We know that Christian evangelist Joshua Feuerstein made a video months ago in which he called for his followers to “punish Planned Parenthood” because “abortion doctors should have to run and hide and be afraid for their life.”
So it’s worth asking: Is that ever going to happen?
Ken White at Popehat says there’s no chance Feuerstein will see any legal consequences for his video, as disturbing as it may be:
… absent evidence that Feuerstein’s video actually led to violence, or absent very strong evidence that the video was made in circumstances where listeners were standing by ready to commit immediate violence, it is probably not unlawful incitement outside the protection of the First Amendment.
I wouldn’t blame anyone who felt frightened by Feuerstein’s video, especially if they worked for Planned Parenthood. I think he’s at best indifferent to the impact of his words. I suspect he meant to cause fear and is simply too much of a craven to admit it now. But the First Amendment provides a rather wide and robust buffer zone for speech that winds up protecting a lot of despicable behavior. Some people will always cavort in the margins.
Feuerstein is one of those cowards who knows damn well not to cross a certain line, but he’ll gleefully walk right up to it and taunt you. If you bother to react, he’ll cry foul, before asking his followers for attention (and money) which he’ll use to repeat the pattern the next time around.