I’ve been noticing the way some followers of Christ are resisting and speaking out against hate crime laws. One religious trade group reasons that, “‘Hate Crimes’ legislation would have a harmful ‘chilling effect’ on the religious freedoms of … Christian ministries to communicate the whole counsel of God on such subjects as false religious doctrines and cults and sexual behaviors which are contrary to biblical principles; and it would impose a political correctness standard over public discussions of such matters, and could result in the actual criminal prosecution of Christian communicators, as it has in other nations where similar laws have been passed…”
But here’s a question I have: What will happen to the name and reputation of Christ in our generation if his followers are seen as being against a law that defines a hate crime as that which “willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of any person.”
As the quote above shows, one argument is that such laws could eventually be expanded to discourage not only violent behaviors against groups of people but also to erode our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.
But until I hear and understand otherwise, I say, what’s wrong with being more concerned about the reputation of Christ, and those for whom he died, than we are about losing some of the wonderful legal protections and freedoms we have enjoyed.
Of course, I wouldn’t wish persecution on ourselves or anyone else. Nor would I question that our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms have, until now, provided a wonderful protection for the growth of the Church. But, and even though I tremble to say it, I’ve also never heard anyone disprove the observation of Tertullian who in the third century wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”