Can the bible can be viewed as hate literature.


What do you all think about the article??

Given that this is from Romans :

and this is from Leviticus 18:22:

and this from Leviticus 20:13

and this from Corinthians 6:9-10

All of it sounds pretty hatefull , but does it encourage hatred and predjudice against homosexuals? Does something like this being posted in a local paper qualify as true "hate speech’ or is it all taken out of context? Should the people in the article have won their case and had this labeled as hate speech or was it all just blown out of proportion? Personally, I see it as a pretty clear cut case of hatefull intent. It is unlikely that you would refer to someone as an “abomination” and say that they should be put to death if you didnt hate them. This also kind of scuttles the idea that the christian god is an “all loveing” diety.

Hey, Burner! Good OP, with a probing question. I didn’t like your last sentence; it’s a non-sequitur, but we’ll get to that momentarily.

IANAL, much less an expert on Canadian civil-rights law, but the key point, if I’m getting this right, is that one may not knowingly promote hatred against a group of people based on a characteristic they share, and that in Canada and some U.S. states specifically includes gays.

Does the Bible do this? Does the Christian faith do this? There’s a thread addressed to me by name active right now in which I’m firm on the concept that the Bible is not necessarily the central focus of Christianity, despite the fulminations of evangelical Protestants who seem to regard it as more or less a leatherbound god.

But even they do not approve of taking verses out of context to vilify people. His4Ever, one of the most vocal spokesmen on this board for Bible-centered Christianity, posted a link to a literalist’s essay on how the Bible should be interpreted that says that every passage must be regarded in the context of the whole of Scripture. If somebody says that gays are sinners, they’re honorbound to add “and so am I” because according to Scripture, “All men have sinned and come short of the glory of god.”

Now, if you buy into the idea that the entire Bible is divinely inspired and all parts are of equal value, you don’t get that “the Christian God is an all-loving deity” nor the reverse – you get a picture of a sort of schizophrenic god who alternatively threatens and cajoles, all the while claiming to be all-good and holy. Sounds like a Father that ought to be taken in for child abuse!

According to those of us who take a more liberal view, the central focus of Scripture is on a god who calls men to be His children, and as such brothers and sisters to each other, loving each other as they do themselves, and loving Him for His goodness. What He condemns is man’s inhumanity to man, including using His Word to justify it. This sort of thing is strong even in the O.T. – passages from the Law could be quoted, or quite a bit of Isaiah and Micah, but is the crux of the teachings in the Gospels and in the letters of Paul and John – at least when Paul isn’t waxing metaphorical about metaphysical issues.

So, yes, some group with more hatred than love for gay people has presumably extracted four Bible quotes from their context and decided to use them to insult gay people, and it’s a violation of Canadian law – and IMHO of God’s Law as well.


The Bible reads like a historical account. It’s not a how-to book, it is a collection of the personal experiences of different people. Thus it isn’t by one particular person or group, directed toward any particular person or group, and doesn’t have a clear intent other than being about God. It’s significance and the meanings within are matters of interpretation.

From past debates (one here) I counted about 6 Biblical references to men who have sex with other men: 2 in Leviticus, which is a collection of laws; 2 within Paul’s letters, Romans and 1 Corinthians; two others refer to male prostitutes and I can’t remember where they are offhand. There is no clear reference to judging women having sex with other women except for the vague one in Romans. Contrast the number of references to drunkards or adulterers, at least 10 times the former, within about 39 books of the OT and 27 or so of the NT. The book (which is actually a collection of books) also recommends the death sentence for such matters as habitual drunkeness and working on the Sabbath, in Leviticus. The old laws are kind of overthrown later in the NT in favor of the “new way” to God - through Jesus Christ. That’s a matter of significance.

I believe it ‘encourages prejudice’ in the same manner any aged document would with respect to women’s rights, racial differences, or people with disabilities. Only the fact that so many believe that this one book is the unerring Word of God gives it importance in this day, and these same people have to quote it selectively within someone else’s stated opinion to form a clear message. My humble opinion: it shouldn’t be considered hate literature.

The problem is not the Bible itself but interpretations of the Bible.

For a start, some fundamentalists love quoting Old Testament verses out of context (notably, that according to most Christian traditions Jesus was supposed to have detroyed the Old Covenant).

And secondly, Saul of Tarsus condemened a lot of behaviours - in fact, anything to do with sex - but grudgingly allowed married couples to do so simply for pro-creational purposes.

Funny how some men are soooo fixated upon the gay element only.

Here is another story on the topic, with a picture of the ad. I don’t particularly care for our hate speech laws, myself, and I don’t think the court made the right decision in this case. However, I also don’t think you can say that the decision declares the Bible to be hate literature. Rather, it’s certain interpretations of the Bible that constitue hate speech, as has been pointed out.

Fred Phelps thinks of it as hate literature.

One question to Canadians, though. Does the hate speech law prohibit parents from teaching their children that homosexuality is immoral?

Of course not.

More specifically, here is the statue in question

3(b) is why I think the decision in question was a poor one. But I’m not a judge, either.

Makes sense to me. It’s hard to see how the subject could have been more religious.

This is wrong for so many reasons. This shouldn’t have got near a court, perhaps this is a legal system with too much time on its hands.

Firstly there’s the issue of free speech. I can see the reasoning behind banning “hate speech”, but for me free speech takes priority.

The ad itself is far milder than the article suggests. Far from expressing any hatred, it merely advances the view that certain passages in the Bible forbid homosexuality - hardly a controversial opinion.

If Owen believes that homosexuals really do go to Hell, then he’s duty bound to try and save them. Now why certain Christians are more preoccupied with homosexuals than adulterers, men with crushed testicles or ninth generation bastards, I have no idea. But if he really hated homosexuals, wouldn’t he just keep quiet and let them go to Hell?

Whether the Bible really does forbid homosexuality is open to debate. This area seems particularly prone to mistranslation and misinterpretation.

Romans appears to be the clearest, but the “men with men” may be a mistranslation of the Greek word for "pederasty’. Some also consider that Paul, by use of the word “unnatural” is saying that people should not go against their nature - that heterosexuals should not participate in homosexual acts, and vice versa.

The Leviticus verses are again mistranslations. Opinion seems divided but it seems likely that they don’t specifically prohibit homosexuality. They may refer to prostitution, or to male homosexual sex in a woman’s bed. In addition, “abomination” is a mistranslation for “ritually unclean”.

As for Corinthians, “effeminate” does not mean homosexual.

Of course, all this only applies to literalists. If you don’t take the Bible literally you can of course simply ignore the less warm and fluffy parts.

I’m not a Bible expert by any means, I’m getting this all from here.

Finally, the most significant effect of this court case will be to create a few hundred new homophobes, and a new hero for them to rally behind.

Cart wrote:

An excellent comment about the unintended consequences of meddling legislation. “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

The New Testament certainly also has verses that clearly encourage anti-semitism and rouse hatred against the Jews.

The soi-disant Old Testament has stuff that would encourage hatred against the Amalakites, the Amorites, the Hittites, etc. … but such concerns are somewhat academic.

Personally, I don’t think that ad was hate speech by my standards. However, I think the “by argument” bit is where the justification comes in. True, it is a “religious subject”, but it doesn’t seem that he tried to establish his opinion using an argument. He made references to passages from a history book of uncertain origins as his only justification. I’m certainly not a Canadian law expert, but I can see why the judge might see his or her decision as fair.

Dex wrote:

May I disagree? I think that only bigots could take encouragement toward anti-semitism and be roused to hatred against the Jews by reading the New Testament. But I also think those same people could take encouragement toward anti-semitism and be roused to hatred against the Jews by reading a newspaper.

B.Pants wrote:

That’s the most bizarre reasoning I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some real boners. The “history book of uncertain origins” was the Bible.

The thing that bothers me the most is this from Leviticus 20:13

I appears to me to be calling for their death. I mean “They shall surely be put to death” doesnt realy lend itself to misinterpretation. It seems to toss the whole “Thou shalt not kill” idea right out the window. I also Find the part where the peron who put in the ad says this:

to be fairly inflamatory. What exactly is a “Christian Response” and who made this joker the authority on it?? If the christian god is all loveing, then the “Christian Response” should be to join these people in celebrateing gay pride week. Showing the love for your fellow man seems to me to be the correct response if you are going to claim to follow an all loveing diety. Then again , maybe based on what the bible says ,the correct response is to show hatered toward anyone who doesnt believe like you do. The more vocal “christians” in the world seem to think that way.Just look at the shineing example of mindless hate thar Pat Robertson,Jerry Falwell, and Fred Phelps spew forth all in the name of Jesus.

Like I said, I don’t personally believe that it was hate speech. My “bizarre reasoning” was only a theory as to why the judge might think that the laws called for him to make the decision he did. The letter of the law seems to lend itself to this conclusion.

I realize that the book is the bible. Is it not a history book? Plenty of universities seem to think so, evidenced by their classes on the subject. Are its origins not uncertain? The details on the authors are pretty scanty. We don’t know what political and personal motivations behind their writings could be.

Just have one comment on your post:

In the ten commandments, the original tranlates much more closely to murder than kill. It would read “Thou shalt not murder.” Justifiable killings are ok - self-defence, punishment, warfare, etc.

<< I mean “They shall surely be put to death” doesnt realy lend itself to misinterpretation. It seems to toss the whole “Thou shalt not kill” idea right out the window. >>

As akennett says, the Hebrew Bible has several different words for “kill” (as does English.) A better translation would be “Thou shalt not murder.” (An even better modern translation would be: “Don’t murder” but we all love King James language.)

The kinds of killing that are permitted by the bible include capital punishment, self-defense, and war.

The “put to death” from Leviticus refers to capital punishment. The Bible offers capital punishment for a few acts that are considered crimes/sins in the text. Being “put to death” does NOT mean that just anyone can do it; it requires a trial, with two eye-witnesses, and a few other legalities. Capital punishment was extremely rare when the Israelites ruled themselves, but was quite commonly imposed by the Romans, for instance.

The Bible is NOT saying that you can go ahead and kill homosexuals (or criminals or anyone else.) That would be murder, which is prohibited.