". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


U.K. Poll: Bible Viewed as ‘Hate Speech,’ Young Adults Open to Banning It

December 4, 2023

In John 15:18, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” But why? Jesus provides the answer in verse 19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Can this be avoided? According to Jesus, I’d say no. He said, “If they persecuted me,” which they did, “they will also persecute you” (v. 20).

Scripture repeatedly informs us that we will be hated, rejected, and persecuted for our faith, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Following Jesus means to counter all of man’s natural desires, making it both controversial and offensive to the unconverted. And the Bible, authoritative and eternal, does not change with the times. So, as the times evolve further away from adherence to biblical mandates, Christians can only expect pushback to intensify and become more common. The world doesn’t necessarily hate you, but it hates the Truth you proclaim.

A recent poll conducted by Whitestone Insights asked 2,088 U.K. adults if they agreed with this statement: “Unless the offending parts can be edited out, books containing what some perceive as hate speech should be banned from general sale, including if necessary religious texts such as the Bible.” The results showed a substantial amount of Brits agreed with the statement above, with 18 to 34-year-olds making up 23% of those who agreed and 35 to 54-year-olds making up 17%. These statistics reflect what we already see in the U.K.

Street preachers preaching the Bible and pro-life advocates silently praying have been arrested. Päivi Räsänen, former Minister of the Interior, was acquitted of hate speech charges for posting a Bible verse on X. Hate crimes against Christians have increased throughout Europe, and persecution remains widespread in other parts of the world. So, an uptick in the Bible being classified as “hate speech,” to the point of people being open to banning it, only follows suit. But the larger issue are the Christians folding under the pressure of these claims.

Romans 12:2a states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Yet, we see the church conforming to the world to avoid offense. Aaron Renn, a senior fellow at American Reformer, wrote, “Where once there was a culture war between Christianity and secular society, today there is a culture war within evangelicalism itself.”

Renn detailed three “worlds.” First, the “positive world” (1994 and earlier), where Christians were mostly viewed as upstanding citizens, and their moral norms were relatively the same as the norms of society. Next is the “neutral world” (1994-2014), where Christians generally had no positive or negative effect on society at large. And finally, the “negative world” (2014-present), where Christians are not only mostly negative, but serve as a threat to the current norms of secular society.

Most clearly seen among LGBT and abortion activists, modern secular “morality” demands the church needs to change, lest it be “canceled.” While a flimsy threat to the strong in faith, the tidal wave of criticism has, indeed, caused many churches to fall away from Truth and modify their doctrine. I believe it goes without saying that a modified doctrine (such as with same-sex marriage) is no doctrine at all. If anything, it’s self-governance, which is really just chaos.

In comments to The Washington Stand, David Closson, director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council, argued that the results in the U.K. poll are an example of where America is heading. “We live in a world that is increasingly post-Christian, by which I mean a world that increasingly does not take its cues from the Bible,” he said. “I think Europe is further ahead than we are in their post-Christian culture. But I think it’s many of the same trends.”

For Closson, when the U.K. poll referenced “hate speech” in the Bible, it was considering the social norms around LGBT ideology. “What’s interesting, though, is the Bible has always been really offensive to modern sensibilities,” he added. “The Bible, in claiming the exclusivity of Christ, is an exclusionary message.” However, in a Christian world, even where people don’t bow their knee to Jesus, the Bible is viewed as a moral guidebook. Yet the post-Christian world, where we are now, sees the Bible as “hate speech.” Many modern unbelievers (as the poll indicated) see a better world without the Bible in it. The modern church (as seen in progressivism) sees a better world with a modified Bible to suit the times.

But, really, through the eyes of a worldly mindset, the true Bible will always be a threat. Yet even when the world tries to tamper with or ban it altogether, the true biblical message will always prevail.

As Closson emphasized, it’s not worth sugarcoating the reality that, for the faithful, persecution is increasing around the world and in America. “Now is the time to prepare for it,” he said. “Ultimately, we don’t need to defend God’s Word. God’s Word stands on its own. However, the reality is that open access to the Bible is going to only be increasingly constricted and restricted.”

Closson added, “We should acknowledge that things could get really difficult, and England is an example. The fact that people are getting arrested for silently praying, for thought crimes. Yeah, that’s a warning to us.”

But whether it be challenges from outside the church or from within, we are called to stand firm. 1 Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Rather, we are to “rejoice” as we share in Christ’s sufferings. “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (v. 14).

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.