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Author Topic: Supreme Court rules in favor of westboro to picket soldier's funerals.  (Read 5920 times)

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Offline Lyell

They're not even picketing AT the funeral or even on the funeral grounds. Nobody is putting a top hat on and tap-dancing on anybody's grave. In fact, WBC usually shows up for a very negligible amount of time and then leaves. They don't know you, they probably don't even care who you are or what your name is, they just show up and then leave when their time is up and make absolutely no lasting impact except a wave of unnecessary outrage.

Venue choice can affect freedom of speech and assembly. What good is protesting if the only place you're allowed is 10 miles out of town? Why does anyone care what you're saying if they can't see or hear you? Venue choice can also affect the strength of the message you're giving. For WBC's purposes, no matter how much you disagree with them, the venue choice strengthens their voice and makes people take notice. For all intents and purposes, they are highly successful at being activists for their cause.

See various indications about knowing their legal limits. They've almost been directly targeted by laws that prohibit protesting within an hour before and an hour after funeral proceedings take place by state and federal legislature. It's also mandated that they stay a certain distance from the proceedings or entrances to respective burial grounds.

"Inciting a riot applies to a person who organizes, encourages, or participates in a riot. It can apply to one who urges or instigates others to riot. It does not apply to someone who merely advocates ideas or expresses beliefs, if those ideas and beliefs do not involve advocating violence."
                                 --Jeralyn Merrie

Apparently expressing glee over soldiers returning in body bags isn't considered advocating violence.

Offline Noelle

I'm aware of the limitations they have set on them, that's why I mentioned that they're not picketing directly AT the funeral :P I'm not contending any facts there, that was kind of my point!

The WBC isn't inciting a riot any more than Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin's crappy campaign graphics do and I have yet to see evidence that points otherwise. They skirt the line for that reason. They're really not that different from each other in tactics (except maybe Sarah Palin, since I don't consider as extreme as Beck/Limbaugh), only in the message.

Besides, at heart, I would argue that a lot of people actually agree with the WBC's stance on gays, if the perpetual dissent towards homosexuality even without their help. Everyone is crying about them picketing soldier's funerals, but hardly a word is said towards their dissent towards gays or usage of the word 'faggots' except maybe by the GLBT activists. Remove their picketing at funerals, and you've got yourself an agreeable anti-gay group for conservative America!

Offline Callie Del Noire

Or attending the funeral of politician's wives (John Edwards wife, who incidentally died of a terrible cancer, and they carried signs saying the same sort of stuff their signs at the fallen soldiers funerals.)

Offline Lyell

Do they actually make it to gay pride events? I know I've seen them at an anime or comic convention and were thoroughly shot down when they were treated like a bunch of missed social retards.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show praticed his 'right to speech' tonight to give a very nice summation of his opion on 'Rev' Phelps and his church.

Video forthcoming when I find it. :D

Offline RubySlippers

Not that it'll stop them from trying. See 'Cyber Bullying Laws.'

I'm opposed to them actually the parents should be monitoring the child when on these social network sites and the child should learn not all people will be nice like my parents did for me. I consider this no matter for the government unless a parent goes to court and gets a restraining order on the offender(s). Schools have no place going outside the home to stop this behavior but can act in school which is their sphere.

Back on topic the US sponsors many sites illegal in many EU nations supporting hate groups I think thats fine if one doesn't let retarded racist neo-nazi people spew their insideous gospels then enlightened people can't counter it and show they are morons. If you have holocaust deniers what good is it repressing the idea since that is not helping eliminate the idea in the underground world of ideas is it? Put the truth on it and make it open in the light and see these people deal with it.

Offline Zakharra

I think they are enjoying twisting a blade in one of the worst days of a person's life. Imagine putting your child in a ground. You're in a fragile state of mind, and having somebody take obvious joy at your loss and adding to your emotionally frail state of mind. Telling you  that he/she is dead because of something you've no control over and they are in hell.

I am frankly surprised that someone hasn't taken a shot at one of these idiots yet.

 They are prepared for that and have good lawyers ready.

Offline Callie Del Noire

They are prepared for that and have good lawyers ready.

Doesn't keep them from getting shot. And they typically rely on their own family for lawyers, Phelps has been disbarred and I know at least two of his daughters ARE lawyers. I think they use law suits as one of the family income sources.


Offline Remiel

I wonder--has anyone tried to go to the WBC and picket outside of the church?  Something like "The Westboro Church is full of bullshit and Phelps is going to hell"?  Seems to me that would be an equally valid expression of the right to free speech.

Offline Callie Del Noire

In moments of whimsy I imagine doing that. :D Of course I'd also day dream of buying lots around the church and putting up 30 foot signs that same the same sort of thing in the lots when I consider it. All the hate and discontent without actually using calories. (Comes from an old story of a clansman back in the country in NC I grew up in having a sign in his field by the highway saying something noxious. Till the day it 'accidently' burned down)

Offline Silk

I wonder--has anyone tried to go to the WBC and picket outside of the church?  Something like "The Westboro Church is full of bullshit and Phelps is going to hell"?  Seems to me that would be an equally valid expression of the right to free speech.

Problem is, christianity is built on the foundation of "matyrdom" and all that will do is make them matyrs to their cause.

Offline Callie Del Noire

The Daily Show - Tales of Principled Behavior


There you go. His comments are funny and sums the WBC folks I think

Offline Revolverman

Problem is, christianity is built on the foundation of "matyrdom" and all that will do is make them matyrs to their cause.

That about sums it up.

I am shocked that we give an incestuous cult of what? 15 people? so much power that we are willing to give up our own rights just to see them silenced.

Offline Noelle

I think if there's anyone in these cases that deserves our pity, it's the Phelps children who are indoctrinated into this insanity at such a young age.

Offline Jude

"Give them power" is really the key phrase.  It doesn't matter what someone else says if you don't listen, can avoid them, and refuse to take what little you do hear to heart.  They make one of the worst days in a person's life that much worse, which is inexcusable, but not justification enough to tear a hole in freedom of speech that could easily be used to silence legitimate, necessary speech in the future.  Even if you don't believe that will happen, remember that with every concession we make freedom erodes.  That isn't to say we shouldn't ever consider restricting freedom (that would be a slippery slope fallacy), but you have to weigh the pros and cons in each instance.

I just don't see how anyone can claim that it's worth risking freedom of speech to silence some nutjobs who become more and more hated with every public appearance they make.

Now if you want to talk fair, legal repercussions for what they do, how about we take away their tax exemption?  That merely requires the law to be enforced, not bent or perverted.  Political organizations, even if they have a religious basis, still have to pay the IRS.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 05:56:26 PM by Jude »

Offline Will

That about sums it up.

I am shocked that we give an incestuous cult of what? 15 people? so much power that we are willing to give up our own rights just to see them silenced.

I really can't imagine a better summary of the situation.  Paragraphs upon paragraphs couldn't do better than this.

I think if there's anyone in these cases that deserves our pity, it's the Phelps children who are indoctrinated into this insanity at such a young age.

Also a valid point.

Offline Funguy81Topic starter

The Daily Show - Tales of Principled Behavior


There you go. His comments are funny and sums the WBC folks I think

That made me smile.  ;D

Offline Callie Del Noire

That made me smile.  ;D

Made me wonder too. How much of the WBC issues are ways for the church to sue others and keep things tax free? I mean they stuck the father who took them to the Supreme Court with their lawyer bills (who are basically all Phelps family members it looks like)

Offline Inkidu

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Sadly the only thing freedom of speech does not protect is lies.

And opinions are not lies.

You also cannot defame a dead person.

That's the way the law is, and yes they have a right to spew hateful things public places just like the Neo-Nazis or the KKK.

It sucks, it's not right, but it's a constitutional freedom. :(

Offline Shjade

Why isn't there a masked vigilante group about this?
You mean Anonymous?

Granted, they didn't do anything to the WBC until those folks were dumb enough to directly call them out, but it's basically what you wanted. Aside from the violence.

Offline Callie Del Noire

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7358616n

Face the Nation's take on their 'win'.

Offline Brandon

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7358616n

Face the Nation's take on their 'win'.

Wow, he said it far better then I ever could.


Online Zeitgeist

Wow, he said it far better then I ever could.

Which is precisely what I suggested earlier. Buffer zones, and drown out their hate speech with reasonable speech.

Yeah I'm not thrilled about this decision at all, even if I understand it and ultimately support the spirit of it. The remedy though is to take that very same freedom of speech upheld by the courts and turn it back on WBC, and drown them out with condemnation. Those Hells Angel motorcycle inspired organizations need to be supported and encouraged to continue their efforts and get between the families and WBC at every turn. Their churches need to be picketed (legally) and they need to be made aware their behavior and words are wholly reprehensible. I don't suggest anyone will change their minds, I only suggest their awful message be drown out by the din of more reasonable speech.

Offline RubySlippers

Sadly the only thing freedom of speech does not protect is lies.

And opinions are not lies.

You also cannot defame a dead person.

That's the way the law is, and yes they have a right to spew hateful things public places just like the Neo-Nazis or the KKK.

It sucks, it's not right, but it's a constitutional freedom. :(

I prefer it over Europe where if your a holocaust denier, neo-nazi or other wackjob you can be arrested in several nations if you did nothing wrong but have an unpopular view. I say get this bile out in the open to the light of day and show how stupid it is for those with small minds.

Offline Brandon

I prefer it over Europe where if your a holocaust denier, neo-nazi or other wackjob you can be arrested in several nations if you did nothing wrong but have an unpopular view. I say get this bile out in the open to the light of day and show how stupid it is for those with small minds.

and that model is a near perfect way to eventually rob everyone of their freedoms and turn our nation into a dictatorship. Step 1: Lable everyone you dont agree with as wackjobs Step 2: Arrest said people, placing them in prisons/camps or fine them till future financial stability is a pipe dreamStep 3: Appeal to the public on how "wrong" they were Step 5: Repeat till all semblance of freedom to think for or be oneself is gone

Ok thats worst case scenario and unlikely to happen without a Machiavellian villain at the head but I am against any kind of law that prevents the free expression of ideas/beliefs whether it be religious, philosophical, and/or political in nature.