Hate speech versus a hate crime

Westboro protest sparks question as to how far the First Amendment should protect inflammatory speech.

Gay+Straight+Alliance+sponsor+and+Environmental+Science+teacher+Clancey+Livingston+holds+a+sign+of+support+while+he+looks+upon+the+student+counter-protestors+--+lead+by+Student+Body+President%2C+senior+Parker+Wilson+--+as+Westboro+Baptist+Church+protests+GSA+and+the+LBGTQ%2B+community+of+Manhattan+High.+The+protests+took+place+just+outside+of+MHS+7%3A10+to+7%3A40+the+morning+of+Nov.1++
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Hate speech versus a hate crime

Gay Straight Alliance sponsor and Environmental Science teacher Clancey Livingston holds a sign of support while he looks upon the student counter-protestors -- lead by Student Body President, senior Parker Wilson -- as Westboro Baptist Church protests GSA and the LBGTQ+ community of Manhattan High. The protests took place just outside of MHS 7:10 to 7:40 the morning of Nov.1

Gay Straight Alliance sponsor and Environmental Science teacher Clancey Livingston holds a sign of support while he looks upon the student counter-protestors -- lead by Student Body President, senior Parker Wilson -- as Westboro Baptist Church protests GSA and the LBGTQ+ community of Manhattan High. The protests took place just outside of MHS 7:10 to 7:40 the morning of Nov.1

Photo courtesy of Allyssa Stevens

Gay Straight Alliance sponsor and Environmental Science teacher Clancey Livingston holds a sign of support while he looks upon the student counter-protestors -- lead by Student Body President, senior Parker Wilson -- as Westboro Baptist Church protests GSA and the LBGTQ+ community of Manhattan High. The protests took place just outside of MHS 7:10 to 7:40 the morning of Nov.1

Photo courtesy of Allyssa Stevens

Photo courtesy of Allyssa Stevens

Gay Straight Alliance sponsor and Environmental Science teacher Clancey Livingston holds a sign of support while he looks upon the student counter-protestors -- lead by Student Body President, senior Parker Wilson -- as Westboro Baptist Church protests GSA and the LBGTQ+ community of Manhattan High. The protests took place just outside of MHS 7:10 to 7:40 the morning of Nov.1

Brianna Carmack, Opinions Editor

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Hate speech. What is it? Is it a thing?

According to Merriam Webster, hate speech is speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people. Hate speech was also the hot topic of Manhattan High last Thursday when the Westboro Baptist Church protested outside of MHS, using their First Amendment right to speak against the LGBTQ community.

Although they peacefully assembled their protest, there are still major debates in today’s society about inflammatory speech. How far is too far?

It is the consensus of The Mentor editorial board that regardless of the topic, there should be regulations on what kind of language can be used when considering inflammatory speech.

We acknowledge that some people believe that hate speech isn’t real and is over-exaggerated, but the general agreement is that there should be regulations for inflammatory speech.

WBC came for a reason. Manhattan High School was voted the top LGBTQ friendly community in all of Kansas. Considering that our school has its own separate club for the LGBTQ community, Gay-Straight Alliance, it quickly became a target for WBC.

There is such a thing as hate speech in the sense that, people are negatively sayings things that about an entire group of people, such as by race, gender, sexual orientation or even organization. If everything that is being said is purely opinion-based, that had no factual backing, then that can be considered hate speech.

Even though Westboro still protested against the LGBTQ community with signs that were very controversial, they peacefully assembled their protest in a way that wasn’t violent. Back in 2016, The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, experienced a shooting due to the shooter’s strong beliefs against the LGBTQ community. If it came to this extent with Westboro, hate speech would have eventually turned into a hate crime where the First Amendment would not support that situation.

We’ve come to a point in America where issues such as targeting a specific culture or group of people is not as frequent as it used to be, but is still an important issue that impacts individuals every day. Not only does it create chaos in the community, but it also creates a hostile environment for the people being affected by the protests. It gets to a point where this type of behavior is on the line of abusing the First Amendment right.

Overall, even though the WBC displayed controversial messages, it is never good to fight the hate with hate. That is when it becomes chaotic and creates an unsafe environment. Remember, always treat hate with love. The more love involved, the better we can stop the hate.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Hate speech versus a hate crime”

  1. Timothy Phelps on November 20th, 2018 6:15 am

    This editorial is the very proof of the whitewashing this generation’s teachers give to the sober issue of Constitutional rights. The event outside MHS was not a “hate speech” issue, it was a “culture shift” issue. This generation arrogantly imagines it has a better lens on what is right and what is wrong. Past generations had a little bit of respect for the Word of God; this generation hates that Word. Recent study shows that next to homosexual speech, the speech increasingly acceptable in this society is antitheist speech. (see this link: https://thefederalist.com/2018/11/19/vox-wrong-many-people-support-free-speech/#.W_PzHeCmGns.twitter) so MHS students are not original in their hatred and screeds against simple Bible words on signs.

    It is always the dominant view that pushes to make the minority view declared “hate speech”. That’s why the First Amendment is so critical in this nation. Activist teachers have to be counter-balanced with law. Speech is speech; crime is crime; action is action. Your teachers have done you a great disservice by blurring that line and making you think it is okay to use government to restrict Bible preachers who tell you plainly that God has a standard and He is not subject to your social mores. Shame on the educators of MHS for allowing such confusion on so important a matter seep into the minds of your students. It’s an affront to the freedoms you insist upon for your own social engineering drivel.

  2. tony CAPO on November 20th, 2018 6:51 am

    This is a lie. There is no debate. The SCOTUS settled it when they ruled in favor of WBC in Snyder V Phelps. Hate speech is Free speech.

  3. tony CAPO on November 20th, 2018 6:56 am

    The writer of this article is very ignorant. Thomas Jefferson said : the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction;9 that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty…that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

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Hate speech versus a hate crime