Santa Monica, California, USA
John -- your questions brings up the right of the KKK to march in Skokie Illinois, the artist/provactuer Andres Serrano's right to exhibit a crucifix in a bottle of urine.
These weren't theoretical occurrences, and they were legally protected. The Skokie rally attracted 22 KKK's, the protestors numbered in the thousands, as I recall. Serrano's "'Blank' Christ' sold much later for $162,000. Both events made odd comments on our culture.
In the movie "Mississippi Burning," the fictionalized account of the murders of young civil rights workers Schwerner, Cheney, and Goodman, the underlying point was that the FBI did not set out to destroy the Klan,but to capture and prosecute the murderers. To this extent, the movie was accurate.
Freedom of speech must be protected as a fundamental element of democracy even when it is manifestly offensive to a given majority or minority. The Rick Santorum's of this country, for example, need to be able to run even though they offend, uh, me, for example. In turn, I can freely bad mouth and not vote for folk of his ilk.