I have been a tongue-talker for forty-one years. (Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit that enables a person to speak in languages he/she doesn’t know. It is a powerful spiritual experience that fills a person with intimate awareness of the living God and it means so much to me.)
However, many times I have been criticized for speaking in tongues (even though it’s not something I tend to do in public). I have been told that it is wrong to do it and even that it is “of the devil.” My being a tongue-talker has even brought me trouble at work and played a role in my losing a job. People’s reactions against my private behavior have frequently made me feel like I need to stay in the closet and not let people know about it, which I have for the most part.
So, am I a victim of discrimination and hate speech for being a tongue-talker? I don’t see it that way.
People have a right to disagree with me. They have a right to disapprove of my behavior. I would have to be very insecure to protest and organize and demand that the government and the general public approve of my practice.
For me to accuse people who disagree with me of being mean, hateful, or phobic, would itself be cruel. People are not attacking me. They are expressing their freedom of speech to disagree with my lifestyle. Besides, they just don’t understand.
Even though two restaurants, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A (and its owner Truett Cathy), disagree on their views of marriage, why should either side be called hateful or phobic? America and the Western world need to wake up and realize that honest disagreement about behaviors is not hate! Disapproval is not discrimination!