Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia are backing the family of fallen Marine Matthew Snyder in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that could decide the constitutionality of laws restricting protests at private family funerals.I thought it was interesting these people would cite the Constitution in the attack against a fallen soldier. They attack homosexuality with their offensive signs ouside of funerals, claiming it is their constitutional right, but I am sure that their "free speech" is not what the founding fathers had in mind. I don''t believe that their message is protected when at a funeral, and should be banned.
Lance Cpl. Snyder, who was deployed to Iraq in 2006, was killed just a month later in an accident. His funeral in Maryland was disrupted by demonstrators led by Kansas pastor Fred W. Phelps, yelling, among other things, that America's military is evil because it defends a country that tolerates homosexuality.
Snyder's family sued, but an appeals court said the hecklers were exercising their right to free speech.
Now, all but two state attorneys general have signed a "friend of the court" brief, to be filed tomorrow, that argues the First Amendment should not apply to some "intrusive and harassing" forms of expression.
"Funeral goers are a captive audience and they are engaged in a deeply personal and private mourning process," said Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, who drafted the brief. "The Constitution does not give the respondent the right to hijack solemn proceedings such as funerals in order to spread their hateful ideas."
The respondent, Phelps, has staged loud protests with members of his Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals around the country. He argues his signs, bearing messages such as "You're in hell" and "God hates you," are protected forms of speech...
But Phelps' supporters, including his daughter Megan Phelps, say the states' brief does not change the facts of the case or weaken their constitutional argument.
"The only way you can criminalize standing peacefully on a public sidewalk with Scriptural concepts on hotly-debated public issues is to repeal the 1st Amendment," said Phelps via Twitter. "They're willing to sacrifice the freedoms they claim Matt Snyder fought for on the altar of shutting up our message," she tweeted. "This opposition epitomizes why the 1st Amend. was passed: corrupt gov't trying to shut up religious messages they hate."
They claim they are free to protest, but by their logic, they attack America for supporting gays, and by association, they protest soldiers' deaths. It would only make sense that those in attendance would be viewed by the church as supporters of homosexuality, so it would seem that their signs would be attacking not only the concept of homosexuality, but everyone they come into contact with. They are essentially harassing every person who disagrees with their church.
As Six put it, they are preaching to a "captive audience," - like broadcasting hardcore pornography on the Disney channel.
I am curious as to whether this church is actually classified as a church, recieving tax benefits to protest America. If you think about it, every bit of taxes they pay goes against what their cult preaches - they are contributing to the reason why God hates us!
Their hate speech is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind. The idea of free speech is the idea that even the most insensitive, vulgar, and disagreeable speech deserves protection. In fact it is more important that we protect those we disagree with the most, in order to protect our rights to speech. WBC members are idiots, they are hateful, inbred oppourtunists who take advantage of the freedoms that the brave men and women they protest fought and died for. But once their speech is taken away, soon anyone with a dissenting view point will be made a criminal, and free speech will only mean speech with which the government/judges authorize.ReplyDelete
I agree with you to a point. I still think that their speech should be banned because they had highly personalized their target, focusing on a single person.
Should they protest a military base, that would be different, but once they cross that line and target a single family, they enter into a whole different realm...