“Hate” and “disagreement” are mutually exclusive terms. One concept has nothing to do with the other. One can disagree without hating; one can hate without disagreeing. But try telling that to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The civil rights group recently declared the Family Research Council a “hate group” due to its belief in traditional marriage. As if to punctuate that proclamation, on Aug. 15, a gunman entered the council’s Washington, D.C., headquarters and shot a security guard in the arm for the same reason — because of the organization’s religious beliefs.
The flaw in the reasoning of both the shooter and the Southern Poverty Law Center is that they fail to see a distinction between “hate” and “difference of opinion.” Given our nation’s history, there’s nothing illogical about the Family Research Council’s opinion. Consider:
In 1782, the Continental Congress granted Thomas Aiken its approval to print the first Bible produced in North America. Copies were subsequently distributed to schools and soldiers in the Continental Army.
In 1791, the Bill of Rights, comprising the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, was approved. The First Amendment guarantees to the people freedom of, not from, religion.
For almost 100 years, the U.S. Capitol building also served as a place of worship, as there were no churches in Washington, D.C. Five different congregations met there every Sunday, with the Marine Corps band providing music and Thomas Jefferson among the Sunday congregants during his years as vice president and president.
What a difference a few hundred years make. Religious clubs are now banned from even private universities unless they allow agnostics and atheists to join. Public meetings no longer begin with an invocation. Nativity scenes and menorahs no longer grace the public square at year’s end.
Not only are the terms “disagreement” and “hate” wrongfully used interchangeably, but so are “disagreement” and “racism.” We often hear liberal politicians and pundits label anyone who disagrees with the president’s policies a “racist.” Difference of opinion does not equate to either hate or racism.
On the morning of the Family Research Council shooting, the Liberty Institute released a 140-page report, “Survey of Religious Hostility in America,” which it described as “a compilation of more than 600 documented incidents of hostility to religion that have occurred in the United States, most of them over the last 10 years.”
Dr. Frank Turek, a Cisco employee, was fired for expressing his views on traditional marriage in his book, even though he never voiced those opinions at work.
Samantha Schulz, 8, was barred from singing “Kum Ba Yah” at a Boys and Girls Club in Port Charlotte because the song included the words “Oh, Lord.”
Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, was forced to participate in a late-term abortion against her religious convictions, and was threatened with job termination and loss of license.
Contrary to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s opinion, hostility, even hate, isn’t held by the individuals or groups with strong religious convictions — it’s directed toward them.
The center doesn’t mischaracterize just religious groups — it also classifies tea party organizations as hate groups, believing they view the president as a threat solely on the basis of his skin color.
When people on the left say we should learn to embrace our differences, they generally refer to differences in nationality, skin color or sexual orientation. It’s time we add “differences of opinion” to the list. After all, it’s in the Constitution.
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