“I have a right to my opinions.” and “I have a right to free speech.” But, where does Free Speech end and Hate Mongering and its consequences begin.
Ugandans have brought extreme and hateful Pastor Scott Lively to court in the USA for “Crimes Against Humanity.” Remember that as a result or indirect result of Scott’s visit to Uganda, a bill was introduced “Kill Gays” and David Koto, gay activist was murdered in his home (not a robbery).
Scott and his lawyers claimed free speech but read what the judges said…
In the ruling, Judge Posner declared the “Defendant played a crucial role in developing strategies to deny basic rights to Plaintiff’s members over the last decade” after stating “Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.”
Lively and his defense team have long claimed he is protected by the U.S. Constitution’s ‘freedom of speech.’ They claim Lively’s denigrating words are just his opinion and do no direct harm. They claim he has not taken any action. He further claims that it is the LGBTI community in Uganda doing the ‘promoting’ and ‘recruiting’. However it is clear that in fact it is Scott Lively who is promoting and recruiting Ugandans to increase his anti-gay flock for the work of persecuting the LGBTI community.
But the Judge felt “the Amended Complaint adequately alleges that Defendant’s actions have fallen well outside the protections of the First Amendment.”
Judge Posner quoted Justice Black in his reasoning about the First Amendment protections by saying: “On the other hand, when noxious words become part of a criminal enterprise, the First Amendment provides limited protection. As Justice Black, an unsurpassed supporter of the First Amendment, wrote:
“It rarely has been suggested that the constitutional freedom for speech and press extends its immunity to speech or writing used as an integral part of conduct in violation of a valid criminal statute. We reject the contention now. . . .
. . . [I]t has never been deemed an abridgment of freedom of speech or press to make a course of conduct illegal merely because the conduct was in part initiated, evidenced, or carried out by means of language, either spoken, written or printed. Such an expansive interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press would make it practically impossible ever to enforce laws against agreements in restraint of trade as well as many other agreements and conspiracies deemed injurious to society.”
The judge concluded: “It is well-established that speech that constitutes criminal aiding and abetting is not protected by the First Amendment.”
“The complexion of the case at this stage entitles Plaintiff to discovery and requires the court to deny Defendant’s motion to dismiss.”