Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hate Speech?

I don't like Public Displays of Affection at all, in any context. However, I've never received hundreds of comments attacking me for voicing my opinion, and elaborating on my experiences, on my blog.

This post by Stacy at Accepting Abundance, and the ridiculous comments it received, are a perfect example of how agreeing with Church teaching is now considered "Hate Speech" by many, while their own threats and profanity is apparently supposed to be appropriate.

I was a little nervous about leaving a comment on the post initially. After all, I'd rather not spend hours approving comments about how I'm an-evil-hate-mongering-horrible-mother for following Church teaching (and teaching my children about our faith) from whoever follows me home to my blog. Then I read the first few lines of this post and changed my mind.

And it got me thinking... At one point it was recognized that danger to a persons soul is far greater than any discomfort in this world. We don't really hear that any longer. And I imagine we'll hear it less if "hate speech" is defined in the way many would have it be defined.

When: "I think you are a wonderful, valuable person, loved by God, but I disagree with what you are doing and I believe it is a sin..." becomes hate speech, but a profanity laced rant including threats (that is the result of simply and quietly stating your religious beliefs) is seen as A-Okay, we have a huge problem. And I don't think that problem is going to be going away anytime soon.

If you have a moment say a quick prayer for the incredibly angry commentors on Stacy's blog (and for Stacy herself as she endures the onslaught). If nothing else I'm thankful that I found her blog today. But I'm sorry she's enduring all of this hatred... for simply and concisely stating her experience and her beliefs.

Accepting Abundance: Can't Even Go to the Park


  1. As soon as I saw that Reddit was involved, I knew it was gonna be bad. When the faceless mobs on the internet get stirred up, someone is gonna get it. Most of the cowards won't even attach a name to what they say.

    I've only had a few come chew me out for comments I've made on atheist blogs. They were off-topic and invoked Godwin's law on the first comment. Boring. Why can't any of these anti-Catholic detractors be literate? Or better yet, Shakespeare buffs. That way when we have to slog through their 2-penny Jack Chick wanna-be comments they at least are interesting to read.

  2. Thank you for introducing me to her blog. I'm sure I will continue to enjoy it in the future as much as I enjoy reading yours.

  3. Unfortunate, but certainly not surprising. As Laura wrote, I've been introduced to a wonderful blog!

    When my husband and I were working our way to joining the Catholic Church (from a virulently anti-Catholic strain of Calvinist belief) I put up a blog to detail our conversion process. A few high profile bloggers highlighted my humble little blog and, before you know it, trackbacks were popping up to Calvinist bloggers who were absolutely hateful in their critique of me, my conversion and - remarkably - my parents and their obvious lack of care in giving me critical thinking skills!

    It upset me and bothered me in a way that I cannot put into words. I wrote to them all (privately) and asked them, in the spirit of Christian charity and obedience to Scripture, to show me the error of my ways lest I be a castaway.

    No one took the time to write to me.

    Stacy is a brave woman. She and her family are in our prayers.

  4. Followed the link, and wow ... just wow. The level of vulgarities and insults coming out of the woodwork is certainly impressive. Or perhaps I should more accurately say, the vulgarities make an *impression*, the volume of which, and the extenuating effects of which, the authors probably do not fully appreciate.

    Just a few thoughts, (ironically, from another scientist; phd in physics to be precise .. not sure I've ever told you that about myself).

    1) Always remember-- it's just the internet, nothing more. I was in graduate school when the web was first coming to fruition back in the 90's, and my observation over the years is that many people, particulary those most prone to swinging insults/vulgarities -- consider the web and its blogs to be much more the be-all-end-all than they actually are. Battles on the anonymous internet are *far* from the most important thing in life, and one should never let those battles/insults have too much weight.

    2) For those actually resorting to insults and ad hominem attacks, it's really just a virtual-life attempt at posturing control, strength, or dominance. Nothing more than the internal wish to feel more powerful. ... In other words, never give an attack on the internet any more worth than it actually deserves --- which isn't much.

    3) Re: the vulgarities and insults themselves ... having to *resort* to that type of shrillness in the first place ... says more about the commentator than any mere viewpoint. Everyone on the planet has an opinion, but some have the maturity to express it with politeness and class. 'How' something is said often leaves far more lasting of an impression, than any mere opinion buried within.

    Always remember your internal strength. Insults on a computer screen have absolutely no power over that.

    (sign me, that Lutheran woman from PA :) )

  5. That is a really good post, I like it a lot. It is very sad the immorality that exists in public, though. I can't believe that there would be hateful comments about someone posting on their own blog!

    In Christ,

  6. I had mixed reactions to her blog. I agree with her that it is hard being Catholic in a secular world that goes against your beliefs (try living in the Bible belt!), but I had a hard time with her rant about the illegal immigrant. What happened is terrible, but it seems her main problem is with people being illegal and receiving government aid. He really ought to be punished, not because he is illegal, but because he caused the death of someone. I also think the approach of just staying at home all the time is a bit extreme. Gay marriage is just one of those things I will just have to explain to Susi at some point, but I won't be condoning the behavior either. Similar to divorce, sometimes it is necessary, but having to explain why her relatives are living together but not married is not going to be easy either. There is no way we can avoid it unfortunately, but we can at least use those moments as teaching moments for our children and we can also pray for all those people.

  7. Yay! Another blog to follow. (I'm such a geek for this kind of stuff. I suppose I must live vicariously through the blogs I follow.)

    At any rate, I've done a post over on my own blog dealing with my take on the issue. I wish you both all the best, and I'll keep you in my prayers.

  8. I agree about the morality, obviously, but her post really does come across as paranoid and uncharitable. Its not evangelizing, its a rant. And what does illegal immigration have to do with any of it? And the little comment about 'Obama's aunt'? Classy.

  9. [disclaimer: I read the post but none of the comments. I would never defend any vile reactions to her post as much as I disagree with it]

    Sorry, I have to agree with Anonymous. It's one thing if she were upset about kissing or touching that would be inappropriate for any couple, but rubbing backs and elbows, really?

    And the illegal immigrants comment - the man's crime was horrible but American citizens do the same stupid, deadly things. It was unnecessary, as was the jab at Obama's aunt.

  10. I'm glad that I haven't had 600+ people come over and hurl obscenities every time I've ranted about a moral issue...

    And I would actually say, after working as a lifeguard for eight years and seeing plenty of back rubbing poolside, that rubbing someone's back can be (and usually is) far more sexual than a kiss. I mean, really think about it.

    I'm not saying I agree with every single thing she said, but I tend to disagree with a lot of Catholic bloggers (probably as a result of working on the campaign for workers right at my "Catholic" college where we were told by a school official not to fight for the workers to have a living wage as 90% were illegal... thankfully we did and we won a living wage...) when it comes to stances on immigration, but I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater because I disagree on a comment that clearly was not the basis of the post (and also wasn't the basis of the attacks on her).

    She could have written that post, without any immigration references and still gotten the threats. Because that's the agenda that's being forced down our throats and that's what's being classified as "hate speech." And I think there's a good chance that as Catholics we're all going to pay the price for this agenda soon enough. It will have nothing to do with saying we disagree with PDA and everything to do with being unable to say that something is a sin, without it being labeled "hate speech" and criminalized.

  11. *raises her liberal hand*

    I'm not a fan of overtly sexual PDA from any couple, gay or straight. But I honestly think this woman is overreacting. Embracing and rubbing each others' backs...that's hardly sexual. I've seen far worse.

    Also, her remark "We are responsible citizens. We live by the rules, we pay our taxes, we take care of our things." bothers me. It implies that gays and lesbians AREN'T doing those things, when in reality most (just like most straight people) are.

    Yeah, I can understand why she's upset about her taxpayer dollars being used to fund things like IVF and abortion. It bugs me too. But how are my taxpayer dollars being used to fund gay marriage? I'm not seeing the comparison here.

    I have no issue with the Catholic (or any) church stating whatever they want about homosexuality, gay marriage, what have you. No church is (or should) be forced to accept something that goes against their principles. If that same couple she saw attempted to join their church, the church would be within their rights to say they weren't welcome. But the park is not the church, it is a public place.

    I know a lot of people don't like to think of it this way, but I really think gay marriage is going to be for our generation what interracial marriage was for our parents' and grandparents' generation.

  12. Hi Catherine-

    I thought you might have an opinion on this one. :0)

    I'd have to disagree on back rubs being unsexual. Especially topless, poolside (which I believe is where the backrubs were mentioned?). Again, after spending years on the deck at a college pool lifeguarding, the back rubs I witnessed definitely crossed that line.

    I'm not sure what the tax connection was either.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if it is commonly excepted in a relatively short amount of time. My issue with this particular issue is the vilification of anyone who does believe what their respective church teaches. I have people who I love dearly who are gay. And really personally, I'm not worried about explaining the issue to my children.

    What I find disturbing, and what inspired this post, is the response to the orignal post. Threats? The label "hate speech?"

    And I wouldn't also, unfortunately, wouldn't be surprised to see the government moving against Churches that don't want to perform ceremonies once it is mainstream. That's one of my main concerns...

  13. Eh, I don't see this as hate speech. Mainly because when I hear "hate speech", I get images of the Westboro Baptist Church, KKK cross burnings, and Neo-Nazi rallies.

    I can see how people would view this as hate speech though. I'm reminded of a webcomic where a young gay atheist teen/college student and a Christian man in his 70's are having a conversation. The kid makes a remark about how Christians ruin everything, and the older man speaks up and mentions that he is a Christian, having accepted Christ and being baptized as a child.

    The teen then states that the only other times he'd heard someone describe themselves as Christian was right before they told him why they were better than him.

    The final panel is of the old man praying and weeping beside his bed that night.

    I'll have to find the comic now that I think about it. Because really...if I were gay and the only people I'd known who openly identified as Christian used it as a reasoning for their superiority over me (and I knew people who did this for different reasons towards me), I'd begin to develop a perception of "devout Christianity=hate speech" also.

    I don't think there's much to fear with the government making movements towards churches that aren't willing to perform gay marriages. There are enough liberal churches and non-religious figures willing to do the ceremonies that there should be no need to force non-willing clergy to perform a ceremony the disagree with. I'm sure there are churches unwilling to marry a Christian to a non-Christian, or persons of different races, or people who cohabitated before marriage...all things which are perfectly legal in the secular world.

    And as someone who believes church and state separation goes both ways--I certainly hope no one forces any unwilling church into performing a marriage they disagree with!

  14. "Hate speech" was how 99% of the commentors on the most labeled it, between profanity strewn rants threatening Stacy...

    One thing that I would like to point out and that I hope will be helpful is that our belief does separate the action from the person. I pray that no one would actually say "I'm better than you" because frankly it wouldn't be true. We all struggle with our own temptations. And knowingly doing something might be seen as "smaller" in our society and might be much worse than unknowingly doing something that isn't seen as wrong.

    We aren't better than each other. We're all struggling on different paths. And some struggles are very, very difficult.

    It's not an issue of superiority, but if you think about it, if you really believed someone was risking their soul, by performing an action, would it be charitable to remain silent about the action. It's not, "we're better than you" because we don't believe a person is defined by their sins. They are still a person, as valuable and beautiful as anyone else. I know there are probably many people who could explain it much more eloquently than I am...

    I wish I were as confident about the government and their relationship with Churches. They've already told Churches that speaking on these "political issues" threatens their tax exempt status. They've already shut down Catholic charities that wouldn't place children with gay or lesbian couples. So far I haven't seen a trend of the government "staying out" of our churches.... But I do pray that you are right!

  15. And I hope the tone comes across here and just struggling to explain something that I do usually avoid talking about and that is very hard to for me to explain. This one is very painful for me to write/talk about so I do usually try to avoid it, but I really appreciate your input and point of view here Catherine! And I hope that comes across in my stumbling explanations!

  16. No--you're making perfect sense. No worries!


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