Rubio Jumps on the Faux Persecution Train

Rubio Jumps on the Faux Persecution Train May 27, 2015

Marco Rubio did the obligatory interview with the 700 Club that all Republican presidential candidates must do and threw the usual red meat out about how gay marriage is going to lead to Christians being turned into criminals under those hate speech laws that don’t actually exist.

In a new interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network featured on Tuesday’s episode of The 700 Club, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned that the momentum of marriage equality and other LGBT equality advances pose a threat to religious freedom. Specifically, he worried about the impact of categorizing opposition to LGBT equality as “hate speech.”

“We are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” he explained, “because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage, you are labeled a homophobe and a hater. So what’s the next step after that, after they’re done going after individuals? The next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. That’s a real and present danger.”

No, it isn’t. It’s barely an imaginary danger. Repeat after me: Hate speech does not exist as a legal matter in this country. People are free to label anything they want to be hate speech, but legally there simply is no such thing. There is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, nor is it even remotely likely that there ever will be. Anti-bigots can be called haters by their opponents and they certainly are and will continue to be, but where is the causal link to making that illegal? We don’t even make racism illegal to express in this country (nor should we).

This is just demagoguery and fear-mongering. That’s how you keep people perpetually alarmed and clamoring for your protection, to borrow a phrase from Mencken, whether that means keeping the money flowing in or convincing people to vote for you.

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