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America's Culture War: In the News

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The First Amendment, Free Speech, and Religion

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

The first amendment of the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble....

However, religion and free speech are finding themselves on the defense as homosexual activists do all they can to stifle preachers who would speak out against the sin of homosexuality. For the first time in history, preachers in Pennsylvania are considering liability insurance to protect themselves against prosecution for speaking out against homosexuality in the pulpit—an action they are taking in reaction to Pennsylvania’s recent addition of “sexual orientation” to the state’s hate crime laws.

On June 30, 2004, the Traditional Values Coalition noted:

In Canada, for example, a recently-passed hate crimes law (C-250) criminalizes speech if it incites hatred against any identifiable group. This law added “sexual orientation” to its hate crime law and left this term undefined.

In Sweden, Pentecostal preacher Ake Green was sentenced to a month in prison after being found guilty of having offended homosexuals in a sermon, according to Ecumenical News International. In a 2003 sermon, Green had described homosexuality as “abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society.”

At some point, people must ask: what happens if a preacher offends a polygamist, pedophile, adulterer, murderer, rapist, or an individual who participates in acts of bestiality. Should the preacher also be punished (or jailed) for such “hate speech?” At what point will Americans realize that no matter how much society and the media may portray an act as simply an “alternative lifestyle,” that by no means makes it acceptable in the eyes of our Creator.

The time has come for faithful Christians to realize this issue is not about compassion or hate speech. The civil rights of all American are the same. The real issue is about a behavior that God found so vile, He destroyed entire cities of people who engaged in it.


Traditional Values Coalition (2004), “Pennsylvania Pastors Seek Liability Insurance Against Hate Speech Prosecution,” [On-line], URL:

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