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Hate Speech Or Illegal Incitement: Legal Expert On Sacramento Pastor's Orlando Shooting Comments

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Daniel Sederquist, left, hugs Hank Lilienthal at a rally outside Faces, an LGBT nightclub in Sacramento, expressing support for victims of a shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier in the day on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A sermon by a Sacramento pastor on Sunday praised the deaths that resulted from an attack on an Orlando nightclub. Verity Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez also supported the idea of killing more gay people. 

"If we lived in a righteous nation with a righteous government then the government should be taking them. There's no tragedy," he said. "I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out."

Leslie Jacobs is the Director of the Capital Center Public Law and Library at McGeorge School of Law. She explains the line between protected hate speech and illegal incitement to violence.

She says hate speech against gay people and speech that supports terrorist acts are protected. But, the question is does the speech direct people to take illegal action.

"You could make an argument that what he's saying is what they call a true threat," says Jacobs. "I think that would be difficult given the repeated times that he said, I'm not saying go out and do violence."

Jacobs says the pastor's praise of a terrorist attack would be illegal in England, which recently passed a law that denies protection of such speech. 


Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob is the Sacramento Region Reporter. He has been at the forefront of the coverage of the Sacramento Kings' saga and the effort to build a new arena in Sacramento. He also covers education, business, environment, and sports stories.   Read Full Bio 

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