Letters to the Editor

Don't confuse hate speech with free speech

“Freedom is slavery.” George Orwell meant that slogan in “1984” to be a warning, not a guide to building a society. However, when right-wing Christians like the University of Iowa group Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC) insist they have a “right” to practice invidious discrimination against LGBTQ citizens, they promote a definition of “freedom” based on their desire to denigrate and deny equality to gays, lesbians, and transgender people.

BLinC leaders denied themselves the opportunity to see if a gay man could be an effective leader, based only on their narrow, sectarian reading of the Bible. They defend their politically indefensible act by wrapping themselves in the mantle of being “Christian.” However, a majority of Americans, including Christians, support LGBTQ civil rights, which also are protected by Iowa law. BLinC leaders, and the rank-and-file who take their direction, are not preparing themselves for a world where most of us celebrate and support our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

“Hate speech” is not “free speech.” Practicing invidious discrimination is not “religious freedom.” Both acts are abusive, oppressive and destructive. My only hope for the students of BLinC is a personal one: that they have the capability to grow and become better people by working side-by-side with LGBTQ people, Muslims, atheists, or any other humans they have been trained to dislike by their flawed, divisive, dehumanizing politics.

Jeff Klinzman

Coralville

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