Schenk V United states is THE free speech case (round about from espionage acts but...) the yelling fire came from that case the Oliver Wendell Holmes decision. Worth looking up if you really want to get more in the SC due process on free speech. Also check out Eugene V Debbs.... He brought it al up in a case involving socialism... he has a GREAT speech but it is near impossible to find in its entirety. I have it printed but can't remember where I got it (ticked me off when I wanted to use it for research and couldn't refind the source!) I know it was some socialist newspaper... I will have to go back in old notes to find it. (I had to analyze an excerpt of the speech)
Location: Temporary Resident of Earth Lord Only Knows Where Next
Re: Free Speech?
As much as these people sicken me, I must agree with the court's ruling. The 1st amendment is one of our most precious rights and any government throttling of it is a slippery slope indeed. Phelps and his followers (Mostly family members) are an embarrassment to the country. The best we can hope for is for the municipalities and states to provide proper safeguards for the families in proper assemblage and limits on how close they can demonstrate to a funeral. My state has a 500' limit that is strictly enforced. We had a soldier killed in Iraq buried at our church a couple of years ago and the Phelps crew showed up. The police made sure they obeyed the law and the Patriot Guard Riders were also there to show support for the family. Phelps and his crew were a vast minority and the family of the felled soldier saw that and saw the community support.
Phelps and his followers are the extreme examples of ideologues that only see things their way and try to project those ideals on others through hatred. Our first amendment is designed to protect us all from just such groups. It is no secret that the supreme court has been politicized for many years now and any restrictions on the first amendment from the court could take us down a road we don't want to travel. Whether it be the Conservative side or the Liberal. Freedom comes with its own kind of baggage and I'll carry it gladly.
I agree with Amp...though some states are behind in enacting laws protecting those funerals. I really would like to see them limit the times they can protest. Making them stay a distance away is good, too. "We the people" can be very good at that sometimes, in the absence of laws.
I just read this evening where the father has said he thinks at some point these protests are going to end in gunfire, as he said "with all the Marines and other soldiers coming home with PTSD, and the protesters are going to go to the wrong funeral." (not the exact quote)
I think he's right. And truthfully, I can't say I'd blame anyone either for doing it. It wouldn't be right, but I can definitely see the frustration being so great that someone snaps and does it. I have a cousin currently in the Marines, and we are not the best of friends but I sincerely hope nothing ever happens to him. But if it did, I'd be so angry if these people showed up like that. My cousin and I have major differences of opinion and our personalities clash, but I still believe he deserves more respect than that. And his mom and dad would deserve to grieve without a spectacle going on, as would my grandparents, and the rest of my family.
I just find it incredible that these people wouldn't even have the right to protest like this if it weren't for military personnel being willing to fight and give their lives to gain and then preserve that right, and this is how they repay that. Of course, given their hate-filled, insane freakish attitudes, I suppose I really shouldn't be all that surprised that they would be so...ungrateful isn't even the right word. I don't even know what to call it.
Wendy, I don't know anyone that thinks what the hate mongers are doing is right. But most believe in protecting the first amendment right. And it's b/c like other things involving the government, we fear that they wouldn't know where to stop. I have often wondered how our forefathers would have worded the Constitution if they'd had the same issues back then that we face in today's world.
The father said exactly what most people think as well, about not being surprised if some Vet somewhere who isn't quite "right", opens up with gunfire. People see it coming, even if the government is slow to catch on.
Have you ever been to their website? I have. I was infuriated. Livid. Angry enough to send them an email, which I knew wouldn't be answered since they plainly state they won't answer emails (that are against their own beliefs). I sent it anyway, knowing that someone, somewhere would read it. I wasn't rude and hateful...I don't believe you fight hate with more hate. I just wanted to be heard.
The grown ups can do what they want...but it's the children they involve that makes me shudder even more. These kids are going to grow up and perpetrate more hate into the world, since it's what they've been indoctrinated to do. The kids are probably larger in numbers than the grown ups, though I don't know this for a fact.
All I know is that they must not believe in the same God I do. My God might hate the sin, but loves the sinner. And that would include homosexuals. It also includes the members of the Westboro baptist church. Much like those of us with kids...we might hate some of the things they do, but we love them regardless.
I just think that every town who has a fallen soldier, regardless of size of that town, needs to come out in force for the funeral. Make it impossible for them to reach the family in any way. In the absence of a solution, right now that's all we've got.
I often wonder why more people do not combat the protest when they show up, except that there seems to be a general desire to completely ignore them. Even the regular news channels have taken quite a stand on this. Papers don't want to report they were there. Kinda like when you tell a child "well if you ignore them theywill eventually stop... all they are looking for is your reaction"
I have been to their website. I considered sending an e-mail, I've even considered writing an article about them, but decided against both. They really are just out for the attention. One of them, I don't remember which one, has a twitter account. I checked out her tweets one day, and pretty much everything was about how this article, or that newscast, gave them more publicity. And it wasn't even a "more publicity for our cause; we're spreading the word of our beliefs", it was "ooh, look, they're looking at us again, let's do that some more so they keep looking at us."
Given that attitude, it does at first glance seem that ignoring them would be the way to get them to stop. But it obviously hasn't worked. It's definitely time to take a new stance.
I've heard about the Patriot Guard Riders, and I think they are great. I know a lot of bikers, I grew up in that lifestyle. I would be beyond thrilled if, say, the Hell's Angels showed up to protect a funeral, or any other event these people protest at.
You know, my ex-husband and I do not get along; I freely admit to not liking him, and I'm sure he feels the same about me. And for years, I thought there would never be anyone who could make me angrier or like them less than he does. This "church" has proven me wrong. And when you're horrible enough to get my ex off my sh*t list, you've gotta be pretty bad. lol
Hate requires a reaction, fuel to build. they are never totally ignored, and when they are, they step it up for attention (now they have their little court case that will fuel them for quite a while, esp since it puts them back in the news).
The more people that refuse to give them ANYTHING the more likely it is they will fall away (or we can poison their food, making them all sterile and eventually their species will die out) OK I hope I don't end up arrested for saying that LOL
The thing is...even without the publicity, they are going to continue to protest the funerals of fallen soldiers (most likely). There are usually many people at a funeral (especially a soldiers), and that would be enough people for them to be satisfied.
This is why I continue to think that the families should be protected. By the public, if nothing else. *Somebody* has to stand up for them. They interviewed the father of the soldiers funeral that the public turned out enmasse for. He was overwhelmed by the community support. It meant everything to them to have the public support for them in that way. I'd do it again. I hope I don't have to.
The point is, lack of publicity isn't going to stop them. They'll simply send smaller numbers of "protesters" to the funeral, as they did in the local case. They knew there wouldn't be mass media coverage..so they send 2 women and 4 kids. It was still enough to cause the family grievous harm. It's very hard to stop the hate.