch of hate speech.”

      Why accuse someone of hate speech for claiming the God you don’t believe in said in the book you don’t read, that unless you repent of the sin you don’t acknowledge as such you will go to a place you don’t think exists?

      And the fact is that he identified ALL as sinners worthy of that place, himself included. In that context he also presented the solution to the problem, being Christ (another person you don’t believe in).

      “Was there really a need to evangelize such thoughts on social Media?”

      I agree with you there, at least on the fact that, as it was Instagram, you immediately come up against the fact that the people using that platform have had their attention span reduced to something just above a goldfish! So yes, his passion for the lost wasn’t necessarily married to wisdom.

      “And on that note, according to recognised doctrine, Falou may also be Hell bound as he is non-trinitarian.”

      Wrong on that count. He was raised a Mormon, but has turned away from that & is now a member of a Pentecostal church, so definitely Trinitarian.

      1. I left a comment , Kim but it seems to have gone missing.

        Here’s Izzy’s Tweet on the matter of the Trinity.

        Follow Follow @IzzyFolau
        Replying to @Issa41182
        Jesus Christ was the vessel of God, God is a spirit. He formed the body of Jesus Christ and was in him. And the holy spirit is the characteristics or functions of God. *But it’s not 3 or the trinity but just him alone.

        Isaiah 43:10

        2:55 AM – 18 Jan 2018

        *My bold

      2. Ark,

        I believe all people are perishing because we are all sinners, but anyone who repents of his sin and trusts in Jesus will be rescued. I care about the plight of the millions of people around me who have not grabbed this lifeline held out to them. I know you don’t agree with this, but do you see that from my viewpoint, the most loving thing I can do for other people is to try to warn them of the cliff edge they are walking towards and urge them to turn round? That is not hatred. If I hated them I would leave them alone and let them carry on.

        Motivated by love, I warn them and try to persuade them to repent. This is fully compatible with me showing respect for them as fellow human beings. They are no more sinful or unworthy than I am and I afford them the right to their own opinions. My love for them as people means I support their right to choose their own lifestyle and I would defend them from discrimination in society. I don’t think I am being a Jekyll and Hyde character both to believe they are condemned sinners and to treat them with respect. Both attitudes stem from the same love I have for them.

  6. The first problem with hate speech is that if you have been a victim it really does hurt and you should have a right to complain. Secondly the proliferation and tolerance of hate speech can so quickly lead on to pogroms and even genocide. So there does need to be some public policing of it. Maybe the current legislation has gone a bit too far, maybe hate speech should be a civil matter rather than a criminal offence up to the point where there is incitement to violence or a direct threat. And maybe the police should not accept generic complaints. On the whole I don’t think there is a big threat from the state in this.. most of the trouble seems to come from petty power holders in local or specialist institutions.

    1. The present situation is such that if I preach in the open air I would not talk about homosexuality or publicly respond to questions on it. Freedom of speech has gone. Jay Smith says the only place in the world where you can publicly speak the truth on Islam and the false prophet is Speakers Corner.

  7. In an interesting example of changing language in order to promote a political agenda, the editor of the Guardian has just ‘suggested’ (you can guess what happens to employees who beg to differ) that Guardian journalists adopt the following practices:

    Use climate emergency, crisis or breakdown instead of climate change
    Use global heating instead of global warming
    Use wildlife instead of bio-diversity (when appropriate)
    Use fish populations instead of fish stocks
    Use climate science denier or climate denier instead of climate sceptic.

  8. “He also has a belief system which is contrary to the law in Scotland…”

    I thought the article was interesting. I don’t think the idea of controlling speech and thought though is anything new and there is part of me that wonders, when I read some Christian writings, whether Christians are upset about hate speech laws as a concept or whether they are upset that they are no longer occupy that place in society where they can dictate what ‘hate speech’ is. I say that because it wasn’t long ago in this country that blasphemy, or expressing beliefs against the Church, was punishable with death. I’m sure a Christian accusing someone saying “he also has a belief system which is contrary to the law in Scotland…” would not have been out of place in early modern Scotland and probably more concerning for the dissenter it was directed at given the potential consequences.

    This isn’t to blame the Church, I suspect it is a human instinct, despite the best intention of the Enlightenment, to define a tribe and subsequently define and punish ‘hatred’ against that tribe whether that tribe is Christianity, liberals, etc. I’m not sure what the solution is though, perhaps more understanding and humility.

  9. Jesus describes Satan is ‘a liar and the father of lies’. There is no truth in him.

    Believing and colluding in his lies is at the heart of sin as the Genesis narrative and Romans reveal.

    Romans 1:25 (ESV)
    25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    To those who insist on believing a lie God will send strong delusions so that they are confirmed in their lies. 2 Thess 2.

    Their end is the sulphurous lake of fire Rev 21. Everyone who loves and makes lies is outside the city Rev 22.

    God (who cannot lie) hates a lying tongue. Prov 6. By contrast , he delights in those who speak the truth Prov 12.

    Jesus is the truth. He reveals all as it really is. No deceit is found in his mouth. And the hallmark of those who follow him is that they know the truth, abide in it and it in them. 1 John.

    The redeemed are those in whom no lie is found.

    (ESV) 1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind
    as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

    The line between those who believe the truth and those who embrace the lie is becoming more and more marked. The army of the lamb (the 144,000 is the church viewed as holy warriors) opposes the lie and hates it.

  10. You may well be aware of this already David but there are some (small) signs that the media is waking up to these issues. The current Reith lectures on Radio 4 by Jonathan Sumption are excellent and are exploring the expansion of the rule of law in areas like this. Also excellent was Trevor Phillips’ “Has political correctness gone made?” on Channel 4.

    It is only a trickle but some mainstream media are beginning to look at these questions.

  11. The lexicons of too many words have been changed beyond all recognition….

    Take the word ‘Crime’ or ‘Criminal Offence’ for example…Yes we know that the ‘Law’ is mostly an ass, or donkey’s derriere if you prefer, and this is where the so-called Law and Justice are getting further and further apart. If you call someone a ‘halfwit’ or something slightly stronger then ok, however if you put it in writing (hard copy, text msg, email, (un)social media etc etc then it becomes a ‘crime’..! The definitions have now become so broad that the Gov, and t’internet corporations, will be controlling everything by fear..!

    A top media lawyer once explained to me that the ‘law’ has not been black or white for a long long time…It is in fact more than 100 Shades of Grey…

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