From street preachers and other religious speakers. They threaten eternal torment and torture on all those that will not join their cult. That is striking terror into people in order to get them to do what you want. That is terrorism (Thank you Dusty Smith for pointing this out). When they say this in public, and CHILDREN hear it, can you say that it is appropriate? Would you tell a child that if they do not accept a piece of candy from you that they will be tortured forever? Would you tell an adult that if they do not join your political party that they will be water boarded? Why is it all of a sudden all right when it is about religion? It should not be, it should never be alright. Religious hate speech is wrong. Speaking hate about a religion is different though. If you hate the idea of something it is not threatening anyone, even if it is offensive. Hate the idea, not the person.
Free speech does not mean that we can hurl invectives at each other and incite others to do violence to a particular group. So hate speech is hate speech and should be penalized and banned, whether it stems from the teachings of a particular religion or whether it comes from anywhere else.
The rule in law is that the given speech must leave time for rebuttal. If someone says so and so is scum now let's go kill them; that would be inciting violence. There is no time for rebuttal. If someone says so and so is scum and he should be killed then that is protected I believe. It leaves time for rebuttal. It does not call for immediate action. So clearly religious hate speech leaves ample time for rebuttal.
So called religious hate speech, or any hate speech is protected by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. While any hate speech is vile, is should not be penalized or criminalized. The entire point of the freedom of speech is that it protects speech that people wouldn't not like, otherwise there would be no point.
No, religious hate speech should not be penalized, because free speech is so important. A person does not live in a truly free society if they are concerned about what they say. Free speech is so important so that people can live without worrying about be penalized for what they have to say. As long as they do not hurt anyone or threaten violence, their speech should be protected.
Learning that France does actually penalize people monetarily for hate speech was quite interesting, but to me that creates an arena where people supporting legitimate claims could easily be penalized as well, simply because their opinion does not jive with the majority. I personally prefer free speech even though it allows people to speak in such ways.
The only way free speech should ever be penalized is if it incites violence or some sort of criminal act like rape, torture, or arson. Once you start eliminating some speech from free speech, no matter how ridiculous it is, the logic of free speech then breaks down. If you can't speak freely, there isn't free speech.