Humboldt County’s “Anti-Hate” Resolution | KNCL 11

Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors joined the rulers whom the Lord holds in derision (Psalm 2) when they condemned as hate speech a warning against a drag show.

Ferndale’s City Council met last night (2/15/23) and public commenters cited the county’s resolution as a weighted reason for why the city should bring a similar resolution to next month’s agenda. I and another from our congregation spoke against it. My words are below. We both prepared for the standard five minute comment time, but the council decided to limit all comments to three minutes. It appears that all the comments were for nought as Councilman Skip Jorgensen had prepared a comment of his own, stating that he wanted the council to consider his anti-hate resolution.

Mr. Mayor and members of the council,

Thank you for your service to our city. May God bless you with wisdom to carry out your vocations.

Last month the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed what they call an anti-hate resolution, similar to what has been pushed on you. It was presented as a condemnation of recent incidents of local hate speech and St. Mark’s warning to our neighbors that the Old Steeple was working to bring a drag show open to children into Ferndale has been repeatedly cited as one of these incidents. In its stated rationale the county’s resolution leaned on the loaded language of tolerance, namely the neo-Marxist vocabulary of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This is a recent example of local elected officials stepping outside of their office to cast a vote to govern the hearts and minds of residents. It is a breach of conduct and un-American given that it is antithetical to the first amendment of our Constitution; and it is authoritarian, though currently—by the grace of God—impotent authoritarianism. That they thought themselves authorized to condemn a Christian church’s freedom of speech during their civic proceedings communicates one of two things. Either they do not understand their own vocational responsibilities, the authority they have been granted, and the limits thereof; or they are willing to rebel against their office and seize power that they have not been given. A third option is that it could be a little of both.         

Regardless, the members of St. Mark Lutheran Church recognize, in accordance with our religious views, that a so-called anti-hate resolution such as this is not in keeping with our Triune God’s Word as it not only promotes sin, specifically—but not limited to—the endorsement of LGBTQ sins, but that it also makes complicit in sin those who give any validity to the resolution.

The Christian conscience is bound by the Word of God alone. For this reason, when sinful dangers—such as drag shows—present themselves, we choose to use our freedom of speech, in accord with our vocations to warn our neighbors, that they might avoid sin. Likewise, as the 2021 city council members know, because of our Christian convictions we choose to use our freedom of speech to offer our neighbors the same healing we have received in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That some call this act of love hate strikes us as odd.

Whether our speech is received with wisdom or scoffing is beyond our control. Likewise, we use our freedom to condemn resolutions that encourage sin. They are vocationally invalid and therefore undeserving of compliance, agreement, or whatever it is our public servants imagine we’re to do with the product of their self-aggrandizement. [My time ran out at the end of this paragraph.]

Our current sign points our neighbors to James 4:17. “[W]hoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” We know the right thing to do and regardless of what the civil authorities say, we will do it. As the apostles teach us, “we must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29). “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to [county supervisors, or city councils] you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19)

St. Mark Lutheran Church will continue to pray for each of you, that you will exercise your civic vocations appropriately and not be led into the trap of setting yourselves against the one true God.

May our crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ, bless you and keep you today and forever,           

Rev. Tyrel Bramwell (2 Cor. 12:10)

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