Hate Speech

A few days ago, I tweeted a link to an article on the Spectator: “Revd Dr Alan Clifford’s ‘homophobic’ comments referred to the CPS” (it might be worthwhile reading the article for some background), and I noted that it had worrying implications for free speech.

Anyway, someone replied to me on Twitter this morning and – because I didn’t condemn Dr Clifford’s behaviour – accused me of (1) believing that gay people were subhuman; (2) believing that gay people were ‘targets’ (of what, I don’t know); (3) that I would allow people to propagate hate (or hateful) speech.

All of this worries me. I absolutely do NOT believe gay people are subhuman, and I don’t understand what they meant about believing gay people are ‘targets’ (but I’m pretty sure I’m not that either). I hold what I believe to be an orthodox Christian doctrine of sex – that is to say, I believe its proper context is within a lifelong, monogamous heterosexual relationship – and that anything which falls outside of that is by definition immoral.

The worrying question for me is: is that opinion ‘hate speech’? I appreciate that it’s not a popular opinion in society, but … hate speech?

The problem is, ‘hate speech’ seems to have come to mean any opinion which differs from society’s view on the matter. According to the article I linked to above, the Police had a booklet which outlined that a homophobic offense is “any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person”. In other words, if I make a statement such as the one I made above, and someone perceives it as homophobic, that may constitute a homophobic offense.

Now, as far as I can tell Dr Clifford actually sent these tracts to the organisation Norwich Pride, which is admittedly more than simply publishing a blog post. But the problem is not that he actually sent these letters across, the problem is that they were perceived as ‘hate speech’.

I haven’t seen these tracts which were sent, but from what I’ve read I have absolutely no idea how they could be construed as ‘hate speech’, unless the criteria is someone disagreeing with someone else on an issue (in which case, a typical evening down at the pub for most people would involve quite a lot of hate speech). What defines hate speech? What defines homophobic remarks? I wonder whether this is maybe a problem because in our culture ‘homophobia’ has come to mean expressing a dissenting opinion about homosexual practice’.

A few years ago (and this may still be the case), photographers were arrested by the police for taking pictures of public buildings in public areas – for the sake of security. Worst of all, some police didn’t seem to know the law. I’m wondering if something like that is going on here – taking a principle and running with it. It seems like homophobia is such an emotive issue at the moment, a bit like security was a few years back, that it’s difficult to be objective about it.

Whatever the cause is, I don’t think the situation is looking good at the moment in the UK for freedom of expression for religious beliefs. What I think needs to happen is for clearer guidance for the Police on what exactly constitutes homophobia and hate speech. Otherwise I think we’re going to see more of this kind of thing (e.g. this arrest during Wimbledon).

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25 thoughts on “Hate Speech

  1. Ahhh, Phill, I’ve missed these posts….

    ‘I haven’t seen these tracts which were sent’

    Exactly you haven’t so how do you feel that ‘I have absolutely no idea how they could be construed as ‘hate speech’’

    We don’t know what was sent – so how can you have no idea how the could be construed as ‘hate speech’.

    Frankly if a gay person sent me an email saying Jesus can turn you gay, which in effect is what his email seems to be saying (but straight) I would find that offensive. Wouldn’t you? If the email said that what you and your wife are doing is wrong? Seeing as you feel it is the most natural thing for you.

    Should pride email the church saying, what to do about the gay community at the church, or how to turn your parishioners gay. Would the church not find that super offensive?

    Would that impact on your beliefs to the extent you would feel it was a hate speech?

    Come on Phill.

    • “Exactly you haven’t so how do you feel that ‘I have absolutely no idea how they could be construed as ‘hate speech’’”

      Maybe I put it too strongly, but I was partly basing it on that Spectator article and partly on the kind of things I think Dr Clifford might have sent through given what the article said about him.

      This goes back to the definition of ‘hate speech’: What IS hate speech? It seems like, whatever the tracts actually said, there’s no objective standard… it’s just down to the vagaries of someone claiming to be offended.

      “Frankly if a gay person sent me an email saying Jesus can turn you gay, which in effect is what his email seems to be saying (but straight) I would find that offensive. Wouldn’t you? If the email said that what you and your wife are doing is wrong? Seeing as you feel it is the most natural thing for you.”

      Let me try to think of an equivalent situation. If a gay pride organisation sent me a newsletter strongly denouncing churches and Christianity as bigots and immoral then yes – it wouldn’t be ideal. Maybe I’d be offended. I’d probably throw it in the bin. But I don’t think they should be prosecuted for just sending something like that through – especially if it wasn’t advocating any kind of action (it was simply stating that something was moral / immoral).

      This is the thing, ‘offence’ is now such a vague term and I’m worried that it can be used to demonise certain opinions through the legal system. It just looks to me like, in the future, even holding certain opinions (well, expressing them in public where they might cause offence) won’t be possible.

  2. And there in lies the difference that a church will tell people how they should be, Jesus saves, helps you turn straight etc. His letter was a typical example. You wouldn’t ever get a hate letter from a gay organisation as they don’t want to force their beliefs on people.

    If you did get a letter like that from a gay organisation strongly denouncing churches and Christianity as bigots and immoral, then I would class that as a hate letter and I would not find it acceptable, I would also feel that if you chose to report it, then you would be well within your rights to. At the end of the day, this idiot was fined only £90 or go to court, it is in effect a slap on the wrist, not a go to jail offense, because his actions have hurt someone deeply and his actions are not acceptable.

    They are akin to slapping someone in the face. Extremely offensive, but no permanent damage and I wouldn’t accept that I would report him.

    Having said all that, I would probably do the same as you and thrown the letter in the bin and forgotten about it. I wouldn’t give it the time of day. But I am glad that I would be able to report that as his behavior (which we know is unacceptable, but not to what extent) is offensive and causes hurt, as much as a slap in the face would.

    Final thought: Imagine the shoe was on the other foot, and that not you or me got an offending letter, but Alan Clifford got it. How do you think he would react. Honestly?

    • “You wouldn’t ever get a hate letter from a gay organisation as they don’t want to force their beliefs on people.”

      Hmmm, I’m betting that some Christian organisations have had publicity through from gay pride organisations. I’m also not sure about forcing beliefs on people… Alan Clifford wasn’t trying to force his beliefs on, unless trying to convince someone that they’re wrong is forcing your beliefs on someone. I mean, what kind of a world is it that we live in if telling someone that they’re wrong is an offence?

      I know a number of political types, some on the right and some on the left. Each seem to think the other side is absolutely wrong and stupid and immoral. (With varying degrees of hatred). Should it be an offence to send a conservative tract to a labour organisation?

      ” you did get a letter like that from a gay organisation strongly denouncing churches and Christianity as bigots and immoral, then I would class that as a hate letter and I would not find it acceptable, I would also feel that if you chose to report it, then you would be well within your rights to.”

      I’m not sure what the current legislation would make of that, I understand it that it’s only homophobic offence (which means that a gay rights organisation would not be committing an offence by posting publicity to Christian organisations).

      Again, we need to define what a ‘hate letter’ actually is. Is it possible to call something someone does immoral without hating them?

      “Final thought: Imagine the shoe was on the other foot, and that not you or me got an offending letter, but Alan Clifford got it. How do you think he would react. Honestly?”

      Probably throw it in the bin. I don’t know the man, I can’t imagine he’d report it to the authorities though.

      • He may not have written it, but how did it get in the hands of a reporter… hmmm…. and you think he would have just thrown away the letter. I don’t.

        Where should the organisation complain to? Or should they not be allowed? Again shoe on other foot – where would a Christian organisation complain? Or should they just suck it up?

        Yea I’m sure some Gay organisations will have sent hate mail. But I would bet my life savings that ALOT more have come from the Christian organisations to gay ones!

        ‘unless trying to convince someone that they’re wrong is forcing your beliefs on someone.’ –

        Yes it can be, depends on the scale of the letter, again we don’t know the scale of this letter. Being gay is fundamental to who these people are. I know you don’t get this, but its the same as saying ‘your black, I think that’s disgusting and wrong. You sicken me. cover your skin or paint it or something as its gross so that you dont offend me and what i believe in as I dont want to see it’ Is that acceptable? Do you think the police should be called if someone received a letter with that written on it? I do. I would think that would class as a hate letter. The police clearly agreed that it was a hate letter. I would generally tend to agree with a police approach.

        Your taking the approach that being gay is a choice. Its not. Honestly. Being straight is not a choice for me.

        ‘I’m not sure what the current legislation would make of that, I understand it that it’s only homophobic offence (which means that a gay rights organisation would not be committing an offence by posting publicity to Christian organisations). ‘

        – dont know, would assume that any strong hate offense to any creed, skin colour sexual orientation would be treated the same? Am I wrong? If I am then, I would agree that that is unfair, although you do need to protect minority’s.

        • “Where should the organisation complain to? Or should they not be allowed? Again shoe on other foot – where would a Christian organisation complain? Or should they just suck it up?”

          The problem was not that the organisation complained, it was that the police responded in the way they did. The fault doesn’t lie with Norwich Pride.

          “I know you don’t get this, but its the same as saying ‘your black, I think that’s disgusting and wrong. You sicken me. cover your skin or paint it or something as its gross so that you dont offend me and what i believe in as I dont want to see it’”

          It’s not the same. Your skin colour is an entirely genetic thing, there is nothing you can do about it. Every one of us have sexual desires which we can choose to act on or not. Some of them are good, some of them not. If I have a desire for a woman (or a man!) who isn’t my wife, should I act on it? Is it right to tell someone that acting on certain desires isn’t moral?

          I do appreciate that being gay isn’t a choice, although all science can tell us about the question of attraction at the moment is that it’s complicated. Twin studies, for example, prove that there is no ‘gay gene’ – it’s not a purely genetic thing. It’s also more fluid than many people give it credit for, e.g. a certain percentage of people who identify as gay at 18 will identify as heterosexual at 21. All I’m trying to prove is that it’s not the same as, say, skin colour.

          Additionally, I want to make a distinction between who someone *is* and what they *do*. As a Christian I’d say, homosexual practice is immoral (as is every sexual practice outside of a lifelong heterosexual relationship). BUT I don’t hate the person. Claiming that something is immoral is NOT saying “I hate you”. That is the key thing which the police seem to be missing.

          Anyone with an understanding of the Christian faith knows that Christians believe that *everyone* is flawed in some way, everyone is immoral in some way. No-one is completely ‘straight’ sexually – we all want to do things which are immoral. Calling people to repentance and faith springs from love for those people, wishing them to enter into a relationship with God, not an attack on their fundamental being. Everyone is called to repentance and faith, it’s not singling people out (or it shouldn’t be).

          By the way, I’m sorry about the comments appearing in a stupid order. There’s nothing I can do about it – this blog is hosted in WordPress.com, so it’s their fault!

  3. Also… been thinking… He sent the letters in the first place, then complains that they have made a complaint about him, by complaining that they have made a complaint about him. Granted not to the police, but to the internet and whoever was listening. That’s big of him… hypocrite?

    • He didn’t write the article, it was picked up by a reporter. Not sure if he’s blogged about it or publicised it.

      But the problem is not the fact that the organisation complained, the problem is that the law or police seem to be over restrictive in this instance.

  4. Yea strange about the order… oh well sure it will sort itself out:

    ‘As a Christian I’d say, homosexual practice is immoral (as is every sexual practice outside of a lifelong heterosexual relationship). BUT I don’t hate the person. ‘Claiming that something is immoral is NOT saying “I hate you”. That is the key thing which the police seem to be missing.’

    And why do you feel that its your job to tell everyone its immoral. These people may have spend years of pain, and hurt, coming out to non accepting parents, and a society that says, hey its fine your gay, just don’t do anything about it. Which basically means its not fine.

    And when this message comes across that says you are not accepted, (and that is the message ultimately) you are strange, its immoral and you shouldn’t do what comes naturally to you, it hurts these people who are fighting to be accepted. And brings back all the forms of hate and pain they had coming out.

    That is why it is super offensive.

    And why do you do it? To make yourself feel better? Maybe because closeted homosexuals feel everyone who is out should suffer as they do? Because its not for the sake of the gays, I know that much. Your causing hurt, because in your ‘loving’ religion tells you to.

    The problem lies with the religions twisted moral sense.

    ‘It’s not the same. Your skin colour is an entirely genetic thing, there is nothing you can do about it. Every one of us have sexual desires which we can choose to act on or not. Some of them are good, some of them not. If I have a desire for a woman (or a man!) who isn’t my wife, should I act on it? Is it right to tell someone that acting on certain desires isn’t moral?’

    In my opinion no you shouldn’t act on it (cheat on your wife). But ultimately that is your decision, who cares what I think or your neighbor etc thinks. It certainly is not my job to tell you how to live your life. I would think its morally wrong, but it doesn’t affect me. I would probably tell you its wrong as you are hurting someone. Difference is gay people do not affect you at all and more importantly by being with each other make each other happy. So why do you feel the need to tell them they are wrong. And in this case it is the same as racism.

    Notice you didn’t come back about the hypocrisy…

    Also… ‘I do appreciate that being gay isn’t a choice, although all science can tell us’… a dam sight more than an old book or a religion can, although they still don’t know for sure it does seem more likely that it is genetic, and I recently read that they think they may have found the gene, but just for male homosexuality.

    ‘No-one is completely ‘straight’ sexually – we all want to do things which are immoral.’ – Whoa there… I am. My bro is gay, I am 100% straight. Really.

    • “And why do you feel that its your job to tell everyone its immoral.”

      I just want to make clear that I wouldn’t do what Alan Clifford did. I’m not him and I wouldn’t have sent those letters. I appreciate that this is an issue which can deeply hurt people. I don’t think sending out letters like that is a good way of getting the message out, i’d rather establish a relationship first.

      But – the Christian faith involves telling people that they are sinners and they need to repent. Not gay people specifically – everyone. I appreciate that sometimes being told we’re wrong, especially on an issue like sexuality, hurts. But I don’t think it should be a crime to tell people that you don’t believe what they are doing is morally right. Especially when it’s NOT a matter of saying “we hate you, we think you’re inferior, get out!” but it’s a matter of saying “Repent and believe in Jesus and he will help you” or something like that.

      Also, I should point out that any Christian organisation worth anything should be saying “We accept you!” You may have heard the saying, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’? The Christian message is that God loves us, in spite of what we do. It is the ultimate example of acceptance, and sometimes that doesn’t come over in the way Christians put it across. But we do need to repent of our sins.

      I can see that you disagree with me over my understanding of homosexuality. That’s fine. All I’m arguing is that: (1) ‘hate speech’ or homophobia is loosely defined and the police need to tighten it up for it to be useful; (2) that calling an action immoral is not an example of hate speech.

      “Notice you didn’t come back about the hypocrisy…”

      Yeah, I just didn’t want to get distracted on a side issue. Whether Dr Clifford is a hypocrite or not makes no bearing on the argument.

      “‘No-one is completely ‘straight’ sexually – we all want to do things which are immoral.’ – Whoa there… I am. My bro is gay, I am 100% straight. Really.”

      What I meant was ‘straight’ in terms of an ideal, not straight in terms of orientation: no-one wants to do the right thing 100% of the time, in terms of sexuality. If I want to have an affair, for example, that means I’m not sexually ‘straight’. I guess I should have just said that to start with 🙂 All of us are in some way sexually deviant from God’s ideal.

  5. “And why do you feel that its your job to tell everyone its immoral.

    I just want to make clear that I wouldn’t do what Alan Clifford did. I’m not him and I wouldn’t have sent those letters. I appreciate that this is an issue which can deeply hurt people. I don’t think sending out letters like that is a good way of getting the message out, i’d rather establish a relationship first.”

    – Agree with you, although I might not agree with your message I agree with the method. Also didn’t mean you, meant alan.

    “Notice you didn’t come back about the hypocrisy…

    Yeah, I just didn’t want to get distracted on a side issue. Whether Dr Clifford is a hypocrite or not makes no bearing on the argument.”

    – True but by your inaction I take it you agree.

    “‘No-one is completely ‘straight’ sexually – we all want to do things which are immoral.’ – Whoa there… I am. My bro is gay, I am 100% straight. Really.

    What I meant was ‘straight’ in terms of an ideal, not straight in terms of orientation: no-one wants to do the right thing 100% of the time, in terms of sexuality. If I want to have an affair, for example, that means I’m not sexually ‘straight’. I guess I should have just said that to start with 🙂 All of us are in some way sexually deviant from God’s ideal.”

    – Ok got it. 🙂

    I guess ultimately we believe different things. I have heard all those messages, 18 years of Roman Catholic school will teach you those things. Original sin and all that rubbish.

    Back to the subject in hand, the hate letter – I think it is so impersonal and cowardly to send a letter like that, I think your approach is better. At the end of the day, if your talking about things that are fundamental to someones life you should at least take the time to understand the person and their life so you can them make your judgement.

    I think in this case I would say that the police intervention was called for as I do think it was a hate letter. (although i cant say for sure as I do not know the content) the police obviously thought so. What annoys me is the fact that this Clifford guy obviously thinks hes so in the right that even though a group of people including the police think hes wrong rather than apologise and maybe make some positive steps to heal the relations between the church and the gay community hes then taken the story to a reporter. Which in turn is a hateful thing to do.

    Ultimately, I would say the hate letter is in the eye of the beholder. There are ways and then there are ways to get your message across.

    • “I think in this case I would say that the police intervention was called for as I do think it was a hate letter. (although i cant say for sure as I do not know the content) the police obviously thought so. What annoys me is the fact that this Clifford guy obviously thinks hes so in the right that even though a group of people including the police think hes wrong rather than apologise and maybe make some positive steps to heal the relations between the church and the gay community hes then taken the story to a reporter. Which in turn is a hateful thing to do.”

      I think part of the problem is, and part of the reason I wrote the original post, that ‘homophobia’ has become such an emotive issue that it’s difficult to be objective about it. Which is why I think the police need clearer guidelines about what a ‘hate letter’ actually is.

      I think what Alan Clifford did, assuming he did take the letter to a reporter, was to do with protesting the response of the Police rather than trying to antagonise the gay community.

      “Ultimately, I would say the hate letter is in the eye of the beholder. There are ways and then there are ways to get your message across.”

      I think it’s probably a bad idea to send a letter like that to a gay organisation – but at the same time I do think there needs to be some kind of common sense about what is objectionable or not.

      Some people take offence at just about anything. Some people take offence – for good reasons personally – at something which is not offensive. So, for example, if a girl on the street who has been raped sees a ‘Rape crisis’ stand, she might get really upset because it triggers bad memories – but it wouldn’t be the fault of the stand. So we need to be realistic about causing offence, which goes back to what I was saying about objectivity.

      But in all this I’m not saying that I condone what Alan Clifford did, just think the Police’s reaction was maybe a bit over the top (see also that preacher who was arrested – seven hours questioning in a police station is a lot).

  6. A rape crisis stand would be there to help her through what is a big problem for her. Also that’s not causing offense, that’s causing upset.

    His letter was probably trying to ‘help’ the gay community for something that is not a problem for them. his message caused offense and as a result also upset.

    Big difference.

    Also I’m amazed you would use rape as a parallel issue. Very bad comparison.

    You are dam right its emotive. When people who don’t understand that being gay is natural and part of life, and are constantly demeaning who you are and what you believe in, your relationships, etc you are dam right its emotive. If I said to you that loving your wife was a sin (and meant it) you would be outraged. To gay people this is what your saying! Seriously how do you think that’s acceptable?! Who tells you it is?

    If the gay community attacked (and it is a form of attack in their eyes just as saying god doesn’t exist and what you believe in is ridiculous is an attack in yours) the religious community half as much as the other way round, there would be an outrage.

    The problem is objectivity I agree, it stems from pure disagreement in community’s. You think its a sin, the gay community don’t. Its a fundamental point of disagreement. That’s why we have impartial judges who see it in a more objective light.

    I don’t think Alan Clifford sending the letter was about police, but rather about gay rights and how he clearly doesn’t like the fact that people think that he is totally wrong. Nothing to do with the police. They were simply the messengers.

    Was the police response over the top? Knock on his door and say what you did was unacceptable here is a fine or you can take it to court. Really. You think that is over the top? It probably took 30min to sort the whole thing out or he could have contested it…. as he tells it, it ruined an evening. Well he upset and offended a lot of people. An evening and £90 is the least he could give.

    Clearly he didn’t have the conviction of his beliefs to follow it through as he knew that his argument wouldn’t stand up in court. In the same situation had someone offered me to go to court over something I strongly believed, I would, even if I thought I would lose. Its the principle. Hows that for morals?!

    Instead of doing the right thing (in his eyes) and contesting it, he had a reported write a bias story about it. How good and mighty for him to stand up for what he believes in…. not.

    ‘(see also that preacher who was arrested – seven hours questioning in a police station is a lot)’ – don’t know anything of this case, but I’m sure I can find the gay equivalent easily, also we are talking about and evening and £90 in this case.

    • “Also I’m amazed you would use rape as a parallel issue. Very bad comparison.”

      Sorry, bad example. I’m not saying it’s a parallel issue. I’m just saying that upset or offence is not dependent on the thing causing the upset. Let me give you another example. Let’s say a gay couple moved into a town in the deep south of the USA, the Bible Belt. Many people in the town would be massively offended by that. Are they right to be offended?

      Which is why we need the state to arbitrate objectively rather than relying on whether people feel offended or not.

      “If I said to you that loving your wife was a sin (and meant it) you would be outraged.”

      Actually I’d just think you were wrong and get on with my life.

      I don’t know whether Alan Clifford is going to court or not. Maybe there’s been some more news on this, I haven’t followed it. I don’t think it’s an either / or situation with going to the press.

      “Instead of doing the right thing (in his eyes) and contesting it, he had a reported write a bias story about it. ”

      Oh, come on now. There is no newspaper in the world which isn’t biased. I don’t know how the Pink News reported this (if they did) but I’m sure it would have been a victory / defeat for gay rights or something like that. Everyone has an angle. Everyone. Just because that article doesn’t agree with yours doesn’t mean mean it’s more or less biased.

      “don’t know anything of this case, but I’m sure I can find the gay equivalent easily”

      Go on then. The link to the original story is in the last sentence in my blog post. Find me something which has happened recently.

  7. Sorry, bad example. I’m not saying it’s a parallel issue. I’m just saying that upset or offense is not dependent on the thing causing the upset. Let me give you another example. Let’s say a gay couple moved into a town in the deep south of the USA, the Bible Belt. Many people in the town would be massively offended by that. Are they right to be offended?

    Yes they have the right to be offended, but they don’t have the right to send an abusive message or letter to their neighbor. Keep your bigoted opinions to yourself, or if you really don’t like it then take it up with the government. Take the correct route.

    Equally the gay people in the town have the right to complain about the Christians, and again same applies, take it up with the government, council whatever, not directly.

    It seems you think we should respect the fact you believe in god, but you show no respect to the fact that some guys like other guys.

    ‘“If I said to you that loving your wife was a sin (and meant it) you would be outraged.” Actually I’d just think you were wrong and get on with my life.’

    Your married and straight, that’s great for you, your accepted by society. Most gay guys would also get on with their lives and they do because they have a barrage of hate by ‘loving…’ Christians. But it still hurts. You don’t get it, your not empathetic and your not putting yourself in their shoes. Really think about it! Someone says your relationship is disgusting its a sin and its gross. YOUR relationship. your fine with that? It is EXACTLY the same for gay couples.

    I think you don’t get the fact that gay couples have the same strength of relationships that straight couples have. That’s where you fail. That’s why you don’t get it.

    Alan Clifford is a weasel hes paid the fine, hes not going to court. Hes suffered enough what with a whole evening of his being slightly disturbed….

    Yea sure they are all bias, but doesn’t change the fact he is a weasel.

    ‘Go on then. The link to the original story is in the last sentence in my blog post. Find me something which has happened recently.’

    I can find you hundreds, Russia for one, there are a few million people repressed, too far from home? Ok how about http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/london-protest-over-brutal-murder-gay-jamaican-teen

    In the news today about a poor gay man who was killed for being gay. (Died in July) after being beaten to death and shot for being gay. Sorry is that not as bad as 7 hours in a warm police room. Please. Gay people suffer, and struggle, for being gay. Christians like to pretend they do.

    Or someone doing the Christian thing: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/crime/article3855633.ece

    That was after a literally 2 second search. Bit rubbish asking for proof. Thought better of you.

    • “Yes they have the right to be offended, but they don’t have the right to send an abusive message or letter to their neighbor.”

      See, this is the problem. What IS ‘abusive’? This is the whole issue. Yours and my opinions seem to vary on this. That’s the root problem.

      “It seems you think we should respect the fact you believe in god, but you show no respect to the fact that some guys like other guys.”

      If an atheist organisation sent me a tract I wouldn’t report them to the authorities. I don’t know what you mean here.

      “You don’t get it, your not empathetic and your not putting yourself in their shoes. Really think about it! Someone says your relationship is disgusting its a sin and its gross. YOUR relationship. your fine with that? It is EXACTLY the same for gay couples.”

      Actually I don’t think gay relationships are disgusting and gross. I just think they’re immoral. There’s a difference here! Just because something is immoral doesn’t mean I hate it or the person. As I said before *everyone* is immoral in some things.

      I’m sorry if I’m coming across as not empathetic. I tend to think about things in a more abstract way and I know that doesn’t help when you’re actually the recipient of abuse. But I do think there’s an important principle at stake here which is why I’m trying to discuss it in an objective way.

      “That was after a literally 2 second search. Bit rubbish asking for proof. Thought better of you.”

      I’m aware of what’s going on in Russia and I think it’s awful. I do think that genuine hatred of gay people is wrong. I’m not denying that gay people are persecuted and I’m definitely not saying I would want that. I’m just saying that saying something is immoral is not the same.

      But none of those examples you gave are of the State persecuting a gay person. That’s the issue here, the State and not the individual.

      I feel we’re beginning to go in circles here so maybe it’s time to draw stumps on this discussion.

  8. Yea we are going in circles, we will never agree. I have my opinion and you have yours.

    Sorry but you don’t think abstractly, you think Christan.

    Russia is a state.

    Done.

    • Just to clarify, I meant British state persecution. Obviously there are countries where the state persecutes gay people (and Christians).

      • I get what you meant. You think that proves your point or strengthens your argument in some way? Nope. Gays are persecuted. Luckily the police protect gays in this country on the whole against christian bigots like clifford. I’m sure if I dug enough I could find something, as it is I cant. I dont have more than 5 min.

        Thank (I would say god but that seems ridiculous) it is that way.

      • oh could you, out of interest, tell me why you believe that its ok to be gay, but not have a gay relationship. Does it say it in the bible or?

        (separate thing – just curious.)

        • To be honest this is probably an area which you’d need to write a book about.

          The Bible doesn’t talk at all about “orientation”. There is no such concept there. As I said before, it just talks about how everyone has desires which are not right. We can’t help having those desires. But we can help what we do about them.

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