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“Freedom of speech is the antidote to hate speech laws”

Roxana Stanciu (CARE) analyses hate speech and how can Christians respond to it. “Christians should be ready to be offended and to engage in meaningful conversations”.

FUENTES Forum of Christian Leaders AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus WISLA (POLAND) 09 DE JUNIO DE 2020 09:18 h
Christians should engage in meaningful conversations. / [link]Aaron Blanco Tejedor[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right, but, where is the line between freedom of speech and hate speech?.



Roxana Stanciu, chief operating officer of CARE, a Christian organisation in the UK, explained that ”hate speech has never been considered by any human rights treaty or document”.



However, “EU officials consider hate speech as being any type of speech that can incite hate, but, the question is, how do we define hate?”, she added during and interview at the European Leadership Forum in Wisla, Poland.



According to Stanciu, “hate speech is labelled as such by the hearer, therefore, it is not based on the speech itself, but on the feelings of the hearer, and on his so-called right to not be offended”,



She pointed out that “hate speech laws restrict freedom of speech. Speech cannot be censored because it might have a disturbing impact on the audience”. She underlined that “freedom of speech is the antidote to hate speech laws”.



Christians should be ready to be offended […], to engage in meaningful conversations, and, as Jesus says, to defend those who offend them”, Stanciu concluded.



You can read the full interview below.





[photo_footer] Roxana Stanciu, chief operating officer of CARE. / FOCL [/photo_footer] 


 



Question. What is meant by the term hate speech?



Answer. Hate speech is in fashion these days, and hundreds of hate speech laws exist in Europe. However, there is not a clear definition of what hate speech constitutes.



At the EU level, the definition is rather vague and subjunctive. Governments , tech and IT companies use the term in different ways, in different documents.



Hate speech has never been considered by any human rights treaty or document, nor it has ever be en defined by the international code of human rights or by any other international document or treaty.



Generally speaking however, European officials consider hate speech as being any type of speech that can incite hate, but, the question is, how do we define hate?. We can all agree that it is a very subjunctive concept, it is an emotion.



Then, the next question is: how can we make subjectivity a ground for legality? There is a growing uncertainty of what hate speech actually means. Hate speech laws are loosely drafted and arbitrarily enforced, which make them a powerful tool.



 



Q. Why are hate speech laws problematic?



A. Hate speech laws are problematic for various reasons. First, they are highly based on subjectivity. Hate speech is labelled as such by the hearer, therefore, it is not based on the speech itself, but on the hearer feelings, and on his so-called right to not be offended.



But such a right does not exist, it has never been mentioned in any international human rights document or treaty.



Hate speech laws are also problematic because they restrict freedom of speech. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, clearly states that every person has the right to express their opinions and ideas. Hate speech laws contradict that principle.



Speech cannot be censored because it might have a disturbing impact on the audience. One person hate speech, could be another person passionate belief, so that,where do we draw the line between these two?



We need more speech, not less speech.



 



Q. What are the consequences of hate speech laws for Christians?



A. Christian opinion on marriage, freedom, human dignity, are based on the Bible, but they can easily be considered offensive by certain groups or individuals.



Actually, the gospel itself could be considered offensive, because it can be uncomfortable, disturbing, and it can be seen as discriminating against certain groups. There is not doubt that freedom of speech is under attack for Christians.



 



Q. How should Christians respond to hate speech laws?



A. First of all, Christians should be ready to be offended. Jesus is very clear when He says that we will be hated y everyone because of Him.



It is important for Christians to be ready to engage in meaningful conversations, to have their arguments ready, because they need to be able to exchange opinions and take part in debates.



It is also important to defend those who offend them. Jesus says that we should pray for those who persecute us, we should love them.



Christians should raise awareness on the harmful consequences of the hate speech laws in their countries, create alliances and networks, and work with other on promoting freedom of speech, because freedom of speech is the antidote to hate speech laws.











 




[analysis]



  [title]About Roxana Stanciu[/title]



 [text]Roxana Stanciu is the chief operating officer of CARE, a Christian organisation that works on issues in relation to human dignity, family life, citizenship, and bioethics within the UK. She joined the organisation in October 2018.



Previously, she was the executive director of European Dignity Watch, a Brussels-based organisation focused on informing and educating stakeholders in Europe to make a difference in the public square.



Roxana is originally from Romania and is very passionate about encouraging and equipping Christians to promote their values and be agents for social justice.[/text]



[/analysis]



 

 


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