Hate Crimes, Homosexuality, and Preaching the Gospel
In Acts 7, Stephen informed the Jewish leaders of his day that they had killed the Son of God and resisted the Holy Spirit. Stephen’s audience became so infuriated at his preaching that “they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:57-58). They simply did not want to listen to what God had to say to them. They wanted God’s mouthpiece silenced.
From the beginning of time, the devil has attempted to silence the Word of God, and dissuade those who hear that Word to ignore the import and moral consequence of it. In today’s society, Satan has continued his attack on God’s divine Word and His righteous requirement for human morality. Of late, it has become increasingly popular for the officials of governments all over the world, including the United States, to support the homosexual lifestyle and to enact legislation to that effect. Despite the facts that homosexuality is not a genetic condition (see Harrub, et al., 2004), and that it is a sinful practice condemned in the Bible as such (see Butt, 2003; Miller, et al., 2004), homosexuality is being lauded as an alternate lifestyle that should enjoy the same privileges as other “inescapable” personal traits such as ethnicity and gender.
In fact, in the past few years several nations and states in the United States have passed laws that, in essence, make it a “hate crime” to preach what the Bible says about homosexuality. For instance, in 2003, Ake Green, a Swedish Pentecostal preacher delivered a sermon in which he stated that homosexuality is “abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society.” He went on to describe homosexuals as “perverts, whose sexual drive the Devil has used as his strongest weapon against God” (as quoted in Robinson, 2004). Because of these comments, he was arrested, charged with inciting hatred against homosexuals, and sentenced to serve 30 days in prison.
On April 29, 2004, Canada adopted a bill similar to the one established by Sweden, in which speech against homosexual behavior was added to the list of hate crimes (Robinson, 2004). Sadly, the United States has begun to “follow suit” by adopting comparable legislation in certain states. On December 3, 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schwiker signed a bill that included homosexuality as a sanctioned lifestyle protected from “hate crimes” (crimes that could technically include preaching from the pulpit against the practice). The Gertrude Stein Club (a non-profit, pro-homosexual group) labeled the bill as “the first piece of pro-gay legislation to become law in Pennsylvania.” In the same article, the club mentioned that 27 other states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect homosexuals against “hate crimes” (“LGBT Victory”). While preachers are assured that these bills were not passed to stifle their freedom of speech, the implications and technical reading of the bills provide for the prosecution of preachers who teach publicly God’s Word concerning the sin of homosexuality. The Swedish trial of Ake Green testifies to that.
Will the New Testament Christians in our nation sit by idly while laws are passed that protect the sin of homosexuality from public condemnation? The great statesman Edmund Burke well said, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” It is high time that we “preach from the housetops” God’s saving message of Christ, and His condemnation of sins such as homosexuality. Today we are free to do that; if we do not seize the day, tomorrow we might be convicted of a “hate crime” for telling a lost world what God requires of them.
Butt, Kyle (2003), “Homosexuality—Sin, or a Cultural Bad Habit,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2291.
Harrub, Brad and Dave Miller (2004), “ ‘This is the Way God Made Me’—A Scientific Examination of Homosexuality and the Gay Gene,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2553.
Miller, Dave and Brad Harrub (2004), “An Investigation of the Biblical Evidence Against Homosexuality,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2577.
“LGBT Victory! PA Hate Crime Bill Signed by Governor” (2003), [On-line], URL: http://www.gertrudesteinclub.org/news.htm.
Robinson, B.A. (2004), “Canadian Hate Speech—Sven Robinson’s Private Member’s Bill C-250,” [On-line], URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hat6.htm.