Case Study on a Pastors Right to Freedom of Speech

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The pastor’s right to freedom of speech is justified by the harm principle and the necessity for truth in a democratic society.
John Stuart Mill presents a liberal view for the defense of free speech in favour for the fullest liberty to debate (1978, 15). Yet, Mill’s harm principle states the government can rightfully interfere with the pastor’s freedom of expression under the condition to prevent harm to the homosexual community (pg. 9) One problem that emerges is the lack of a universal consensus on among scholarly work on what constitutes hate speech. Boyle argues hate speech, “is intended to entice hatred or violence” (Boyle Freedom 6-7). While, Mill’s “On Liberty” provides a strong liberal view that makes it difficult to argue that hate speech directly causes any violence or interference of the homosexual’s community’s liberty, which is supported by the notorious corn dealer example. The pastor’s portrayal that homosexuals are dangerous and comparable to cancer would not be considered harm, as he does not advice to inflict physical harm upon the homosexual community. In particular, psychological damage is far harder to argue in terms of legal rights compared to physical damage. Even if the homosexual community are psychologically harmed by pastor remarks, Jacobson (2000) notes Mill would be resilient to placing any sort of limits on the freedom of speech.
Hence, freedom of speech should be defended as, “silenced opinion be an error it may, and very commonly does,

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