Hate Crime Statement

In November ‘98 (during its 50th annual meeting in Orlando) the Evangelical Theological Society passed a resolution on homosexual conduct, “hate crime,” and truthfulness in the secular media with respect to reporting on evangelicals. With 1225 in attendance, it was their largest meeting ever. The ETS consists of professors of Bible and theology from a wide variety of evangelical backgrounds, all affirming that “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written, and therefore inerrant in the autographs.”

The primary author of this resolution was Daniel Heimbach (former member of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Bush, and now a professor of ethics at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest). The resolution passed by a voice vote and is as follows:

Whereas the heinous beating death of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual student in Laramie, Wyoming, earlier this year was allegedly motivated by hate, and

Whereas this heinous murder, although already subject to the most severe criminal sanctions, has energized a national movement calling for separate and additional sanctions when existing crimes are motivated by hate, and

Whereas advocates for the social normalization of homosexual behavior have laid the blame for hate crimes on the moral witness of the Church and God’s gracious offer of forgiveness to repentant sinners, and

Whereas some in the national media covering reaction to the heinous death of Matthew Shepard have accepted and perpetuated homosexual attacks on the moral witness of the Church without any factual basis and have thereby failed in the fundamental journalistic responsibility to report truth and not false accusation, and

Whereas violent bodily harm and death by murder are terrible sins worthy of criminalization by human law, but are nevertheless no more sinful and no more worthy of criminal sanction because motivated by hate, than if by lust, greed or cruel indifference, and

Whereas all men and women are created equally in the image of God so that violence suffered by any victim is no less heinous if a perpetrator is motivated by lust, greed, or cruel indifference than if by hate, and

Whereas because “man looks on the outward appearance” and only “God looks on the heart,” the idea of hate crime is about adding civil sanctions for something no human being can accurately or fairly discern in any other, and

Whereas accepting the idea of hate crime invites persecution of any moral belief of the Church that is at odds with the desires of sinful human nature,

Be it, therefore, resolved by the members of the Evangelical Theological Society attending the 50th annual meeting held at Orlando, Florida, that we abhor the terrible sin of doing intentional physical harm to another human being for no reason other than hate, and

Be it further resolved that we equally abhor using the rhetoric of hate to prejudice the power of civil government against the open and complete proclamation of moral standards revealed in God’s Holy Word-including both God’s love for sinners as well as his judgment of sin, and

Be it further resolved that we affirm that Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual conduct is always an abomination in the sight of God for all human beings, both men and women, in all circumstances, without exception, (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9), and

Be it further resolved that we affirm as biblical and do ourselves agree with the position that Christian moral opposition to homosexual behavior is not and can never be license for anyone to engage in any form of slander, harassment or violence against one with whom we disagree, and

Be it further resolved that we oppose any attempt by civil authority to judge the hearts of men and women for any purpose, much less for the purpose of creating a legal fiction that can only ensure unequal treatment for equally heinous criminal actions, and

Be it finally resolved that we call on the national media to refrain from and repudiate unsubstantiated, untruthful, and hateful accusations against evangelical Christians and to report truthfully concerning the Church’s true message of the good news that God offers forgiveness for sins through faith in Jesus Christ.