Along Lenox Avenue in Harlem, NYC is the Atlah World Missionary Church. Already known for its problematic signs about President Barack Obama, its signage is now advocating (some would say inciting) violence against LGBT+ individuals because, well, bible. Or something.
New Yorker Marie Viljoen has routinely passed by these signs and finally wrote a blog post about her reaction to them. She asks how the signs could remain when they seem to go beyond the rights to free speech afforded by the US Constitution:
How is this not incitement to violence, and why should it not be restricted, by law? How is this sheltered under the First Amendment? How has this been allowed to remain high above Lenox Avenue, for weeks?
Unfortunately, the legal definition of Incitement to Violence (such as this one from Ohio's Law Code) typically requires:
(1)The conduct takes place under circumstances that create a clear and present danger that any offense of violence will be committed;
(2)The conduct proximately results in the commission of any offense of violence.
If these attacks do happen in the area around the Lenox church in Harlem, then it seems like the second clause would definitely be fulfilled. That needs to be determined. Even if it does, the question which we need to ask, however, is whether or not these signs "create a clear and present danger that any offense of violence will be committed." Emphasis mine. That seems a whole lot harder to prove from a sign that many will think is so over the top to almost be parody in any reasonable person's mind:
Images by Marie Viljoen. Used with permission.