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 termination.
The church can engage with people in the most ancient and asked questions: what is life all about and what am I here for? I always say that the message (the gospel) never changes, but the methods by which we deliver them have to change. In a society where loneliness, depression and anxiety are ever-increasing epidemics, where bullying and suicide are regular occurrences in schools and plaguing the lives of young people, where social media is dictating worth and status, my hope is that churches can be an inclusive, welcoming, hopeful and helpful place for all people.
The annual Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest engages high school students in church-state issues by directing them to express a point of view on a religious liberty topic. Essays are judged on the depth of their content, the mastery of the topic, and the skill with which they are written. Students should develop a point of view on the issue and demonstrate critical thinking, using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support their position. The annual contest is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee.