Monday, March 7, 2011

Speaking freely

Free speechLast week, the Supreme Court confirmed the right of Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funerals of military personnel. I’m not going to dignify them with a picture here, but their general message is that American soldiers are dying because America is giving gays more and more rights. (Personally, it looks to me like American soldiers are dying because we are sending them into war zones. But that’s just me.) We all know that this group is abhorrent, and we all condemn their activities. However, the Supreme Court made the right decision here.

I think this is yet another fundamental difference between right and left. All of my liberal friends (at least those who have voiced an opinion) feel the same way that I do. We find this group a bunch of deplorable fanatics, but we also realize that they have the right to have their little protests and voice their strange and nauseating opinions. We despise them, but we know that free speech applies to them as much as it applies to the progressive protesters in Wisconsin, Indiana, and all across the country.

Palin weighed in immediately with a tweet:

Common sense & decency absent as wacko "church" allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public square.

If you can weed through her own special brand of word salad, it would seem that she is against the Supreme Court’s ruling. (Hey, Palin finally found a Supreme Court ruling that she disagrees with!) First of all, she’s quite wrong about not being able to invoke God’s name in the public square. She can stand on whatever street corner she wants and “spew” her godly message. She has that right, just as the Westboro bizarros can stand on a street corner (as long as they are at least 1,000 feet away from where the service is being conducted) and conduct their protests. She was called on this, of course, with people saying that she didn’t comprehend the full scope of free speech. She backtracked a bit then:

Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency. I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.

Well, thank you for confirming that you don’t comprehend the full scope of free speech, lady. The reason you can’t say ‘God bless you’ in a graduation speech or pray before a local football game (at least at a public school) is because of that other little thing about separation of church and state. Remember that? The government shall promote no religion. You most definitely were calling for a limit on free speech, because you were saying that a “common sense” and “decent” verdict from the Supreme Court would have stopped this group from their protests. The Supreme Court wasn’t applying “selective interpretation” of free speech rights; that was what YOU were doing.

Free speech douchebagsBelieve me, I have no love for the Westboro Baptists, and that is on many levels. Their religious fanaticism, their condemnation of gays, their willingness to invade the privacy of grieving families...they truly are an ignorant and hateful bunch, and I find them disgusting. However, I also realize that they are within their rights to gather and protest. Every time they do this, they confirm their sheer loathsomeness, and they are bringing no one to their side. NO ONE. If their goal is to turn the nation back to God, and bring people to “salvation,” they are failing miserably. So they can keep up their little protests. Maybe it will provide an object lesson to everyone about extremism in the religious community. I hope that good people will do what they can to shield grieving families from the hate exhibited by these people.

Free speech is for everyone. Even a quittiot: a quittin’ idiot with a Twitter account.


  1. I agree-like it or not, they have right..and we have the right to be standing face to face to them showing them that we don't approve of their knuckle dragging vocal beliefs...

    They make their money by following the law to the letter, then suing those that get worked up enough to confront them in illegal ways.

    The best retaliation I ever saw was at a comicon, made famous online and it makes me laugh my ass off every time I see it.

  2. Westboro people showed up with their signs Sunday ikn Kentucky. They went to a Catholic church and a Protestant church in Owensboro and a Catholic church in Louisville. The Louisville church was small and chosen because it was on the way to the airport. [Which makes me wonder how they transport their signs.]

    Five Westboro people stood on 1 side of the drive.

    200 locals stood on the other side.

    10 police were there to keep order.

    I'm sure you all know the kind of signs the 5 Westboro people held.

    Among the crowd of 200 locals the signs read things like "God is Love".

    That was reported int he paper here this morning on the front page. It just made me smile!

  3. The bible thumpers and cross draggers are out in full-force this Mardi Gras- there seems to be more of them than ever, or perhaps they are just better organized. But, hey, they have to stay somewhere, and buy food somewhere, and they got here somehow, so they are all contributing to the great economic benefit that Mardi Gras brings the city!! The more of them come, the more successful Mardi Gras will be!

  4. What gets me is the intellectual disconnect between Palin, her followers and reality. Palin wants it both ways and displays her ignorance of anything after 10th grade social science...

    That the Westboro folks had the right to free speech is obvious. Might not be popular but they have the right to say what they want... just as Sarah Palin has the right to be stupid.

    My fear is that like popular stupid people, her failings will be overlooked and ignored. But by the time folks wise up to her, the damage will be done and there ain't no 'Hot Tub Time Machine' gonna undo that mess!

  5. The message of hate will always exist among the batshit crazy fringe. Hate and ignorance go hand in hand. And, though I believe in free speech, I wish Sarah Palin would shut her stupid mouth.

  6. I was trying to explain this to my daughter the other day. While we may not agree with their message, the Westboro wankers do have the right to that message and as long as they're not breaking laws, then they can gather and do their thing; as hideous as that thing is.

    All part of being a grown-up. We can't change their minds or change how they view the world, only our reaction to them.

  7. I'm with you.
    I find the WBC to be one of the most disgusting groups out there, right alongside the KKK, but, they have the right to say what they choose.
    Mama Grizzly Bore doesn't get it--as do a lot of folks--but then she rarely gets anything that smacks of common sense or freedom or the law.

  8. Is there no issue Palin won't add a big dose of stupid to? She and Phelps are cut from the same cloth anyway.

  9. Beth, I agree fully. Despise what those Westboro folks advocate but cut off their 1st amendment rights and it harms the rights of all the rest of us. Besides, making them go underground isn't going to change what they believe. Keeping them in the bright light of day is much better. It makes it easier for people to see that they are the real monsters.

  10. Glad you found a Palin stupidity to write about :o)


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