Let’s Take Back the Word ‘Hate’ From the Left
“Hate.” Is there any word the left loves more than that? Any word they’ve armed and weaponized against us so effectively? Well, it’s time we took it back and put it to proper use instead.
They use it because it has power, even when it’s not true — which, in their case, is nearly every time they say it. We all know how they’ve manipulated rhetoric so that we “hate” them whenever we disagree with them, but they don’t hate us when they disagree with us. Convenient how that works for them, isn’t it? Rhetorically effective, too. It gets them what they want, so why would they care if it isn’t true?
The Left’s Hatred for the Right
There really is hate in the world, though. Consider what Joseph D’Hippolito wrote not long ago here at The Stream. Among likely Democrat voters, “48 percent … endorsed imposing fines or imprisoning anybody who questions whether COVID-19 vaccines work.”
I get that they think the vaccines are a total, unmitigated success, but I sure have trouble with them saying we can’t question that opinion. And I absolutely cannot believe half of them would want to fine us or toss us in jail for it! What rational thinking could explain such extremism? Vaccines are supposed to be a matter of science, and science is supposed to support free and open inquiry. But no: “Lock ’em up!” That’s hatred, not rationality.
Then there was the Michigan high school student allegedly suspended for talking about his Christian beliefs with other likeminded students. Oh, and for saying what he believes on social media. And for not “self-reporting” that he’d done so — apparently he should have told on himself. Do we not have free speech in this land? Freedom of religion? Freedom from self-incrimination?
This isn’t just a constitutional issue. If the allegations are true, we’ve got high school administrators going crazy over students having normal conversations about important beliefs they hold. What’s so wrong about that? Nothing. But someone hates it anyway.
We Need to Start Taking Words Back From Them
Words like “insane” and “outrageous,” though accurate, begin to lose power in times like these. We’re running out of words to describe the world we live in, partly because the left has co-opted so many of them for their own purposes.
I say we start taking those words back, beginning with their weapon of choice, the word “hate.”
They do love that word. They tell us we “hate gays” because we disagreed with their policy proposals. We “hate women” when we disagree with so-called “choice.” We “hate trans people” when we point out the hopelessness of their attempts to rewrite reality, the unhealthiness of their “medical” interventions, and the rudeness of their insistence that we accept their reality as if it were everyone’s reality.
I could go on. Be it race, the poor, the homeless, we can never disagree with them except by hating them. It never occurs to them that we might disagree for more ordinary reasons, that we think they’ve got their facts and reasoning wrong. It has to our animus against them instead.
We’re Too Delicate With It
And the world has bought it. The media repeat it. It’s worked great for their propaganda. As far as language and meaning go, though, it’s upside-down, backwards, wrong, and it always has been. So we should have been much quicker to call them what they are: hateful.
Yes, I know how hard that is. They may like the word, but for us it sticks on the tongue. We don’t want to be harsh, we don’t want to judge, we don’t even want to think about hate, much less point it out in someone else.
You don’t see that sort of delicate niceness in the Bible, though. Beginning to end, it calls evil what it is. And none of the biblical authors ever made the mistake of thinking that Jesus’ command, “Judge not,” meant we should only think nice thoughts about everyone at all times. That’s not biblical, that’s Thumper Theology. “If you can’t say something nice,” said the bunny, “don’t say anything at all.” That might work in Disney cartoon worlds starting innocent, lovely little fawns, but our world isn’t like that. Neither is our Bible. Read the Psalms if you want to see it. Read almost anything in the Bible. Just take off your Bambi glasses first.
Why Are We So Slow to Call It What It Is?
Why do they hate us, you ask? I’m not going there. It would throw me off topic. I’m less concerned right now with why they hate us than with why we can’t recognize their hatefulness for what it is. Why can’t we bring ourselves to see it?
Maybe it’s because we’re worried what it would do to us. Let me predict some of the objections that might arise:
We don’t to get in a name-calling war. That’s for sure. I’m not calling for any silly tit-for-tat games here. They can throw the word at us as a rhetorical device, a weapon, but we sure ought not pick it up off the ground and throw it back at them the same way. Truth takes precedence over strategy. If it’s true that they hate us, let’s at least recognize it for what it is.
Calling it hate will divide us from them. Too late. We’re already divided, and hiding from the truth hasn’t brought us together, has it? Let’s try facing it square in the face, and see what that might do for us instead.
If we call it hate, they’ll hate us all the more, and they’ll use our own word against us. I’d file that under, “So, what else is new?”
Admitting they hate us will put us in a defensive posture. We should be strong instead. It is no weakness to face reality as it is. Speaking specifically to Christians now, our strength doesn’t come from pretending things are just fine, it comes from God Himself. He told us to expect it, didn’t He?
How Can We Love Enemies Who Hate Us? (Is There Any Other Kind?)
If we call it hate, we’re liable to want to strike back in hate. We might make that mistake, yes, depending on whose example we follow. If we play it like they do we’ll get it wrong every time. What if we try Jesus’ response instead? No one was ever more realistic than He. He knew there was such a thing as hate, and such a thing as enemies. How can we follow His command to love our enemies, if we go on saying there is no such thing?
But that’s hard. I don’t think we know how to love our enemies. Right. It’s very hard. So hadn’t we better work on it? Realistically, I mean? I suggest we read the lives of persecuted believers, and see how they’ve handled hatred. Or follow John Zmirak’s studies of Christians taking a stand against tyranny. Obviously we’ll want to search the Scriptures on it.
Humility and Peacefulness
Isn’t this rather self-righteous? What makes us think we’re better than they are? This is a challenge, no doubt, but it’s not unique to the question we’re discussing here. A Christian could be self-righteous while saying, “I’m not going to call it hate; I’m better than that!” Humility doesn’t consist in refusing to see sin where it exists, but in recognizing it’s in us as well, apart from the work of Christ. Humility can also acknowledge that Christ has changed us for the better, as long as we give credit to Him for it.
Doesn’t Paul teach us to be at peace with all men? This doesn’t sound peaceful. The full quotation, from Romans 12:18, also includes the words, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you.” If they hate us, it’s out of our control already. We cannot live peaceably with them except through a bumper-sticker “coexist” sort of mutual avoidance.
If I thought evading issues would solve them, I’d see it differently, but I believe part of the reason they keep hating us is because we keep brushing facts aside. We stand a far better chance of solving problems we identify than those we pretend don’t exist.
So how do we solve this hate problem, then? Here’s where I say I’m out of space here. I know I’m punting, but I’m okay with admitting it. My purpose in this column has been more simple, basic, and foundational than that. It’s not about strategy, technique, or any other such thing. It’s about truth. If it’s true that they hate us, then we’re better off recognizing it as true.
From there on the rest is difficult. It will require serious soul-searching and real faith in God our guide, example, and King. I like “difficult” better than “impossible,” though. If we deny reality we cannot possibly deal rightly with reality. Call it what it is, turn to God for His supernatural wisdom, guidance, and strength, and He just might make the difficult seem do-able after all.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.