A Message to the Bigots in Scotland
A new billboard campaign in Scotland is calling out “homophobes” and “transphobes,” focusing in particular on religious “bigots.” In reality, it is the billboard campaign that is fear-based and bigoted.
One billboard reads: “Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why if we see or hear your hate, we’re reporting you. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.”
Another reads: “Dear transphobes, do you think it’s right to harass people in the street? Right to push transgender people around in clubs? Right to humiliate, intimidate and threaten them online? Well we don’t. That’s why if we see you doing harm, we’re reporting you. We believe people should be allowed to be themselves. Except if they’re spreading hate. Yours, Scotland.”
And still another: “Dear homophobes, we have a phobia of your behaviour. If you torment people because of who they love, shout word that we are not going to write, or use violence because you don’t like who someone is holding hands with, you should be worried. If we see or hear your abuse, we’re calling the police. That’s because love lives in this country, not hate. Yours, Scotland.”
Hate Speech: The New (Ambiguous) Priority
On the one hand, we stand with Scotland in denouncing any harassment of those who identify as LGBT. And we condemn any violence against those same people. Categorically, absolutely, and without caveat.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of many in Scotland, simply reading the Bible on a street corner could be considered “harassment.” Quoting Scripture could be deemed verbal “violence.” And even delivering a sermon condemning homosexual practice as sin could be viewed as tormenting someone because of “who they love.”
As the “Word to the Bigots” billboard makes clear, it is “religious hate” that is being targeted and religious “intolerance” that is the culprit. The message is loud and clear. Those who oppose homosexuality or transgenderism do not “have faith in respect and love.”
And note again the language of the “transphobes” billboard: You do not have the right to “do harm” or “spread hate.”
What, exactly, does that mean? And who, precisely, gets to define this? In the words of Police Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, “Police Scotland treats all hate-related crimes and incidents as a priority.”
Perhaps that street preacher’s sermon will be the government’s next “priority”?
A Christian Minister Takes Action
Thankfully, one Christian minister in Scotland, David Robertson, decided to take action.
He began by exposing the hypocritical nature of these posters, writing, “The posters say ‘love lives in this country, not hate’ — whilst encouraging people to hate anyone who dares to disagree with their new State morality. They should say ‘insanity lives in this country’. We are moving towards an Orwellian State where the in the name of love we are taught to hate all who do not agree with the State’s philosophy.”
As a case in point, he cited this remarkable incident: “If you doubt this is happening — take the case of the feminist activist Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull who put up a poster with the following words: “Woman, women, noun, adult human female.” Dr Adrian Harrop complained that it was transphobic and would make trans people feel ‘unsafe’. So the company apologized, the poster was removed and the police are investigating.”
Then, he went one step further. He reported the Scottish Police and the Scottish Government, the organizers of the billboard campaign, for a “Hate Incident”!
“I have just fulfilled my civic duty,” he wrote, “and reported both Police Scotland and the Scottish Government for a ‘Hate Incident’ following this incident described yesterday. The ‘Hate’ Police are Now Here.” (This refers to the previous comments, just cited.)
He explained, “By your own criteria your posters, especially the one on religion is a hate incident. I perceive it as being motivated by hate and prejudice.
“Why? In my day-to-day life I experience a great deal of anti-Christian prejudice, fuelled by ignorance and prejudice. Your poster will just add to that. You imply that it is religious people who are responsible for what you call homophobia and transphobia (although you don’t define what you mean by these terms — is being opposed to SSM ‘homophobia’? Is believing that a woman is a ‘female adult human’ transphobia? By not defining your terms you have of course left room for people to claim your support for anything that they determine is ‘phobic’).”
He then cited examples of hate mail he receives, as well as pointed out many other groups which are mistreated (such as the disabled) without a government campaign to protect them from hate.
Will others in Scotland have their eyes open as well? Or will anti-religious bigotry run rampant in the name of faith in respect and love? (Yes, this really is Orwellian.)
“Away with the bigots!”
On Feb. 23, 155 AD, the Christian leader Polycarp was martyred before a large, jeering crowd.
In those days, Christians were called atheists because they refused to acknowledge Caesar as lord or worship the Roman pantheon. Consequently, Christians were called on to renounce their faith and say, “Away with the atheists!”
As recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the old bishop stood before the crowd, about to be burned alive. He was told: “Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, say: ‘Away with the Atheists!’; but Polycarp, with a stern countenance looked on all the crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and waving his hand at them, he groaned and looked up to heaven and said: “Away with the Atheists!”
In that same spirit I say, “Away with the bigots!” If you talk about faith in respect and love, then you need to practice it.