Does the Bible contain hate?
Making the case that the Bible contains hate literature
What is hate literature?
In the U.S., the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees
almost complete freedom of speech and expression, except in the area of
human sexuality, or when crying "Fire" in a crowded room, or when
advocating the assassination of the President, or in other
special situations. Thus, many American human rights codes do not restrict
hate speech and writing. They do protect against discrimination in hiring, promoting,
firing, accommodation, etc. However, there are always gray areas. For
example, an employer might feel justified in firing an employee who made the
workplace uncomfortable for their fellow workers. An employee might be
terminated for advocating discrimination against a group based on race,
gender or sexual orientation, or country of origin, etc. This happened in
Boise ID when a conservative Christian employee of Hewlett-Packard posted
anti-gay posters in his cubicle. He was fired, and a court found the
dismissal to be acceptable, even though the advocacy involved the simple act
biblical verses on a series of posters.
Other Western countries like Canada, Australia,
New Zealand, the UK, etc. have legislation which actively restricts hate speech. One contemporary example
was triggered by
an anti-gay newspaper advertisement placed by a
conservative Christian in Canada.
In various human rights codes, literature has been defined very
including some or all of the following: newspapers, articles, essays,
journals, books, radio and television programs, notices, signs, symbols,
emblem, and other representations. 1 "Hate literature"
is often defined as including:"
||Material which is promotes the restriction of a person's or group's human rights.
||Material which promotes ridicule or hatred of a person or group.
Hate literature generally targets individuals or groups on the basis of
one or more factors:
||Most factors are beyond a person's control, like race, color, gender,
disability, age, nationality, ancestry, place of origin. |
||One factor, language, is partly chosen. |
||Others are related to a person's situation: their family status, marital
status, and whether they receive public assistance.|
||Some factors are chosen, like creed and religion. |
||There is a lack of consensus on the nature of one factor: sexual
There are many situations where one can advocate the restriction of
a person's or group's human rights and yet not have the text qualify as hate literature.
||Petitioning the government to enact stiffer prison sentences for
convicted abusive pedophiles.
||Advocating the arrest of bigamists or polygamists in those
jurisdictions where multiple marriages are illegal.
||Recommending that elderly drivers undergo additional competency
testing prior to renewal of their driver's license.
Does the Bible contain hate literature:
A mere statement about discrimination against a protected group does not
necessarily constitute hate literature. One can safely write a factual book
about the extermination of witches by the courts and Roman Catholic church in
Western Europe during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. One can discuss the
recent genocide by Serbian Orthodox Christians which
victimized Muslims in
Bosnia-Herzegovina without risk of prosecution, even in those countries which
have hate literature legislation. What is needed to transform a factual account
into hate literature is advocacy that such behavior be repeated today.
There have been efforts to restrict the sale of the Bible on the basis
that it contains hate literature. To our knowledge, none have succeeded.
However, there have been special instances in which courts have determined
that certain verses in the Bible qualify as hate literature. Two recent
||A conservative Christian cited verses from the Bible in a newspaper
advertisement which also showed an anti-gay symbol. The passages that
appear to be anti-gay in most English translations of the Bible,
although not necessarily in the original Hebrew
or Greek. A Canadian court determined that the combination of the
citations and the symbol constituted hate literature.
||An employee quoted the text of anti-gay Bible verses on a poster,
and placing it in their office. He was fired, and an American court
determined that the dismissal was constitutional.
Note that in both cases, the court did not determine that the Bible
verses where in themselves improper. They only decided that under certain
circumstances and locations, the verses were "demeaning and degrading."
There are many acts in the Bible which most people would considered
immoral by contemporary standards if they were
repeated today. These include religiously-motivated genocide, stoning non-virgin
brides to death, burning some hookers alive, treating women as property, etc. If
a person simply regards the Bible as a group of books
written thousands of years ago and recording Jewish and Christian history, there
is little likelihood that it will be declared hate literature. However, many Jews and Christians regard the Hebrew
Scriptures (Old Testament) to be the inerrant Word of God,
written by authors that God has directly inspired, and containing injunctions
which people should use to govern their behavior today. If people cite or quote
passages from the Bible that promote discrimination on the basis of race,
gender, sexual orientation, or nationality, etc., and if they advocate that
this oppression should continue today, then some courts may define their effort
as hate literature. If they do this in the workplace their actions may justify
This essay continues below.
Examples of hate literature in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament):
Code consists of 613 injunctions, which are found in the book of Leviticus and
other books in the Hebrew Scriptures. Some of the Code might be considered hate literature,
because it targets people on the basis of their religion, gender, and sexual
The book of Joshua contains numerous examples of genocides ordered by God
against the inhabitants of Canaan. These were based on the Canaanites having
followed a different religion from the Hebrews. A casual reader of the Bible
might conclude that God is teaching that people who do not worship him
are sub-human and have no right to exist. Five examples from other books in the
King James Version (KJV) of the Hebrew Scriptures include:
||Exodus 22:18: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
This calls for the execution of all "witches." English Bibles differ in
their translation of the Hebrew word
this verse. Some render it as "witch;" others as "sorceress"
or "any woman who does evil magic," etc. The vast majority of
persons who call themselves Witches in North America are followers of
Wicca or other Neopagan religion.
Promoting the execution of Witches, or
the followers of any other religion, is advocating religious genocide -- one of the
most serious forms of hate literature.
||Exodus 22:20: "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto
the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed." The "Lord" in this case
refers to Yahweh. Literally interpreted, this verse would only apply to
those North Americans who follow religions like Santeria -- who often sacrifice
chickens to their Gods and Goddesses -- or to Wiccans -- who have been known to
sacrifice an apple or other fruit in a religious ritual. Interpreted more
generally, the verse calls for the genocide of followers of all religions
other than Judaism and Christianity.
||Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done
what is detestable. they must be put to death; their blood will be on their own
heads." This calls for the execution of men who engage in at least some
form of same-sex behavior. Theologians differ greatly
over specifically which acts are included in this passage. Some English
translations of the Bible imply that any sexually active gay or lesbian
should be executed. Some liberal theologians interpret the verse as
applying only to two men engaging in ritual sex in a Pagan temple. Since
the Lawrence v. Texas ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003,
consensual sexual activity between two male or two female adults is no
longer considered a criminal act anywhere in the U.S. Any literature which
advocates the execution of two
persons for performing a legal act would seem to promote the restriction
of a person's human rights - the right to live. This would appear to qualify as hate
"If there arise among you a prophet, ... saying, Let us go after other
gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them...And that prophet,
or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death...So shalt thou put the
evil away from the midst of thee...." This verse is another call
for genocide against religious minorities. If applied in North
America, it would result in the execution of every non Judeo-Christian
clergyperson, and all laity who are engaged in proselytizing.
Psalms 79:6: "Pour out thy wrath upon
the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not
called upon thy name." This is a call to God to commit genocide
against persons of other faiths who are either unfamiliar with Judaism and
Christianity, or who have learned and rejected these religions.
Examples of hate literature in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament):
||Matthew 27:24-25: "When Pilate saw that he could prevail
nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his
hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this
just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His
blood be on us, and on our children." This passage, probably more than
any other text in the Christian Scriptures fueled anti-Judaism, and later
anti-semitism. Matthew records that a crowd of Jews said a most improbable
statement: that they and their children were responsible for Jesus' death.
This inspired the church father Origen (circa 185-254 CE)
to write: "Therefore the blood of Jesus came not only upon those who
lived formerly but also upon all subsequent generations of Jews..."
The Christian church taught until recently that all Jews -- past, present
and future -- are equally responsible for the death of Christ. 2
||John 8:44: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode
not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a
lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to Jews who, like the majority of the
residents of Palestine, rejected his teachings. He says that they are sons
||1 Corinthians 10:20-21 "But I say, that the things which the
Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would
not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of
the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's
table, and of the table of devils." Here, Paul writes that the Gods
and Goddesses of other religions are actually demons. In modern terms,
they are Satanists. He taught that Christians are to isolate themselves
2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not
unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with
darkness?" Paul is recommending that Christians have minimal contact
with non-Christians. He compares Christians to light and non-Christians to
darkness. This may promote hatred of non-Christians.
2:14-15: "...ye also have suffered like things of your
own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the
Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they
please not God, and are contrary to all men." This passage has been
used to promote anti-Judaism and anti-semitism up to the present time. In
reality, Jesus' death sentence was ordered by Pilate, a Roman official,
and was carried out by soldiers in the Roman Army. Only they had the
authority to crucify slaves and non-slaves who were considered to be
insurrectionists and terrorists by the occupying Roman authorities.
||Revelation 2:9: "I know thy works, and tribulation, and
poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say
they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." Here,
Jesus "claims the name of Jews for himself and his church," and is
condemning other Jews as followers of Satan. 3
"The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code," Government of
Saskatchewan, Canada, at:
http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/ You need software to read these PDF files. It can be obtained free from:
Gerd Ludemann, "The unholy in Holy Scripture: The dark side of the
Bible," Page 98-99. Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Ibid, Page 115.
Stuart Shepard, "Court Upholds Firing over Bible Verses,"
Family News in Focus, 2004-JAN-8, at:
Copyright © 2003 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2003-MAY-20
Latest update: 2004-JUL-04
Author: B.A. Robinson