New legislation to deal with hate crimes – including “stirring up hatred” – has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament in a move that is sounding the alarm with Christians and even Free-speech advocates.
The Hate Crime and Public Order would make it a crime to “stir up hatred’ against Scotlands protected classes, which include disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity and gender.
Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, one of its chief proponents and driving forces behind the bill, said :
“By creating robust laws for the justice system, Parliament will send a strong message to victims, perpetrators, communities and to wider society that offenses motivated by prejudice will be treated seriously and will not be tolerated…stirring up of hatred can contribute to a social atmosphere in which discrimination is accepted as normal…our legislation, if passed, would offer greater protection for those who experience this kind of behavior…. “What this does is create a protection for minority groups and vulnerable groups in our society against being targeted for hatred, and being targets for hatred.”
The Scottish Police Federation, which represents nearly 100% of law enforcement officers is completely against the bill, cautioning that the bill “could lead to police officers determining free speech and thereby devastate the legitimacy of the police service” by having to enforce hate-speech laws that are “too vague to be implemented.”
Of chief concern is that the bill makes it a crime that even if you don’t intend to foment hate, the fact that any such actions will “likely” result in “hatred being stirred up” is sufficient cause for arrest.
It is also not just free speech that is under attack but printed materials too, with the communication of inflammatory material (preaching from Leviticus 18) being cause for violation.
Ian Stewart of the group Atheist Scotland recently told U.K.’s The Courier that atheists see “merit” in the proposed Hate Crime and Public Order Bill for Scotland. (Note, there is some disagreement over whether or not this letter to the editor is legitimate or is just trolling, or if it’s even a real person. But the point it makes is prescient, real or not)
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Scotland.