Does Free Speech Include Reciting Hate-Filled Bible Passages? August 18, 2009

Does Free Speech Include Reciting Hate-Filled Bible Passages?

If you stood out on a street corner and started saying that gay people should be killed or made racially-charged remarks about slavery, it would be considered hate speech and you could be arrested.

In the UK, however, Miguel Hayworth and father John Hayworth are facing arrest for doing just that… but they say they are being treated unfairly. All they were doing is preaching what the Bible says.

I don’t know if they were preaching the following verses, but no doubt they serve as examples of some awful passages:

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:13

If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

Exodus 21:20-21

Christians can make an argument that these passages need to be read in context to be properly understood and that these words say nothing about what God supports or condemns, but it’s a hard sell since Christians habitually take verses out of context to suit their own needs.

Chief Inspector Chris Hill, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Police were called to St Ann’s Square in Manchester city centre following complaints from members of the public who considered the comments being made by two street preachers as racist and homophobic.

“When spoken to, the men said they were quoting from the Bible. The officers confirmed they were entitled to preach on the street, but advised them offensive behaviour is not acceptable.

They haven’t been arrested. Yet.

But if the Hayworths were reading passages such as these, it shouldn’t even matter that they were coming from the Bible. Hate speech is hate speech. Violence against any group of people ought to be condemned. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading from the Bible or any other book with graphic depictions of violence against certain groups.

This is not a violation of free speech. Even that has its limitations.

I wonder if the cops would’ve arrested the Hayworths if they screamed “fire” in a crowded theater because the Bible told them to.

Where do you draw the line?

(Thanks to hoverfrog for the link!)


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  • andrew

    If reading passages from the Bible (or any other book) in public that have hateful content should be illegal, should publishing them be illegal?

    While I disagree whole heartedly with the message itself, I don’t think it is productive to try to shut these people up. Just as creationist censorship on youtube only serves to backfire and prompt a proliferation of the censored material, trying to silence the wackos, I suspect, will only enrage their ilk.

    I think a better response is to point and laugh at these people and their ridiculous beliefs. Indeed, they are the best parody of themselves.

    My bottom line is that as long as they aren’t threatening anyone, let their lunacy speak for itself.

  • andrew

    I would further argue that reading/quoting alone shouldn’t constitute a hate crime. However, if they began to preach hate, I would consider that to be a hate crime.

  • I’m sorry, but I completely disagree. Opinions should never be silenced, regardless of how hateful they may be. Nobody has the right to not be offended, but everybody has the right to speak their mind.

  • Valdyr

    In the US, at least, speech is only illegal if it’s a direct incitement to violence, as far as I know. IANAL, but I’m pretty sure “Homosexuality is an abomination” is allowed, while standing on a street corner passing out pamphlets encouraging people to murder all the “queers” they can find, would be illegal.

    Of course, loudly haranguing people on the street with any message might get you a “disorderly conduct” charge (which can be applied to basically anything).

  • JulietEcho

    It depends on the exact circumstances and verses, but I would err on the side of free speech unless they were clearly trying to incite violence.

    I do think, however, that there’s a gray area where someone isn’t exactly yelling “fire” in a crowded building, but they’re clearly setting up a scenario in which someone is endangered, through their speech. Back when George Tiller was murdered, I felt that some of the tactics certain pro-life factions/individuals used were very close to that line.

    Reiterating over and over that abortion is murder, calling Tiller “Doctor Death” and posting his photo, and making it painstakingly clear that no one in law enforcement was going to stop Tiller from “murdering” over and over again, they (purposefully or not) essentially followed a recipe to get Tiller killed by fanatics.

    I still think that all those individual elements of free speech were acceptable and legal. And I’m not sure if I think that anything should have been done about the combination, but I do think that while we protect free speech, we should be taking careful note of it.

  • Matthew 6:5-6:

    When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

    Translated to Bubba: Put it in the closet..

    You want bonus points?

    Mt 6:1-3 (just prior). Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

  • Neon Genesis

    Does anyone know what it is they were actually saying? The article never makes it clear and it’s hard to tell if they were enticing people to violence without the quotes of what they actually said. The fundies arrested claim they were just quoting from the bible but the article also said they were making additional comments which seems to imply something else was also going on. So, I was wondering if anyone knew what their actual words were before we jump to conclusions on either side, speaking as a gay atheist here.

  • littlejohn

    I believe you’re mistaken, Hemant, at least if you’re taking about the United States. Hate crimes are real (depending on which state you live in) but hate speech is protected by the First Amendment.

    Threats of violence are not protected, of course.

  • Revyloution

    Limiting free speech is always a slippery slope argument. Saying that preaching the literal bible is hate speech could easily be turned around to say that teaching evolution is hate speech against those who believe in creation.

    I say if its not libel, or words that can cause physical harm (yelling fire), then all speech should be allowed. The best way to deal with loons like these guys is to go laugh at them. Once you ban them, they become martyrs.

  • David D.G.

    littlejohn said:

    I believe you’re mistaken, Hemant, at least if you’re taking about the United States. Hate crimes are real (depending on which state you live in) but hate speech is protected by the First Amendment.

    Threats of violence are not protected, of course.

    IANAL, but I believe that incitement to violence also is not protected, and the first example verse (directing that gays should be killed) is essentially an incitement to violence. The fact that such an incitement to violence comes from the Bible should not make it protected when someone clearly is employing it as such.

    ~David D.G.

  • It is hard for me to be okay with any opportunity people take to quote verses from the Bible out of context to make them say whatever they want them to say. I do not agree that it should be outlawed, but it is reprehensible!

  • I think there’s a line between saying that you don’t like someone, one one hand, and asking that violence or death be directed to them on the other.

    I have no problems with someone saying “I don’t like such and such”, but to say “so and so should be killed or hurt” is a no no.

    But even then, if someone is out to kill you, is it wrong to ask for help and for others to direct violence at that aggressor to help you? Was it wrong to say “kill those Nazis” during the second world war?

  • Siamang

    Time for Hemant to take a remedial course in First Amendment law.

    If you stood out on a street corner and started saying that gay people should be killed or made racially-charged remarks about slavery, it would be considered hate speech and you could be arrested.

    Not in America. That’s protected speech unless it was an incitement to violence.

    Where do you draw the line?

    Dude, we’ve got 200 years of jurisprudence explaining exactly where that line is drawn. Educate yourself.

  • Hate speech is protected speech too. In the US, these assholes would have every right to do what they’re doing, and I’d defend their right to do it.

    I’d also defend the right of the guy who tells them off.

    I’d laugh if they got their ass-kicked for being idiots. Violence against disagreeable speech is inexcusable, but it is also funny.

  • Siamang

    I recommend The First Amendment and the Fourth Estate, by T. Barton Carter. Great textbook.

    I also recommend Speech Acts and the First Amendment, by Franklyn S Haiman.

    From the description of the latter:


    Unlike totalitarian or theocratic societies that see no difference between their concept of morality and the law, however, a democracy must make a distinction between what it regards as immoral and what it makes illegal. Haiman maintains that in the realm of symbolic behavior the line between them should be drawn as closely as possible to expression that results in the most serious, direct, immediate, and physical harm to others. Thus, he joins with former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in concluding that, absent an emergency, more speech, not enforced silence, should be the aim of a free society.

  • Prime Minister of Sinister

    If you stood out on a street corner and started saying that gay people should be killed or made racially-charged remarks about slavery, it would be considered hate speech and you could be arrested

    Where? Not in the United States. As far as I know the first amendment is still in full force.

    “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    You can’t silence people just because you think they are ignorant, or stupid, or uneducated, or just blind to reality. If you do so, you lower yourself to the level of those who deny atheists the right to place an ad on a bus just because the majority might fight that message offensive.

    No person has a right not to be offended but all people has a right to offer a rebuttal to a person whom they find offensive.

  • Siamang

    Thus, he joins with former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in concluding that, absent an emergency, more speech, not enforced silence, should be the aim of a free society.

    To reference your point, Hemant, the difference between shouting “fire” and “God likes Slavery” is that one constitutes an immediate emergency situation with possible death by trampling in a crowded place, and the other doesn’t.

  • …it would be considered hate speech and you could be arrested.

    Not in the U.S., you couldn’t.

    And I think that’s exactly as it should be.

    I think you may be confusing “hate speech” and “hate crimes.” Hate crimes are crimes, such as murder or assault, committed with the motivation of hatred of a group. And that, I have no problem with.

    But hate speech laws like they have in some countries (and hate speech policies, like they have on some college campuses) ban hateful speech even when it’s unaccompanied by any violence or criminal activity, or even the threat of violence or criminal activity. And that, I have no truck with. A society should not be banning speech simply because it doesn’t approve of the content.

    Now, I do think that whatever the laws are, they should be enforced fairly. If religious preachers get off the hook for saying things that would get anyone else arrested, that’s a problem. But IMO, that actually highlights the problem with hate speech laws and rules in the first place: they give privilege to opinions that are popular or agreed with by the people in power.

  • Philbert

    Incitement to criminal violence is where I draw the line. Fred Phelps is a master of skirting the line. He claims that homosexuals should be killed (ie, the law should be changed to make homosexuality a capital crime) but he does not advocate that individuals commit illegal violence. His views are as legal as they are reprehensible.

    I think John Stuart Mill went into this as well. You should not outlaw ideas of what the law should be, merely illegal behavior and incitement to illegal behavior.

  • Aj

    Free speech doesn’t include calls to commit violence which is a crime. Hate speech laws are bullshit thought crime laws though.

    Christians can make an argument that these passages need to be read in context to be properly understood and that these words say nothing about what God supports or condemns, but it’s a hard sell since Christians habitually take verses out of context to suit their own needs.

    Putting passages in context doesn’t make their meanings any better, reading these passages in context does not make them less brutal. Also they’re the ones claiming that these texts say something about what God supports or condemns. Christians who say these things have taken two common counters for other arguments and parroted them like mindless sheep.

  • Ron in Houston

    The test is not just incitement to criminal activity – a lot of speech could be viewed as that. The speech must present an imminent incitement to criminal activity. So, the lone wacko on a street corner advocating some hate speech is far different from someone in an angry crowd.

  • The Other Tom

    Preface: I’m gay.

    Hate speech is not illegal in the US. I do not believe it should be. I believe everyone should have the right to hate me for being gay, and say so, and encourage others to do so and say so. They have to respect my civil rights, but they don’t and shouldn’t have to pretend to like it.

    It is only illegal to incite a crime. For example, “The bible says that gay people must be killed” is not illegal to preach, but “you must go out and kill gay people” is, because the latter is actively encouraging a crime, the former is merely making a statement about a book. A minister could point that out and then use it to claim “so that’s why we shouldn’t invite them to our tea party”, and that would (and should) be legal. Immoral, perhaps, but legal.

    Of course, we know that some ministers push it to the point where it’s hard to deny that they are making clear to their parishioners that gay people should not be regarded or treated as human. When one of those parishioners then goes out and kills someone as a consequence, I personally support the idea of holding the minister partly responsible for the crime in civil court, but I do not believe any criminal penalties should be attached.

  • The Other Tom

    By the way Hemant: the fundamentalists like to push to their sheep this false idea that “hate speech” has been outlawed and/or that we are trying to outlaw it, and that this will be used to put ministers in jail. This article of yours disturbs me because it plays right into their hands, and they can use it as “proof” of their false statements. I recommend you consider such things more carefully before posting in the future.

  • RG

    If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

    Exodus 21:20-21

    –==–

    It’s inspiring to see such gender equality in the bible. I knew he was a loving god. My only fear is, if I give my slave a thrashing and he gets up 49+ hours later, what happens to me?

  • I support hate speech.

  • I completely disagree Hemant. I’m all for letting those people get on the corner and read every horrific part of the Bible. The first amendment says we can’t make laws with respect of religion and we can’t abridge free speech. Calling parts of the Bible hate speech does both in my opinion.

    Heck, Westboro Baptist church does this crap everyday, why aren’t you asking that they be thrown in jail?

    I think hate speech is horrific, and everytime someone does it, they should be put on the news as being a horrible person. However, we shouldn’t stop them. We have to be brave to be free. That means we have to stand for the person next to us that is a despicable monster and fight for their right to spew hateful rhetoric.

    We have to be better than them. We cannot silence them.

    Hell, let them dig their own graves with their crap. Can you think of a better argument against the Bible being a source of morality than the passages in the Bible this issue talks about?

    Oh, and last time I checked, hate speech wasn’t illegal.

  • Q-Squared

    I personally think that the quoting of Bible is protected under free speech. Plus, them out on the street, yelling and acting like “good christian” (*cough cough* insane *cough cough*) people makes for some amusing entertainment, and may even get us some more agnostics/atheists (Hell, it was the fire and brimstone hate-filled speeches that my mom made against gays/any other kind of faith/non-faith [which made me depressed as hell back then since I am gay] that made me start to think towards Atheism).

    Let them go out and “preach for the good people”…then let the good people go home and see that the preacher’s radical ilk are nothing more than blowhards with a very loud voice.

  • Justin jm

    I want to repeat what has been said above; speech needs to be inciting violence in order to consider charges.

    Otherwise, it is free speech. If we start restricting mere speech, then we don’t even have to get into slippery slope discussions, because the effects will be bad enough with that first step.

  • Godfrey Zone

    I suspect if everyone who disagreed with their speech just rolled their eyes and gritted their teeth, kept walking and ignored them, they’d just leave eventually. I’d bet that very few people were won over by their speech. They probably got a lot of negative attention, which (to an attention-seeker) is better than no attention at all. Now the media has given them a huge audience, which is just what they wanted. If we start down that slippery slope towards censorship the nutcases win.

    If society treats them as any good parent would treat an obnoxious tantrum-throwing toddler – by simply ignoring them – society wins on many levels. And we don’t impinge on our own hard-won freedoms in the process.

    If you don’t like what they have to say, speak with your feet, unless they really are inciting violence. These sidewalk evangelical goofballs are not the start of some insidious plot to deprive the good citizens of the free world of their rights! They embarrass most Christians!

    Perhaps we should start a Ghandi-esque worldwide movement towards studiously and systematically ignoring people who are saying hateful things. Consciously encourage [sane] people NOT to react to these cranks. Don’t try to reason with them. Don’t engage them at all. Don’t honor their drivel with a response. Don’t call the police and martyr them. Just move on. A concerted deliberate and silent disapproval. Mature society can just give them the collective cold shoulder. Let them just fade into obscurity within a couple of hours, rather than allowing them to make international headlines.

    Or perhaps I’m too idealistic… even I would probably have a hard time not stopping and gawking in dismay if I saw this pair on the street!

  • Dan W

    I think those idiots should be allowed to say whatever ridiculous crap they want, especially if it’s hateful verses from the Bible. Why? So that they can make asses of themselves in public and, hopefully, be regarded as total morons.

  • thilina

    The lesson here is that if your going to say hate full things, write it down first.

    It would have been interesting for someone to scribble down on paper something hateful to the preachers and shout it back at them; to show the cops their obvious double standard.

    But i agree that letting these people speak is the best way to allow moderate theists to distance themselves from the bible. Then maybe we can finally stick a R18 sticker on it or at least put it in the fiction section.

  • Tony

    I think that these two clowns are milking it by invoking free speech. More likely is that the pair were warned to desist due to the growing angry crowd that they were in the process of inciting. I’m from Manchester and really people there aren’t going to stand for ignoramuses spouting horseshit. It is entirely possible that there was no mention of freedom of speech until the individuals in question spoke to the paper.

  • ChameleonDave

    The freedom-of-speech argument is a good one, and one that needs to be given proper weight against the opposing argument that incitement to violence ought to be prevented.

    I don’t really mind which way the judgement goes on this one, just as long as no special allowance is made on the basis that the text in question is the Bible.

    Above, the question was raised about whether publishing texts that include such things ought to be illegal. Again, texts such as the Bible ought to be banned under the law if another book with similar incitement to violence would be banned under existing law. That is to say, Christians shouldn’t be allowed to be scofflaws.

    However, since the Bible can be a useful educational text, I believe it should be sufficient for all published Bibles to have a disclaimer from the publishers that they disagree with all of the incitements to criminal activity contained within. The same should apply to any old text that is educational, but which is also used for evil by groups today (e.g. Mein Kampf).

  • Obvious cases of incitement aside I’m never in favor of restricting free speech.

    If we start censoring the Bible and people’s right to read passages from it (or other “holy books”) then where do we take it from there? I’ve never been a fan of censorship and book banning, even when it comes to atrocious stuff like that.

    Let them stand on the street corner and read from the Bible. It’s the only time they can truthfully claim they’re “preaching the word of God” (as opposed to when they’re prattling a bunch of BS and claiming God told it to them or that it’s “based on what the Bible said”). If their right to speak is curtailed then our right to speak is also.

  • I think it is important to point out that England is not America. Fairly obvious you might say, your buses aren’t a proper red, no-one wears a bowler hat and you have those intolerable accents.

    We have no constitution of protected rights in England, we have no law that defines our freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The closest we have is the Bill of Rights 1689 that protects the freedom of speech in Parliament which does not extend to the people. We have specific laws that limit the oppression of certain rights but nothing that grants an automatic right. Nor do we have the right to “peaceably assemble” without registering the reason for assembly with the police.

    I know, we’re oppressed in a totalitarian state, we live with it.

    What we do have are laws that protect minority groups (homosexuals, members of different races, religions, etc) from persecution. We also have laws against causing a public nuisance or inciting others to perform violence. It is a convoluted mess of legalistic jargon and poorly understood rights and restrictions.

    What Hayworth and father were doing was staging an unauthorised demonstration against a minority group. This is allowed if they do not commit an offence against them or incite others to commit an offence. They were not arrested but were asked to move on as they were coming close to breaching the law. They could have insisted on carrying on and risked arrest but they didn’t. Were the police overstepping their authority? Possibly but I personally think they are right to tell someone that they are likely to break the law if they continue in some action. It saves an awful lot of paperwork back at the station.

    Oh and tucked away in the original article are the some of the verses they were reading:

    Romans 1:27, from the King James Bible, which says: “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly…”

    1 Corinthians 6: 9, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

  • cat

    hoverfrog, here in the US ‘unauthorized demonstration’, ‘parading without a permit’ and ‘protesting in improperly zoned areas’ have all been used to stiffle legitimate dissent, notably the black civil rights movement. In fact, King’s arrest in Montgomery was for disobeying a court injunction against them for parading without a permit. When a specific group has the power to deny non-violent (by this I mean not directly violent) protest, that group does have the power to silence dissent.

    I tend to agree with the other posters that while these preacher’s actions are reprehensible, their free speech was violated. that said, we should note a distinction between “hate speech” and “hate crime”. Under US law, hate crime only applies to direct violence, not to speech. Saying that gay people are an abomination is hate speech, but it is not a hate crime (nor should it be). Hate speech isn’t illegal (nor should it be), but that doesn’t mean it’s not hateful or harmful. Calling our hate speech as hate speech is fine, in fact, its admirable, but remember the distinction between protected hate speech and illegal hate crime.

  • Still in the Closet

    Most of what I would add has already been said, so I’ll try to keep this short.

    First, I never want to give a group of people the power to decide what is truth. I don’t want Christians to have a monopoly on truth, and I don’t want homophobes to have a monopoly on the truth, but I also don’t want atheists or… um, not-homophobes to have a monopoly, either. My chief guiding principle is “I might be wrong,” and having access to opposing viewpoints is the only way to discover when I am.

    Second, letting these people talk is the best way to win new atheists. I left my beliefs behind mainly because I know so much about the Bible. Verses that punish homosexuality as if the person had committed murder, and verses that punished the victims of rape, were key in making me realize that the Bible was not inspired by a wise, loving god.

    So let them preach. They’re doing our work for us.

  • I disagree with you here, Hemant. One of the most important aspects of free speech is that it protects vile and “icky” speech. That way no one gets to make the decision on what is acceptable and unacceptable speech. There’s a good essay on it, Why defend freedom of icky speech?,

    “If you accept — and I do — that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said.”

    The answer to someone spouting nonsense is to practice your own right to speech to counter it, not censor them.

  • Thanks cat. I do agree with you. I just wanted to point out the difference between American and English law.

    I wonder though if they may have been moved on for their own protection. There are some people who react negatively to being judged and belittled by homophobic bigots who might be tempted to take the law into their own hands. That would be a bad thing.

    If you’re interested there are some interesting reactions to the introduction of the law that limited ‘unauthorized demonstration’ in Parliament Square. One man, Brian Haw, has been protesting there for 8 years and may be the reason for the law in the first place. Another protester organised a “Protest what you like” protest just to inundate the local police station with paperwork and embarrass the government for failing to administer the law.

    We may not have the right of free speach but we still claim it. What I think that Hayworth and father should have done was to insist on their right to speak and forced the police to arrest them. Once the police had warned them they could have obstinately refused to move on. That would have given them the press to put forward not only their views (distasteful as they are) but also to champion the right to free speech. Few people actually have the courage of their convictions though.

  • mshshistory

    First of all, I want to thank Hemant and the posters here for the thoughtfulness and civility of the discussions at which I have looked. I was led to read this blog after a friend forwarded me the IFI email (see Hemant’s most recent post). I support Hemant’s free speech and agree completely that as long as Hemant is not trying to win over students in his classroom to a particular theological (or a-theological) view, his private right to free-speech outside his classroom is a nearly absolute trump card.

    Similarly, “hate-speech” in the United States is and should be constitutionally protected. The comparative lack of such protections in Britain (and across most of Europe) is both sad and ironic, given the debt which the Founders owed to English law and traditions, and points out the value of a written constitution which stands above even the legislature.

    I do think it’s worth pointing out that the specific verses referred to in the UK article as having been quoted on the street were not those selected by Hemant for reference in his blog. It seems a little disingenous to reference passages which may not have been used by the individuals under discussion. I obviously do not know what, if any, Old Testament passages relevant to homosexuality were read. However, I’m fairly certain that most Christians – even very conservative, evangelical ones like myself – differentiate between what we see as God’s moral condemnation of homosexuality and the specific aspects of the religious and legal codes of ancient Israel referred to in, for example, Leviticus.

  • Gribblethemunchkin

    Tony! Another Mancunian, hello there.

    Manchester often has crazy street preachers on market street, one of the biggest shopping streets. Generally people ignore or mock them. The mocking can be hilarious sometimes.

    These weirdos in St Anns square were probably moved on for their own good. We have a large and confident gay scene in Manchester and a large Muslim population too. I can’t imagine either taking verbal abuse in public lightly. While violence is extremely unlikely, the cops probably just wanted to stop a situation arising before it got noisy.

    If these guys were drawing many hecklers, then disturbing the peace is a perfectly arrestable crime.

    As Hoverfrog mentioned we have far less free speech rights over here than you lot in the colonies do. But we do have a patchwork quilt of laws that tend to serve pretty well to protect minorities.

    The only time free speech is abused over here is protesting against the government itself. Parliament banned protests outside parliament during the most unpopular stages of the Iraq war, which is such a blatant abuse of power.

    That said, the stop the war marches were the biggest public demonstrations ever held in the UK and achieved precisely nothing. Clearly protest needs to be followed up by action. I’m all for hassling MPs, mass protest their offices, call their phones, flood their email. Do something to get their attention and pull their heads out of their arses.

  • JL

    In answer to the question that you ask in the title of your post, yes, yes, it does. Lots of people have already gone over the difference between incitement, which is not protected speech, and hate speech, which is.

    As hoverFrog pointed out, the UK is different (though it sounds like even there, they were not actually breaking the law, and should not have been made to stop or threatened with arrest). But from a philosophical perspective, I agree with the way that US law treats this. The Hayworths’ actions absolutely should be covered by free speech unless they actually committed incitement.

  • Dave

    Why do people quote the bible as if it were law?

    It is only a book, and in the eyes of the law it has no more relevance than a cookery book or any other book.

    And let’s face it, the old testament is as hate filled, homophobic, and misogynist as you can get.

    Hate speech is detestable, but mostly irrelevant as the vast majority do not give it any creedence. Who cares? Let the nutters say what they like and laugh at them.