May31 2010

Playing the Hate Card

I’ve always had a fascination with magicians and illusionists.  When I was a kid, my father would order magic tricks from a mail-order novelty company and I was always anxious to impress the kid next door with my “prowess” as a magician.  Although I never pursued it as a serious career or hobby, I am still impressed when I have the opportunity to watch some skilled magician who does so professionally.  One thing that’s clear is that in order to become  a successful illusionist, one must master the ability to divert people’s attention away from the very thing that they were supposed to be watching.

Diverting people’s attention away from the important thing is something that is certainly not limited to the world of magicians and illusionists.  For example, in debate there is a fallacy  known as a “red herring” where someone introduces something that has little or nothing to do with the subject being discussed, in an attempt to divert the other person’s attention away from the main issue or topic.

Of all of the diversionary tactics that people use these days, there is one in particular that I wish to focus on at this time.  I call it “playing the hate card.”  By that, I’m referring to any situation where someone FALSELY accuses another person of being “hateful” or “spreading hate.”  No doubt, there are times when this accusation is made in a legitimate way.  But more often than not, people who falsely accuse others of hate are using it as a diversionary tactic to draw people’s attention away from the real issue at hand.  Worse yet, it is now being used by many as a bullying tactic intended to intimidate or to silence others from merely stating their view.  If you watch closely, you will notice that people often accuse others of hate for the simple fact that the other person happens to disagree with them.

Of course, there are a number of problems that arise when someone begins to illegitimately accuse others of hate or “hate speech.”  For one thing, they are often being inconsistent from a moral standpoint.  Those who play the “hate card” are oftentimes the very same people who claim to believe that when it comes to matters of right and wrong, each person should be allowed to “decide for himself.”  But clearly they don’t believe that each of us should be allowed to decide whether or not hate is wrong.  They believe that spreading hate is morally wrong for everyone- that it’s absolutely wrong.

Another thing that’s tricky about falsely accusing others of hate is that the knife cuts both ways.  In other words, if someone labels you as “hateful” just because you happen to disagree with their view, then by their own definition of “hate”, it makes them just as hateful since they obviously disagree with your view!  Furthermore, when someone falsely accuses you of hate, they are encouraging others to hate you for something that you’re not even guilty of.

When it comes to this recent redefining of the word “hate”, I think that the most dangerous thing of all is that it is now being used to silence or punish Christians for sharing the Gospel and for speaking out on social issues.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Swedish pastor Ake Green.  A few years ago, pastor Green was arrested and charged with violating one of Sweden’s “hate crimes” laws.  His crime?  During a Sunday morning message, within the privacy of his own church, he made mention of the fact that

God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sexual depravity.  What happened to pastor Green is not an isolated incident and it’s already beginning to happen here in America as well.

The bottom line is that “playing the hate card” is usually nothing more than name-calling, labeling, bullying, and intimidation.  It is often used by those who are unwilling to engage in open, honest discussion on important issues that impact our lives.  It is unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and contributes nothing towards any real social progress- especially when it comes from those who pride themselves on being known as “progressive.”

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  • 7 Responses to “Playing the Hate Card”

    1. Danny says:

      Right on as usual Marty.


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    4. Tony Adamson says:

      Great! But I completely different views personally. But I certainly support your right to believe what you like.

    5. Marty Clapp says:

      Dear Marty,
      My name is Marty Clapp also. I am from Grants Pass,Or. What makes it so interesting there is another Marty Clapp here in Grants Pass besides myself. I agree completely with your Blog. I am a Commuity Chaplian here in the area. I also have a small business as a Coin & Currency Dealer. I am going to bookmark your Blog and start reading it on a daily basis. I appreciate your insight. Drop me an e-mail and we can start a conversion on-iine. Marty

      • marty says:

        It's great to hear from you. I should move up to Grants Pass. With so many "Martys" in the area, they may have to change the name to "Martys Pass". I am really encouraged by your comments and I am glad that Renewed Thoughts has been helpful. I'll try to contact you in the next couple of days!

    • In today's world, there is a great deal of confusion when it comes to matters of truth, meaning, morality, our origin, and our destiny. The purpose of Renewed Thoughts is to bring clarity to such issues by examining them in light of a Biblical worldview, using the tools of science, philosophy, and critical thinking.