Anti-Gay Doctor, Fired from Medical Journal, Uses Final Article to Promote God

Yes. This etymological discussion is interesting at all. But I doubt it matters to the victims of homophobia whether one gives a different name to the hatred motivating the harm they suffer.


The argument about semantics is important, because a word is being used loosely in order to achieve political ends. I’m not talking about the case of the doctor in the medical journal. I’ve already made it clear that I’m talking about the broader situation. The word “homophobic” is being used in a way that could, in countries that have “hate speech” laws (laws which Jonathan Burke recommends, but which Faizal Ali and I think are a bad idea), potentially land Christians, Jews, and others in jail for saying in public what their faith tells them is true. If “homophobic” means only what it literally says according to its roots, i.e., that someone is afraid of homosexuals, or even (by stretching) that someone personally hates homosexuals, then no one could be put in jail for expressing homophobia. But if the term “homophobic” is read by judges and juries to automatically include preaching violence against homosexuals, or advocating taking away their civil rights, then someone (under hate speech laws) could indeed be put in jail for being “homophobic.” So the use of words does matter. Charges of “homophobia” should not be thrown around casually. The term has, almost since its inception, been fuzzy, a moving target in its meaning, and its use in a courtroom situation could result in unjust consequences for some people.

What you mean by “victims of homophobia” is “victims of illegal violence coming from people who hate homosexuals so much they would break the law in order to harm them.” And I agree that this sort of action should be severely punished. I have made it clear from the beginning that the law has the right to punish people for actions against other people. But if a clergyman posts a comment on a website saying that according to the Bible, homosexual relations are sinful (without ever calling for violence against homosexuals themselves), he is certainly going to be called “homophobic” by a large number of journalists, academics, lobbyists, etc., and he shouldn’t ever have to go to jail, or face legal prosecution, for stating what he believes. Yet, in countries which have instituted hate speech laws, such a clergyman would be in serious danger of facing jail time. So the word “homophobic,” given the rhetorical climate in which it is often uttered, is potentially threatening to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.

Contra Jonathan Burke, America is wise not to institute “hate speech” laws, because once introduced, they will certainly invite attempts by many to suppress speech they don’t like through the use of the courts, even where that speech does not involve recommending violence; it will be enough that the speech indicates “hate.” It will potentially be illegal to hate anyone, or at least, to ever say that one hates anyone. That’s an extremely dangerous road to travel on, for someone committed to the traditional understanding of American liberties.

I think I’ve now made my position clear. I condemn physical violence against homosexuals, and I oppose actions that would deny homosexuals jobs, housing, etc. But the state should not try to control what people think or say about homosexuality (as long as speech about it does not incite to violence or to suppression of civil rights). The word “homophobia”, combined with the existence of “hate speech” laws, is for citizens of traditional religious and moral views a ticking time bomb, and that’s why the “loaded” nature of the word needs to be in the minds of anyone contemplating the adoption of “hate speech” laws. And “homophobia” isn’t the only word which poses dangers in this regard. The policing of thought and expression is very, very dangerous to the kind of freedoms that
Americans haven taken for granted.

I don’t want to spend any more time on this.

That is a red herring. The specific word for the the hatred and disparagement of homosexual people has little bearing on how that hatred and disparagement is handled in a society.

Where hate speech laws exist, their application is determined by the content of what a person says, not by the specific label given to that speech.

He should be called homophobic, because he is

He should not be jailed just for expressing his religious beliefs.


I’m not convinced that’s true. He’s stating his understanding of what the Bible says, and I’d even agree with him that that’s what it says. Does that make me a homophobe too? I don’t agree with what it says(I don’t consider homosexuality sinful), but that does appear to be what it says.

Surely it is possible to have an understanding of what some document says, and what the document says could be homophobic, but you understanding the document to say something homophobic doesn’t make you a homophobe? It seems to me you’d have to agree with the homophobic document to be one yourself, not merely to interpret it’s meaning.

That’d be like saying I’m an anti-semite for interpreting Mein Kampf to be an anti-semitic book.

For a pastor, it is in his (implicit?) agreement with the Bible that he could be accused of being a homophobe. But even then I suppose it’s possible to be convinced the Bible really does say that homosexuality is sinful, and believe in the Bible and abide by your interpretation of God’s “moral laws” or whatever(perhaps out of fear?), without technically agreeing with them.

Did you not get the memo? The name of this forum has been changed to Aggressive Etymology.


You’re not homophobe, because you don’t agree with what it says.

Much as I doubt it, maybe it is possible for someone to endorse the type of views he does without being a homophobe. But when he uses the “S” word, that removes all doubt.

Their application is governed by the subjective personal reaction of the judge, jury, or panel that is making the decision. They get to decide what constitutes “hate speech.” The only way of stopping such personal subjectivity from generating injustices is to frame the hate speech definition very precisely, so that mere expression of dislike of something does not count as hate speech. I believe you live in Canada. Did you read about the Western Canadian publisher who was ordered to appear before a tribunal for his magazine’s reprinting of the controversial Danish cartoons? No publisher in a free country should have to answer to a tribunal for something like that. But there is no point in us discussing this further, since you and I agree that hate speech laws are a bad idea.

That’s fine, but note that you are using the word in the “soft sense”, to describe an attitude. You are not claiming that the clergyman is persecuting anyone. You are sensible enough to see that the attitude, however deplorable it may be to some people, is not something that someone should face criminal charges for. But the word is often used in a harder sense, conveying the idea that homophobia is more than an attitude, but a program of action. And programs of action can be dealt with by the law. It’s the slipperiness between “he doesn’t like homosexuals” and “he is persecuting homosexuals” that makes the term tricky in the context of hate speech laws. That’s why the definition is important.

If everyone were willing to say, “Yeah, the guy is homophobic, but in a free society, he has the right to be,” there wouldn’t be an issue.

Yes. The worse part of that case was I had to defend (in arguments and discussions with others) the accused, Ezra Levant, a person I despise with every fibre of my being.

I have no hesitation in saying he should not have faced any legal consequences for printing those cartoons. I also have no hesitation in calling him an Islamophobe.

Are you aware that in Canada there is a blanket exemption for hate speech if “an opinion or argument was expressed in good faith and either concerned a religious subject or was based on a belief in a religious text”?

I saw some video material with Levant speaking, and I agree with you that Levant is not an attractive person. The only thing I admire about him is his courage to defy a law which he thought dangerous to democracy.

Assuming that by the term you mean “someone who hates Islam” (even though the word should mean “someone who fears Islam”), I don’t know whether he is an Islamophobe or not. He might be. And I don’t think a blanket hatred of Islam or Muslims is a good thing. One might hate some of the tactics of certain militant jihadists who kill people, but one does not need to hate all Muslims or Islam in general because of those few. I don’t think hatred of groups, as opposed to certain odious individuals, is a good thing to indulge in. But anyhow, we agree on the legal matter.

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Here’s another guy saying stuff about the gays on his personal time. Just some harmless freedom of expression, right? Shouldn’t affect his ability to do his job.


FFRF has called for probe of TN sheriff. @greg Do you know this guy? Do you support him?

“Fritts has a First Amendment right to exercise and preach his religion. He remains free to spout all manner of bigotry and hate,” Seidel writes. “However, he is absolutely prohibited from using a government office — a government job, uniform, badge, weapon, or power — to promote or carry out these evil, immoral religious beliefs. Given the content of his sermon, and the viciousness with which he preached it, we are deeply concerned that he has or will use his office to attack LGBTQ citizens.”

Finally, FFRF warns its letter serves as an official notice to the Sheriff’s Department of its increased legal liability should violence against LBGTQ people occur in the county.


I guess… though purgatory and limbo in the Catholic context is not just for babies. It’s for everyone as far as I understand.

I literally just read about this sheriff/ pastor. God says thru His prophets that sex is only warranted between husband and wife. And this pastor, if his words were really his, needs to be stripped of both his pastor and sheriff position. I will be upset if the state of TN justifies this ungodly, unbiblical and unamerican behavior and attitude.


No, the claim is yours so the onus is on you. In this case your claim is that the coinage of the term “homophobia” was by those who are “philologically incompetent – or motivated by some social or political agenda which is willing to do violence to root meanings and/or meanings of standard word-formations in order to carry out that agenda”.

So what? This anecdotal evidence is meaningless, and irrelevant to your claim.

No that is not what I mean. If you think that’s the case then present evidence for your claim. The fact that the word is not only in standard English dictionaries, but also in a wide range of mainstream media, publications, and informal public discourse (especially online), shows that it is indeed used by the “man on the street”. Have you ever bothered to search for the word in a standard English corpus? It doesn’t look like it. You’re just making claims without evidence.


You don’t seem to understand what you’re reading. The English word “phobia” can refer to fear or aversion. He is saying that in this case the “phobia” appears as antagonism (aversion).

More unsubstantiated claims.

Again you are avoiding the point I made. The point I made is that the “homo” in “homophobia” does not come from Greek or Latin. It it literally a contraction of the English word “homosexual”. The fact that the prefix “homo” in the word word “homosexual” derives from a Greek word, does not change this fact.

No I did not. I said that in the word “homophobia”, the prefix “homo” is not a Greek root. Everything I said on this was also said by Roy here and here; you didn’t address what he wrote either.

Correct, a word does not have to contain a complete pathway to the meaning. It doesn’t have to have the same meaning as all its roots either, direct or indirect. That’s how language works. Consequently, there is nothing at all irrational about the English suffix “-phobia” meaning fear or aversion, even though aversion was not part of the semantic range of the Greek root.

The “phobia” in “homophobia” is accurate, because the English sufffix “phobia” can refer to fear or dislike. That’s why the word “homophobia” is rightly used to refer to intense aversion.

Low brow sexual humor on a Christian forum. I guess you think that’s classy. On the basis of your contributions in this thread I’m going to upgrade you from 'fundamentalist" to “right wing fundamentalist”.

Evidence please. There is clear philological rationale for its current usage. Where are all the professional philologists decrying the use of the word? Why is it that they aren’t raising the objections you’re raising?

This is more gibberish.

Yeah just like it’s “standard Christian doctrine” for witches to be burned or otherwise executed, and it’s “standard Christian doctrine” for illness to be attributed to demons.

I don’t see you addressing this subject coherently. There are passages which appear to say “all” will be raised, but there are also passages which say “many” will be raised. Although “all” doesn’t always mean “all”, “many” never means “all”.

Well according to you everyone will be raised, and according to you everyone is guilty of sin, so the logical conclusion of your belief is that babies will be raised and punished for their sins.

This and the word salad which followed didn’t address in any way the statement from Christ which I quoted. He said that if they had been “blind” they would not have been guilty of sin. Period. This contradicts your claim that everyone is responsible, whether they’re “blind” or not.

Well you’re the one calling for legal protection for guys like this. You’re the one insisting that white supremacists and other bigots should have a legally protected right to hate speech. So I am not sure what your problem is with this guy. He’s just exercising the freedom you want him to have.

Evidence please. It seems more likely that your objection to the term is grounded less in philological concerns and more in your concern that society has moved on from the 1950s, and awkward events such as the Civil Rights movement have replaced some “traditional values” with values you find less compatible with your beliefs.

Do you have any evidence for your fearmongering concerns?

This is the same kind of arguments that gun fanatics make against gun control. However you have failed to provide any evidence for your claims. Where is the evidence that the countries with strong anti-hate speech legislation have fallen into the tyranny you describe? There isn’t any, just like there isn’t any evidence that countries with strong gun control measures have fallen into an anarchy of criminals dominating society with illegal firearms.

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And by the same logic, people who claim not to be “blind” are responsible for their sin. Which would include everyone other than those who confess that they are spiritually blind.
Jesus’ words unambiguous. You are misinterpreting it.

Yes, “phobia” can mean “aversion”, but “aversion” is not necessarily “hatred”, and “hatred” does not necessarily entail “persecution” or even “advocacy of persecution.” I have clearly set my remarks in the context of the reality or possibility of hate speech laws; terminology must not be used so loosely and vaguely as to allow prosecutors to blur these different things together.

Do I have anything against a psychiatrist using “homophobia” to mean that one of his patients has an aversion to homosexuality? Of course not. Do I have something against hauling up someone who calls homosexuality a sin or disorder before a tribunal or judge, because a group of journalists and homosexual activists have screamed that his opinions are “homophobic”? You betcha!

As someone who denies the Trinity, I am sure you would not like someone to make a transition from “Trinity-denier” to “God-denier,” and then say that you should be burnt at the stake for denying God because you deny the Trinity. You would want people to be very careful in their use of terminology regarding the divine, and not to deprive you of life or liberty on the basis of an unwarranted equation of “God” with “Trinitarian understanding of God.” But in an era when there were blasphemy laws, it is very likely that there would be a large number of zealous prosecutors who did not see the difference – or preferred not to acknowledge the difference – between denying the Trinity and being an atheist.

We live in an era when anyone can blaspheme against God all they like, but where “blasphemy” against current sacred truths (politically correct beliefs) is not tolerated. They don’t burn you at the stake for offending against political correctness, but they can get you in other ways. (Deny you interviews or jobs at universities, for example, which I have observed many times.) “Hate speech” laws just give another tool to the orthodox zealots of the day to punish people whose views they disagree with.

As for your examples of cultures in which hate speech has got out of control and led to evil things (which no one doubts), they unfortunately don’t prove what you want them to prove. Do you think that if hate speech laws had been in place in the Southern States after the Civil War, the KKK would never have come into existence and would never have done any of the things it did? On the contrary, in a culture like that, hate speech laws would be completely ignored. The KKK would just have been a little more careful about keeping their hoods on, and making sure all their hate messages could not be traced to any individual. There were just too darned many of them, and they were too influential, to be restrained by any law. And in many Muslim-majority countries today, it is the case that on paper there are laws protecting the rights of Christians and other religious minorities, but those laws are ineffective because mobs vastly outnumbering police and armed forces can burn down churches, synagogues, etc. with impunity. Thus, it’s precisely where “hate speech” laws are the most needed that they are least likely to be effective; and in the more civilized countries, where citizens are more accustomed to obeying laws, they are more likely to restrain their speech, but this can have a chilling effect on the expression of unpopular opinions on hot-button topics, since everyone will self-censor for fear of stepping over some invisible line and finding himself before a tribunal.

Of course, there is no point explaining any of this to you, because you never take any of my words at face value, but filter all of them through your grid, which tells you that Eddie is a right-wing fundamentalist and that everything he writes is a codeword for right-wing fundamentalism. Even my blunt and open criticism of Greg and Byers here will not convince you otherwise. You are blinded by a prior prejudice. Well, believe what you will.

This does not make any sense and has nothing to do with what I wrote. Again, Jesus said that if they had been “blind” they would not have been guilty of sin. This contradicts your claim that everyone is responsible, whether they’re “blind” or not.