In an ironic and intellectually fraudulent move, Swiss government authorities assured voters that even though free speech is being curtailed it is not actually a curtailment of free speech, which according to the Swiss is an inviolable principle.
In other words, they say that although there is speech which will carry criminal sanctions, this is not a limitation of free speech.
The Bible makes clear that we should watch our words even as we guard our hearts. Under no circumstances should Christians use any expression that would be theologically defined as hateful speech. Today, however, a traditional defence of biblical Christianity can be defined by secularists as hate speech and, as is the case now in Switzerland, as a criminal act.
Switzerland has long represented a certain form of staid, even stuffy, social conservatism. That’s not necessarily because of its strong theological traditions: its conservatism derives from the stability engendered and required by large financial institutions. Geneva has long abandoned the faith of Calvin, Farel, Beza and Knox. Switzerland’s Reformed Church even backed the new law.
As has been experienced elsewhere, the new law will lead to an inevitable stifling of debate and restriction of democratic freedom. At present same-sex marriage is still not recognised in Switzerland, but there is legislation moving through parliament to legalise same-sex unions. What will be the impact of the hate speech legislation when upholders of normal marriage enter into the national debate whilst rejecting same-sex marriage?