It makes a terrible day worse for the families of our fallen soldiers, which isn't right, but unfortunately weakening protections on speech would be far worse.
Well I can agree with you about all of that, and yet I feel that something very pertinent is missing: SPLC begins their report: “Fred Phelps is America's most notorious anti-gay activist.” Not anti-military per se, but most consistently anti-gay!
He and his flock — primarily composed of most of his 13 children, their children and other relatives — have picketed events ranging from theater performances to the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers to children murdered or killed in traffic accidents. These protests share a simple theme: Attacking America's perceived tolerance of homosexuality and celebrating God's perceived wrath as just rewards for "fags" and "fag-enablers."
This is not
going to be a case only about military funerals. I wager as the Phelps gang goes on talking about it (not least in the media outside the courtroom), it will continue to be about the public representation of same-sex relationships.
Again, Phelps and Church are often saying that they are critical of soldiers because
according to them, things to do with the military like casualties are (among other symbols of state power), symptoms of the country's trend toward recognizing LGBT. Unfortunately, it seems that public opinion allows them the largest leeway on the anti-gay front -- and that is actually the one they mean to push. It's only for challenging 1) soldiers and 2) the shining image of American policy as generally benevolent that a large public backlash is notable.
Phelps and his followers have crisscrossed the country to picket the funerals of AIDs victims and engage in other, similar protests. But it is his group's picketing of the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq — to tell the world, as Phelps argues, that their deaths are God's punishment for America's "fag-enabling" ways — that has inspired almost universal revulsion and contempt.
On that note... Hey, Politics thread: I have to wave a little fidgety hand up and say: Okay, I realize that a couple individuals have produced some easy excuses for mods to shut threads on gay politics recently, including some barely out of the gate. Yet, here is the issue come knocking again. Locking stuff up doesn't make it go away. Phelps is using military funerals (among various other events) as a stage to bash at gay rights. Nonetheless, here on this site supposedly so adult and devoted to relatively open understandings of sexuality, most of the extended discussion thus far is primarily about how funerals
must be protected. I'm almost waiting for someone to cue the gymnasium to play "Proud to Be an American" here, as if that is the only marketable public response?
I think speaking as if Phelps' agenda were confined to the chosen thread title is missing Phelps’ own central front. That means allowing him space to go on with all sorts of annoyances. You can say, but this
is a funeral; I have
to complain about this, no matter what I think about gay rights. Meanwhile, he
has another how many weeks before the cameras ranting drivel about Sodom. So for the sake of relevance, how about this: How many opportunities to stir an anti-gay media platform is a Supreme Court case going to give this guy? Could it backfire on Phelps and further gay rights, simply because he's produced such negative publicity, even by the standards of some anti-gay figures?