Saturday, April 14, 2018

James Tulp: The Gospel is Hate Speech

Let’s define our terms. While one could write a series of books on the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Bible, the apostle Paul defines it most succinctly in Romans 1:16 as “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. And for those who don’t? We’ll address that later.

What about hate speech? One of the biggest problems with it is the lack of an agreed upon, objective definition. That’s because it is inherently subjective. Earlier this week we saw Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, while testifying before Congress, attempt to emphasize the necessity to police hate speech in one breath, then struggle to define hate speech in another.
With the rise of hate speech laws sweeping across Europe and Canada, every new law presents a new definition, which is why it’s so disconcerting for anyone who understands how crucial freedom of speech is to a free society. In Denmark, for example, hate speech is a prosecutable offense and is defined as “publicly making statements by which a group is threatened, insulted or degraded due to race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation.”

In France, hate speech is an “incitement to racial discrimination, hatred, or violence on the basis of one's origin or membership (or non-membership) in an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group.” In the Netherlands, the criminal code prohibits making public intentional insults, as well as engaging in verbal, written, or illustrated incitement to hatred, on account of one's race, religion, sexual orientation, or personal convictions.

Many of these laws have been on the books for a long time, but in recent years, hate speech prosecution in Europe is getting wider while the criminal threshold is getting lower. Ake Green, a Swedish pastor, was sentenced to a month in prison for preaching a sermon about homosexuality before eventually being acquitted by the Swedish Supreme Court. 

A student at Oxford University was arrested for calling a police officer’s horse “gay”. 

A British pastor was investigated by police for having a sign that read, “If you think there is no God, you’d better be right!” 

None of these examples directly involve the gospel message as it was defined earlier. But when you consider the fact that hate speech is inherently subjective, it is not too much of a stretch to think that, if trends continue, sharing the gospel will one day be illegal. 

Wendy Kaminer, in a piece for The Nation on pastor Rick Warren, wrote “But his faith (like that of others) is inherently divisive. At the end of the day, God is a divider, not a uniter: Non-Christians, however devout, go to hell, along with non believers,” She later questions, “What are the prospects of equal citizenship for those of us damned by our refusal to be born again in Christ?”

In other words, she’s wondering how non- Christians can be treated by Christians with the same rights as other Christians. One can logically follow that line of thinking right into the definition of “incitement of discrimination” towards non-Christians. 

Now many Christians reading this are thinking, “Well that’s absurd. We don’t discriminate against or hate non-Christians.” Unfortunately, that’s not how hate speech laws work. They are defined by the perceived victims. If someone thinks they are the victim of hate speech, then that becomes the reality. 

Yes, we have a constitutional clause protecting speech. But so does Denmark. So did the Soviet Union.

A Pew Research study found that four out of ten millennials in the United States think that the government should be able to prevent people from making statements that are offensive to minority groups.

One out of five American undergrads think that it’s ok to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements”, according to a study conducted by John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and UCLA professor.

The First Amendment protection of speech is only for unpopular opinions. It is entirely unnecessary for any other. In the year 2030, when today’s 18 year olds are 30 and today’s 6 year olds are 18, there is a distinct possibility that the majority of voting age Americans find the gospel message insulting, offensive and even an incitement towards discrimination. Thankfully, President Trump is appointing originalists to the Federal courts at a higher rate than any president in history. 

Even more thankfully, God is in control, and His victory is secure. 

James Tulp is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Mississippi College and a Talk Radio Host for WYAB 103.9FM. Listen to him weekdays from 6-7PM


Anonymous said...

The gospel has always been under siege, but the day is upon us in which it will be viciously attacked and those who subscribe to its content will become the enemy of the state.

Anonymous said...

Professor Tulp is a watchman on the wall.

Anonymous said...

The author's message is a solution looking for a problem. I am a white, male Christian, and the notion that my faith is under attack in the United States, a predominately Christian nation, is baseless.

Anonymous said...

History proves that if you want the Gospel to
explode and thrive, then persecute it. This should
be no surprise to any believer. Christ clearly said,
“Because they hate me, so will they hate you.”
Nothing new here, the Gospel of Jesus has always been
the subject of suppression.

otisfyfe said...

"Unfortunately, that’s not how hate speech laws work. They are defined by the perceived victims. If someone thinks they are the victim of hate speech, then that becomes the reality."

On a related note, how many of you know that's exactly the way this nation's Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) works? If you simply 'perceive' someone to be disabled and it can be demonstrated that you discriminate (in many areas) against them, you have violated federal law.

Likewise, if you perceive, for example, that John, who lives with Clyde (who has aids), should be avoided because he might have aids, you have violated federal law if you treat John differently.

So, the bottom line is, the thought-police are indeed after your ass!

Anonymous said...

"The author's message is a solution looking for a problem. I am a white, male Christian, and the notion that my faith is under attack in the United States, a predominately Christian nation, is baseless."

You left out the fact that you're a liberal. And it's for that exact reason that you deny Christianity is under attack...because it's people who think like you are doing the attacking.

Anonymous said...

This might be the worst commentary on the First Amendment I have read. How is this guy a professor

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm. Okay. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that being under a constant state of seige, real or perceived, is a precondition to live as a “born again” Christian. Have fun with your paranoia. Truth is, a good portion of us, are satisfied with a personal relationship with God rather than Hellfire and Brimstone that breeds so much hope on Sunday that concludes with a fear tax, err umm, tithing of 10%.

It’s not like the Gospel was ever edited and misconstrued by those who valued power over the masses —- not so much different than today.
Report back when you finally decode the book of Revalations, but between now and then, remember that Jesus loves you and that is what truly matters.

*Note that he didn’t cite the U.S. as an example.

Anonymous said...

Tithing is not a fear tax.

It is an act of obedience.

Anonymous said...

KF - You have staggered off of the path of reporting relevant information. Who gives a shit what some unknown, self-proclaimed somebody has to say about anything.

Anonymous said...

The gospel, by its Greek translation, literally means “good news.” It is good news because although humankind condemned itself into hopelessness from the very beginning by sin, God gave us all that ‘second chance.’ That is why Christ was born and the meaning of his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection are the good news contained in the gospel. The gospel is the antithesis of evil. It literally is what can save one from losing their soul to evil. Therefore, the only thing that could ever call the gospel “hate speech” is evil itself.

Asking For A Frand said...

4:56 - How can I decode a book that doesn't exist?

James Tulp said...

A few thoughts- I didn't cite the US as an example because we're not quite there yet. Yes Christians are forced to bake cakes for gay weddings, but we're nowhere near Europe or Canada when it comes to the predominance of secularism over Christianity. I still wouldn't say we are a "predominantly Christian nation" either, but that depends on how you define it. When it comes to the secular dominance of our culture, we're essentially 30 years behind Europe in that regard but we're catching up at an exponential rate.

If you really believe this is just "paranoia", I recommend you read David French's piece about the media's response to the Orlando shooting here:

Lastly, this was not at all a "commentary on the First Amendment". The 1a was mentioned as an afterthought for those who might think that hate speech laws could never be enforced here because of it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah what 4:56 said

Anonymous said...

Esteemed Prof. Tulp please give us one example of what you call a "hate speech" law that has been deemed constitutional under the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

I would remind Mr. Tulp that just because someone goes to church and claims to be a Christian, doesn't mean that person lives up to Christian principles or even the Ten Commandments.

I would remind Mr. Tulp, that there are many denominations of Prostestants because they disagree over Scriptural interpretations of the Gospels.

I would remind Mr. Tulp that Catholics don't always agree on what God's demands of us are in a secular world.

And, then, Mr. Tulp, seems to think that in a society that embraces freedom for all, we don't have any limits on our freedom .

I would remind him that we should treat others as we wish to be treated . I would remind him that a business, open to the public is a secular enterprise and has to be because the PUBLIC is not a monolith on one definition of how Christians should behave to be pleasing to God. You don't get to impose on my freedom to enjoy yours.

The bottom line is that because not all of us Christians are evangelicals or even Baptists, you don't get to impose YOUR religious beliefs on the general public.

I would ask Mr. Tulp to read the past religious justifications for slavery and hating Jews as his example of imposing religion on those who don't interpret the Gospel the same way. I would remind him that hating Jews was not so very long in the past. Mr. Tulp, real Christians don't want to go down that evil path again as there is zero Biblical justification, in reality for that path. It was a time , like now, where selective passages were deliberately skewed by politics and religion badly used by those who sought power.

The " war" on Christianity is a political invention in this country. It's certainly not elsewhere, but NO ONE here is being denied worship or asked to do anything egregious. If you can't serve YOUR beliefs in a job, get another job, sell your business and buy a franchise. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We do not have a State religion in this country to which all citizens must adhere though it would certainly empower YOU if it were YOURS.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Tulp would bother to read the actual writings of our Founders ( rather than what snippets out of context we get these days or the words attributed to them that they never wrote), he'd realize that what they agreed upon was that each INDIVIDUAL is the CAPTAIN of his OWN SOUL and NO form of organized religion could dictate to an individual what religious beliefs they should hold.

Instead, we are governed by the rule of laws, not the rules of a religious organization. And, that's what all religions are...organizations formed by men.

I decide whether the actions I take are pleasing to God, not you. If I'm wrong it's on me. You don't go to Hell because I decided incorrectly, I do.

I have decided that God doesn't want me to be "puffed up" and since " bearing false witness" is a huge " no, no" for me as a Christian, I don't involve myself in partisan politics and mix it with religion the way you are doing.

I don't interject religion into politics because I think it dangerous as these days, loyalty to a party requires one to support lies. It shouldn't. It didn't always . But, it does now for offices that require drinking the party poison to gain support. I look at pragmatic outcomes in hopes of seeing what solutions are best for all citizens.

I fear we will rue the day when we decided that our churches could be venues for the politicians and entertainment and social enhancement instead of places to inspire for us to be our best selves, to commune with our Maker, and to offer support for us in that effort.

Anonymous said...

What a bizarre post at 9:43am

It is an attempt to hide things the author KNOWS is incorrect in a verbose recitation of some things that are just common everyday information (as if this person is dropping some knowledge).

A business is NOT a "secular enterprise". It most certainly can be, but just because a business is "open to the public" has nothing to do with separation of Church and State. Business in the United States is private enterprise. And let me cut you off, just because a business "goes public" does not mean that the canons of separation that government adheres to somehow now applies. It simply means that the public can buy shares of the company, nothing more is inferred.

A Church is a business open to the public it and it most certainly is accepted for imposing beliefs. You don't get to impose YOUR beliefs on a business or its owners. If you don't like a business' religious practice, do not eat there, buy from there, enter their store.

YOUR rights stop where mine begins. YOU do not have a right to step foot in my store and I should (under the tenets of freedom) have the right to discriminate against serving you if you are white, black, shirtless, shoeless, Christian, Muslim, male, female, vanilla ice cream lover or chocolate ice cream lover. If I'm dumb enough to own a business and decline service to people based on things that has zero to do with my service, let my business carry that burden.

That notion has zero to do with slavery, genocide or government discrimination. If someone wants to hate another group, they have every right to do so. That right to hate stops when in interferes with another's right and you do not have a right to be a customer of any business nor do you have a right to not be offended.

Past that, you're simply dealing with decency. One has a right not to be decent, but you don't have a right to impose your idea of decency into law on a whole scale because then it's just about imposing your will and nothing to do with decency.

I'll sum up, the problem with all of this is Progressivism. Anyone, be they Christian or otherwise, that chooses to impose their personal wills onto everyone using the Government are progressives and the only difference is whether it's chocolate or vanilla. Freedom is an absence of outside control notion, not an addition of outside control notion.

Anonymous said...

10:42 - NEWSFLASH! The post at 9:43 is no more bizarre than yours is. Both are simply opinion posts; however, yours does win the verbosity challenge. And please don't use the word 'inferred' when you mean suggested or implied.

Anonymous said...

Public accommodation laws were settled in the 1960's. Before then we had segregation and blacks were not allowed to dine in restaurants or stay in hotels. While it is an immense fantasy for many we are not going back to segregation and slavery. If people do not want to serve people who are black, GLBT, or whatever then don't open a business open to the public. The same persecution garbage was used in the 1960's to justify opposition to civil rights.

Anonymous said...


Care to enlighten yourself on the usage of words? Inferred was used correctly. Such a condescending remark, worsened by being incorrect.

And, so, what if both posts are opinion posts? Was there a point to that comment? I felt like I was left hanging like in a book that the author knew and intended to leave the reader hanging for the next book.

Actually, 9:43 was the more bizarre post, and that is not an opinion. It's a factually accurate statement bounded in reason and logic.

There were 415 words in my post. Today is April 15th.

Anonymous said...

5:42 defies my granny.......apparently 2 wrongs do make a right

pun intended

Anonymous said...

6:10 - Except in a debate, you, as a participant don't get to decide for the rest of us which comment is more bizarre and which is more factually accurate. But we do appreciate your decoration of your post by deeming it 'bounded in reason and logic'.

And, yes, you used inferred incorrectly at 10:42 by outlining for us what you think owning a public or private business infers when you should have told us what you think it 'suggests'.

But, all that aside, your posts are reflective of your inability to come down out of the clouds and depart from a position of self anointed piety. We got quite enough of that in the article being discussed here.

James Tulp said...

I've enjoyed reading the comments (some more than others). I think what people should understand is that this article was more of a prediction than a diagnosis.

This is where hate speech laws are going if trends continue. I'm a free speech purist. "I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to my death your right to say it." I also happen to be a believer in the gospel that says that our salvation is secured in Christ alone through faith alone by grace alone, to the glory of God alone.

From this I recognize two things- A) people can interpret the gospel to be discriminatory because of its exclusivity and B) hate speech laws are being prosecuted at increasing rates based on the perception of discrimination.

To me it doesn't take a logical genius to get to C), the gospel will one day be prosecuted as hate speech. This doesn't mean I disagree with the first amendment or that I'm trying to legislate my faith. Not in the slightest. I want to be free to speak my beliefs and I want atheists and Muslims and Buddhists to be able to do the same.

The real enemy here is hate speech laws which yes, are being promulgated by the progressive left around the world. Even liberal Bill Maher said the left is the greatest threat to free speech.

But I hoped to end on an encouraging note because even if my prediction come true it's not like we as Christians have anything real to fear. We win no matter what because God wins no matter what. "If God is for us who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31b)

By the way, I loved the comment at 2:53- it is one of the most interesting and undeniable truths about Church history that Christianity thrives under oppression. Praise God.

Anonymous said...

@12 am(lol) You still aren't answering the question as to why you think it can happen here. Sad. You can't suggest it will happen hear unless you fully provide first amendment commentary because it doesn't take a logical genius to figure out the first amendment is what governs hate speech laws here. Your article is basically trolling without seriously examining the issues.

James Tulp said...

Unfortunately the Bill of Rights are not absolute. The 1a has limits already; handgun ownership was one vote away from being revoked in Heller vs DC.

You may be familiar with the infamous Andrew Jackson quote- "The Chief Justice has made his decision, now let's see him enforce it." If Congress and the president have the public's support in this they're gonna do it, Bill of Rights be damned. Trust me, I wish we still honored the Constitution and were bound by it but those days are gone.

Observe the trends. This is where this is going. If we didn't abide by the Constitution in 2010 do you honestly think we will in 2030? 2040? I hope I'm wrong and I may be...but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

@12:45 Comporting a Second Amendment to First Amendment in nowhere near logically sound. Also Heller v. Dc was a 2008 decision if that's what you were referring to by your 2010 date. These trends you speak of I could see your idea the problem is that you don't support them with anything or cite to any relevant information. Surely when you except more out of your students when they write a paper in your class? Not meant to be a personal dig, but if you are going to attach your job title to this opinion you should be able to cite a couple of more pieces of information than obscure references to a "rise of hate speech laws." Particularly so when you invoke the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

"Surely when you except more out of your students when they write a paper in your class?"

I bet he expects more from them too.

Anonymous said...

Hey @2:07 it's @1:34 here. I meant to say expect.

Louis LeFleur said...

My eyes/attention gave out on this thread before getting to the end, but I do have one thing to say. What does any of this matter since the world is "supposed" to end next Monday, April 23? (How many of these predictions have we had? And they've all been about as accurate as many of the comments above."

Unknown said...

Very interesting comments, opinions and counter arguments.

The beauty of Jesus's final message is that all it asks is that each individual try to put themselves in the shoes of their adversary. This is called empathy.

How would YOU like to be treated if you had an opinion, physical difference, moral stumble, economic set back, mental illness, non-traditional sexual or artistic bent?

So simple.

One thing about laws is that you will never be ble to write enough laws to cover each and every situation. It's a losing proposition.

God and Jesus emphasized that the most important issue is how YOU treat your FELLOW man on a day by day, case by case basis, while you are living.

Death, hell and heaven are the sole purview of God so trying to define, know or guess the unknowable is impossible and a waste of your most valuable and limited time.

However, did you really have to embarrass, condemn, imprison, torture, etc. that person the way you did?

Messick said...

For those in doubt; see what GQ placed on its most over-rated books list.

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