What is Hate Speech?

“Hate speech” needs to be defined with respect to the Israel Folau saga.

It can be defined as “abusive or threatening speech or writing against a particular group”, but as with many other terms that have been hijacked by LGBT ideology, this is also equated to hating the person or group to whom the speech or writing is addressed – even if not to a specific person or group but simply expressed as a point of view or belief in something.

Best illustrated (still) by the lawyer in the 2002 “two Dannys case” who said in effect “it doesn’t matter that what you said is true – not even when you have quoted from the Koran – it is how you made my client feel.

Hate was not an issue in that instance and is not an issue now with Israel Folau. Nor is abuse, nor personal threat.

A term that would better reflect what the LGBT lobby accuses him of would be “speech that may result in a listener feeling offended or hurt”.

It can be shortened to “speech that may result in hurt” or “speech that may hurt” or even “hurt speech”.

But it cannot be shortened to “offensive speech” or “offending speech” as if the speaker has caused the hurt or offence. No, it is the reaction of the listener that has determined whether the speech has resulted in hurt or offence being felt.

A parent can lovingly say to a child that his behaviour was unacceptable and still love him. A parent may still love their adult male child and yet condemn his destructive actions like self-harm, substance abuse or rape.

Condemnation of behaviour is not the same as hating. Even failure to approve is not the same as hating even though the LGBT lobby would have it be so (what began as “accept me” quickly became “affirm me” and then “celebrate me or else…” Dr Peter Saunders).

Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees was not hate speech – as in Matt 23:1-36. In the subsequent verses 37-39 we read that Jesus then wept over Jerusalem in anguish and sorrow for the sin that the Pharisees represented.

It is distressing for me (a result in me, not the cause, just by the way) to hear some Christians say that Israel Folau did use hate speech, as if it is all his fault. They would have to conclude that the Bible contains lots of hate speech and that Jesus did too.

“Aggression” is another word that is now used as a description of a person who behaves/speaks/writes in a way that may result in a person feeling hurt. For instance, “micro-aggression” can be labelled at you or me if we say “bless you” to someone when they sneeze because that is “pushing” our belief system and is therefore aggressive.

So, criticism number one made by some Christians is that Israel Folau should not have spoken or written as he did, that it was not spoken in love and was not a loving thing to speak. Number two is that he broke his contract. Number three is that he should not be defending himself. Four, that he should not be seeking recompense. Five, that he certainly should not be using other people’s money when others are starving. See other commentaries on this blog.

The situation now has bigger significance in terms of religious freedom, freedom to quote from the Bible, whether such quoting can ever be restricted to a private audience, and the issue of corporate pressure by companies that may be involved in financial support. These issues have been explored by many others.

As Christians we can be united in our prayers that God will be bring glory to His Name in all this. We can also pray that there will be freedom to share God’s word with others, that we will be free to teach our children around the kitchen table, and that we will be able to send our children to schools that uphold Biblical teaching by teachers that share these values. Further, that God will use our weak efforts to uphold the honour of His name and that God will bless Israel Folau and his family and protect them.

About the Author:

Dr Lachlan Dunjey has been a general practitioner for over 50 years. He is married to Liz and has four adult children and ten grandchildren. Lachlan has been active in the ethical and moral issues facing our nation since being President of Baptist Churches of WA in 1989/90. These include the defence of marriage and family, abortion, euthanasia and freedom of speech and belief. Lachlan is the founder of Choose Life Australia, Medicine with Morality, The Belt of Truth, Conscience in Medicine and Doctors for the Family.


  1. Linda sandosham July 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    An excellent piece in these tumultuous times.

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