Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Swaggarting into history 

To be honest I have mixed emotions about this story from Canada. I will detail some of my thoughts and feelings in a stream-of-consciousness post.

I don't think Swaggart was right for saying he would kill a gay man. Jesus did say that having hatred in your heart was just as bad as actually killing them. Paul tells many different churches that hatred and malice are things that should be put off when putting on Christ. Jimmy Swaggart is in clear violation of the direct commands of Scripture. He should apologize immediately and look to God to change his heart.

Having said all of that, I am going to depart from some of my brothers and sisters and actually seek some kind of defense of Swaggart. While what Swaggart said was stupid and hateful in its own right, nevertheless, I don't think Swaggart would actually inflict bodily harm on anyone, making his comments inflammatory, but not actually threatening anyone. Further, while one may be quick to condemn Swaggart for opening his mouth, let us not forget that homosexuality is still an unhealthy and quite frankly repulsive act. I think that he was expressing base emotions with his comments, and was saying what a lot people regardless of culture generally think about the practice. Should his comments have been kept in check? Yes, they should have. Was he simply saying what others were thinking? Yes to that too.

What I found disturbing most of all wasn't Jimmy's foolish comments, but the very real threat of the Canadian government treating his comments as hate speech. Other religious broadcasters in Canada have been punished by the state for simply broadcasting what the Bible says about the practice of homosexuality. If I find the practice of homosexuality to be objectionable (and I do) and if I broadcast my opinion, why should I need a lawyer handy to simply state what I am thinking? I don't agree with Swaggart's statements, but the Canadian government would do well to simply leave well enough alone and butt out. I would like for either Evangelical Outpost or Hugh Hewitt or someone address this specific point about voicing a dissenting opinion. I am scared and outraged at the possible chilling of free speech this case could highlight. By the way, what is the difference between what the Canadian government is threatening to do and what many colleges and universities have already done with "speech codes" on campus?

I invite all points of view on this subject and any responses I receive will be greatly appreciated.

(hat tip): Evangelical Outpost

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