Hate Speech = Free Speech!
On June 19, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld an individual’s First Amendment right to express a viewpoint, as outlined in the Free Speech Clause, even if it is allegedly offensive. The context of the ruling was the denial of an application for federal registration of a mark by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
An Asian-American music group requested protection for the band-name “The Slants,” and the USPTO rejected the application under the Lanham Act that (unconstitutionally) prohibits trademarks that “disparage . . . bring into contempt, or disrepute” other “persons, living or dead, institutions, [or] beliefs.”
Two main opinions were issued by Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy. In Justice Alito’s opinion, he rightly points out, “Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’ United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, 655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting).”
Open Doors & Wise Judgment
This is good news for anyone who wants to share the Gospel, which at its core is patently offensive. “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16, KJV).
While Christians have become accustomed to being called “hateful” for proclaiming biblical truths, here is an expanded opportunity to winsomely engage our opponents in the public square. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6, KJV).
Your investment in prayer, financial gifts, and public discourse all yield important outcomes. “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12, KJV). Thank you for your ongoing support of the NCLL—we have much to celebrate together, even in difficult times!
Please join us in praying through the following concerns this month so that we may not fear but rather trust in God together.
Thank you again for your prayerful partnership in defending life and liberty!