Hate speech

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Hate speech is provocative speech used to denigrate a legally protected class or group of citizens defined by legislation. These protected groups can include gender, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, disability, and sometimes age. While language to protect other victim classes has been proposed, the Democratically controlled 110th Congress has rejected protections against the military, pregnant and battered women, or the homeless. Under some legal codes, hate speech can be considered a hate crime.

Forms of hate speech include Homophobia.

Use of Term to Censor Religious Speech

Under a new Swedish law, any person who demonstrates disrespect (Swedish: “missaktning”) for people’s sexual orientation may be sentenced to up to four years in prison. Needless to say, although the Bible is clear about God’s love for fallen mankind and that “God so loved the world….” there are many passages in the Bible that warn about sodomy and its dangers to both individuals and society at large. Those passages – although expressing disrespect for the depraved act of sodomy - may erroneously be interpreted by some people to express disrespect for the people who engage in such activity. Or as the the Kalmar Court verdict against Pastor Green reads: “It is the opinion of this Court that Åke Green, through his statements, has deeply offended the homosexuals as a group and the purpose of his sermon was clearly aimed at showing disrespect for the homosexuals as a group.” [1]

Similar hate speech laws exist in Canada, in the form of a provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act. Luckily, attempts to use these provisions to silence religious freedom have been unsuccessful. Muslim attempts to accuse Maclean's magazine of hate speech for merely criticizing the religion were rejected.[1]

Hate speech, even when legally defined as such, is not a crime in the United States because speech is protected under the First Amendment. In some instances, however, hate speech may be entered as evidence that a separate crime, such as assault, should qualify as a hate crime.

See also


  1. http://ca.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idCATRE49993920081010