Published April 12, 2007
In one of the latest examples of “we’re-out-to-destroy-the-U.S.-Constitution” rulings, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has made another unthinkable decision. I hope you’re sitting down for this … the court concluded that the words “marriage,” “natural marriage,” and “family values” are hate speech.
And of course, hate speech is criminal, worthy of the most severe punishment. By making this ruling, the court has successfully censored the free speech of Christians and has tightened the noose of silencing them on cultural issues.
The case developed when two city workers in Oakland, Calif., tried to initiate a gathering of people who shared their interests about family and marriage. Their desire to meet with other “like-minded” people was in response to an extended series of messages by other city workers who were promoting homosexuality and used the city’s email system, bulletin boards, and memos to advance their beliefs.
So, the two Christians posted an announcement on the bulletin board. The message simply said: “Good News Employee Associations is a forum for people of faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family values.”
Does that notice sound hate-filled to you? Well, apparently it did to city officials, who ordered the announcement to be removed because it promoted “sexual-orientation-based harassment.” And now, after going through the 9th Circuit, the words mentioned above have been declared “hate speech!”
One of the alarming truths about this case is that the court did nothing to curtail the venomous aggression of the opposing side. The court failed to address the city’s Gay-Straight Employees Alliance who openly attacked the Bible in widespread emails, derided Christian values as “antiquated,” and referred to Bible-believing Christians as “hateful.” In addition, when the Christian employees tried to refute those accusations, they were threatened with immediate termination.
Somehow, the court did not view any of the appellants’ actions as hateful, but they did consider words like “family values” as hateful. In fact, one city official actually used the email system to declare that the Bible needs “updating,” but again, no action was taken against that individual.
Amazingly, referring to the free speech rights of Christians, the court opinion actually stated that, “the district court appropriately described [the Christians’ speech rights] as ‘vanishingly small.’” They actually admitted that religious speech is becoming increasingly illegal!
According to Richard Ackerman of the Pro-Family Law Center, who argued the case for the two workers, “the city of Oakland has interpreted this district court’s ruling to mean that Christianity has no place in our society and should be subject to punishment.” Fortunately, the case is being appealed and if it goes to the Supreme Court, I certainly hope that it will be overruled.
The main point of informing you of this case is to illustrate that we are in a cultural war, whether you realize it or not, and the stakes are very high. If the voice of the people remains silent during this war, then silenced they will be.
Jody Hice is pastor of Bethlehem First Baptist Church, president of Ten Commandments, GA, and host of “Let Freedom Ring” on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO. He can be reached through www.jodyhice.com.
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