The Instigator
Itsallovernow
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points
The Contender
rkkell
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Snyder vs. Wesboro Baptist Church

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,748 times Debate No: 13336
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

Itsallovernow

Pro

I would like this to be a reasonable debate. Pro assumes the case of Albert Snyder, and Con will assume the Westboro case. Primarily, this scopes the right to privacy and to grieve vs. the constitutional amendment to protest under the First Amendment. The only rule is that you can not use the Supreme Court ruling as evidence in the debate. Good luck in the debate, Con.

=Opening Statement=

In a nation ravenged by war, it is universally beholden as truth that the lives given to protect another in our military are sacred and consecreated.
"We have come to dedicate a portion of (this) field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives so that a nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." (Abraham Lincolin, Gettysburg Address)

The story is one of sorrow. A young Marine, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, gave his life for our country's survival. On the beginning of a quiet day of his funeral, with his parents, friends and family grieving at his memory and ultimate sacrifice, cries rang through the air. Let it be known that on that solemn day, there was a protest held at his funeral, with claims "Thank God for dead soldiers." and "Praise God for dead soldiers/Thank God for 9/11!"

What I say is not an exaggeration, though I wish it was. According to wphtv.com "The group said soldiers deserve to die for fighting for a country that tolerates homosexuality."

=Contentions=

1. The right to protest should not overlap a right to privacy and to grieve.
The goal of the church was to demonstrate him and his death, not as an honored sacrifice, but as a dishonorable attempt to protect an undeserving country. They held this protest immediately outside, and at the same time, as the funeral process. This was to intentially and maliciously damage the memory of this soldier. He will be dead forever, yet they chose his burial time, the peak time of his death, to dishonor him.

2. It was the intention of the church to damage the memory of this soldier and harm his family and friends.
At the loss of their only son, the family grieved as best as they could with the cries that his death was deserved barraging them. I would like the audience to imagine the incident, close your eyes for a moment if you will and really envision it. Someone you love, dead, dying to defend the rights of people. Meanwhile, people exercise the rights Snyder died for to dishonor his memory and sacrifice.

=Conclusion=

I stand firm that the protest should have been carried out at a different time or a different place at the time of the funeral, so it would not lap over the right to grieve. What they did was reprehensible, and it was their intention to harm and is so their claim that he deserved to die because he defends a country that is "tolerant" of homosexuals.

1. http://www.kake.com......
2. http://www.whptv.com......
rkkell

Con

"The issue is freedom of speech and of the press—i.e., the right to hold any view and to express it. It is not very inspiring to fight for the freedom of the purveyors of pornography or their customers. But in the transition to statism, every infringement of human rights has begun with the suppression of a given right's least attractive practitioners. In this case, the disgusting nature of the offenders makes it a good test of one's loyalty to a principle (1)."

Ayn Rand was writing of the problem of defending pornographers' free speech rights, but her words ring true in this case as well. The actions taken by the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) are both disgusting and immoral. They are an affront to everything we believe or hold dear. The Con is absolutely appalled and offended by the filth and hate flowing from the WBC – and this is precisely why their right to speak must be protected.

Freedom of speech is a worthless ideal if it is intended to protect only that which is popular. What need is there to protect the majority opinion? Rather, it the opinions that we find repugnant that are most deserving of the protection guaranteed by the constitution. Freedom of speech is ultimately aimed at protecting the rebels, the dissidents, and the heretics – those whose opinions would otherwise be all too conveniently silenced.

The Con will maintain the following 2 contentions throughout the debate:
1) Free speech is essential to a free society, and
2) Freedom of speech protects unpopular speech.

The Con proposes the following definition for clarity:
1) Military Funeral honors:"The rendering of military funeral honors is the ceremonial paying of respect and the final demonstration of the country's gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our Nation (3)."

The Con would also like to submit the following voting criteria: this should be a debate of ideas conducted in a logical manner. The rules of logic should govern the debate, and the winner should be the advocate who better demonstrates the logic of their position, as opposed to the one that the voter may be emotionally drawn to.

Contention 1) Free Speech is essential to a free society.

According to the US Dept. of State, "If there is one right prized above all others in a democratic society, it is freedom of speech. The ability to speak one's mind, to challenge the political orthodoxies of the times, to criticize the policies of the government without fear of recrimination by the state is the essential distinction between life in a free country and in a dictatorship. (2)"

Every power that has ever attempted to dominate mankind has begun to do so by limiting who has the right to say what. The single most important weapon in the arsenal of the free man is not his might or his arms but his voice. The citizen who is not permitted to speak against a perceived injustice is a slave already.

An ACLU Briefing Paper states: "Restrictions on freedom of speech always authorize the government to decide how, and against whom, the restrictions should apply. The more authority the government has, the more it will use that authority to suppress unpopular minorities, criticism and dissent. Because freedom of expression is so basic to a free society, the ACLU believes that it should 'never' be abridged by the government (4)."

Contention 2) Freedom of speech protects unpopular speech.

Civil rights leader Dr. Hussein Ibish writes: "It's not an intuitively easy concept to grasp, but the only freedom that really counts is the freedom to be wrong. If virtually everyone agrees that something makes sense, it need not be protected by absolute guarantees of personal liberty. It's only when an action or concept seems obviously and completely wrong, even immoral, to large majorities and social mainstreams that it requires a robust constitutional defense (5)."

The United States was founded upon the principle of popular government – majority rule. However, from the beginning, our Founding Fathers recognized that unrestrained popular government would quickly destroy the individual freedoms that they had just fought to establish. The bill of rights was created as a check against the majority in defense of the minorities. And the first of the individual rights to be guaranteed against the majority was the right to free speech.

Harry S. Truman noted: "Everybody has the right to express what he thinks. That, of course, lets the crackpots in. But if you cannot tell a crackpot when you see one, then you ought to be taken in (6)."

Turning now to the Pro's arguments, my opponent contends that the right to protest should not overlap a right to privacy and to grieve. First, some facts for clarification. The protest was held as a lawful assembly in a designated area that was not visible from the funeral procession or the burial site (7). Albert Snyder, the father of the fallen Marine, was not even aware of the protest until he saw news reports after the funeral (7). Further, the right of a family to mourn privately ought to be protected; however, the right to protest against the government is vital to the conservation of our liberties and is guaranteed by the first amendment. Lance Corporeal Matthew Snyder was buried with military honors as directed by law. This makes his funeral, or at least those portions of it which were conducted at public expense, a government action. The Pro wants to convince you that the freedom of speech should not include the right to protest government actions, which is the entire point of the constitutional protection in the first place!

Next, the Pro contends that it was the intention of the church to damage the memory of this soldier and harm his family and friends. However, he neglects to mention that the protestor's signs did not mention Snyder by name, and that the protests were directed against the nation and the military, not the Snyder family (8). Further, the lower court ruled in this case that the protestors stated beliefs and that no false facts were claimed against the soldier or his family (7).

The Pro has not given us a compelling logical case, but an emotional appeal against the outrageous actions of the WBC. The Con completely agrees - these actions were evil, repugnant, and completely constitutional. As, ACLU Legal Director Steven Shapiro notes: "The First Amendment really was designed to protect a debate at the fringes…You don't need the courts to protect speech that everybody agrees with, because that speech will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect speech that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive — because that is when the majority will wield its power to censor or suppress, and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that (9)."

A vote for the Con is not a vote for the WBC, but a vote for the very thing that makes America great, our dedication to the preservation of a free society upon the earth. I urge you to vote Con.

(1) http://aynrandlexicon.com...
(2) http://www.america.gov...
(3) http://www.dod.gov...
(4) http://www.lectlaw.com...
(5) http://www.ibishblog.com...
(6) http://www.famousquotes.com...
(7) http://www.dailyfinance.com...
(8) http://www.masslive.com...
(9) http://www.npr.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Itsallovernow

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate, Con.

My opponent gives many viable arguements, all of them in support of the liberty of freedom of speech, the ideal so very practiced by our great nation. I too support this, and the right to freedom of speech is irrefutable and undeniable. There are, however, many cases that have questioned the freedom of speech in extenuating circumstances.

New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964, Gertz v. Robert Welch, 1974, HustlerMagazine v. Falwell, 1988, Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 1990 (http://www.usatoday.com...)

The question of whether or not they have the ability to the 1st Amendment is not in question, so my opponent's stance is not a proper one to take in this case. The debate is measuring which right has more priority. In this case, I believe it is with Snyder.

=REBUTTALS=

The matter of unpopularity is not the issue. You said yourself that these statements made by them are "evil, repugnant, and...hate(ful)". Therein, my friend, lies the issue. These verbal missles of hate were launched as close as they could be in proximity to the funeral. There was no purpose other than to target this funeral, antagonize, and torture an already emotionally distressed audience. In this hazardous offense, they endanger the saftey of others by targeting this emotionally distressed audience. I would like to point out the government recognized it as a hazard, because they sent SWAT, Paramedics, local, state, and sheriff police agencies. They did make many referances to him like, "He's going to burn in hell."

The government, above all else, is sworn to protect it's people, even if it infringes upon some 'garunteed' rights.

An example of this is during wartime. Industrial production can be regulated by the government. Also, prices and rations may be administered (against general constitutionality) because it is understood that this must be done to protect the government. The government has censored newspapers and people during times of war as well to quell domestic uprisings after WWI. This was done to protect the people.

From your definition of military honors, this critera was not met, for he was not buried with the paying of respect or with gratitude. They imeded a FEDERAL LAW. Furthermore, Mr. Snyder knew that they were there doing that, because the funeral procession had to have been rerouted and he stated "A father should not have to look away from anything at his own son's funeral."

=NOTES=

My opponent assumes the wrong stance on this debate. I know as well as he the importance of the 1st Amendment, and I am not arguing that.

However, I do not understand the deliberate intention of the WBC to maliciously damage the memory of this solider and over 400,000 other funerals.

=CONCLUSION=

It is my purposal they could have done this protest at some other time or some other place, but not as close as they could to the funeral, nor should they have caused a domestic uprising. The main thing this thing has so much attention is not because of what they said, but in the manner they said it and that they said it at this solder's burial day, during the time his memory was supposed to recieve "military honors".

I disapprove of my opponents patrotic appeal by his specific urge to vote. However, I myself simply urge you to VOTE PRO.
rkkell

Con

My opponent frames the terms of the debate in his opening statement as follows: "Primarily, this scopes the right to privacy and to grieve vs. the constitutional amendment to protest under the First Amendment." However, when I, as the Con, adopt the stance that the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) near the funeral of Lance Corporeal Snyder, my opponent in responds by saying "The question of whether or not they have the ability to the 1st Amendment is not in question, so my opponent's stance is not a proper one to take in this case." Since the debate was framed and accepted as a question of the right to privacy against the freedom of speech, my opponent's suddenly moving the target is abusive. I ask you to disregard any arguments that follow this track.
This debate was framed as a question of free speech versus privacy in the real world.
The Con's position, as stated previously, is that the right to free speech is essential for the preservation of a free society, and that this right is most strenuously protected when the speech in question is unpopular.
Next, my opponent in his rebuttal makes several contradictory statements that serve to undermine his case. He first states that "the right to freedom of speech is irrefutable and undeniable." While I appreciate the concession on this point, I would be inclined to disagree – there are clearly cases in which the government has the right to limit speech, however, the situation in discussion is not such a case. We'll return to this point shortly. Back to my opponent's contradictions, the very next statement he makes is to say that there are in fact some cases in which the freedom of speech should be limited. Pro, free speech cannot be both "undeniable" and denied in certain cases. I also refer you to the moving target mentioned earlier – that this debate is about free speech but not about free speech. These contradictions on the most basic points of contention tend to call into question the validity of his reasoning in this debate.
My opponent misunderstands the importance of the fact of military honors to this case. Military honors refer to the ceremonial embellishments provided by the government that accompany a private funeral. The presence of government personnel on official duty as required by Federal law makes this a government action. The nature of the speech in question was a protest of governmental policies. The First Amendment exists specifically to protect speech that is critical of government policies and actions. Therefore, the actions of the WBC were clearly protected by the First Amendment.
The Pro lists several Supreme Court decisions to support his statement that "There are, however, many cases that have questioned the freedom of speech in extenuating circumstances." I would like to look at each of these cases in more detail.
New York Times v. Sullivan, 1964 – "The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity) (1)." With this decision, the Court set the standard that speech could not be restricted simply because it contains false statements. In order to restrict the speech, the plaintiff needs to show that the speaker made statements that they believed to be false when they were uttered, or with reckless disregard to the truthfulness of the statements. The standard applies specifically in libel cases. Since the WBC protestors were expressing statements of belief rather than fact, this standard of actual malice is not met, meaning that the protestor's speech is protected under the First Amendment. This case supports the Con position.
Gertz v. Robert Welch, 1974 – the Court decided that private plaintiffs in defamation cases do not have to prove actual malice, unlike public figures, because of the resources typically available to public figures. However, the decision differentiated between false facts and false ideas. According to the Court, "Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea. However pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas (2)." Since the protestors were expressing ideas rather than facts, this ruling also works to bolster the Con's position.
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 1988 - in this case, the Court ruled that"…in the world of debate about public affairs, many things done with motives that are less than admirable are protected by the First Amendment. In Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U. S. 64 (1964), we held that even when a speaker or writer is motivated by hatred or ill will his expression was protected by the First Amendment: ‘Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth.' (3)." Once again, this ruling strengthens the Con position that the WBC protests were constitutionally protected.
Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co., 1990 was a narrow ruling that served mainly to reaffirm the Court's previous stances on the protection the First Amendment gives to statements of opinion. The court ruled "…a statement of opinion relating to matters of public concern which does not contain a provably false factual connotation will receive full constitutional protection (4)." Since the WBC statements such as "God hates f*gs" and "He's going to burn in h*ll" are not provably false facts, these statements should receive "full constitutional protection."
The Pro failed to provide evidence for his claim that the WBC protestors "intended to maliciously damage the memory of this soldier." Malicious intent is a legal status, and such claims cannot be made without sufficient evidence. Therefore, this line of argument should be disregarded and considered dropped. The Pro fails also to provide evidence regarding "400,000 other funerals." Therefore, again, any arguments relating to other funerals must be disregarded and should be considered dropped from the remainder of the debate.
My opponent has failed to articulate a position of privacy as a right, therefore this line of argumentation should be disregarded and considered dropped. He has also failed to articulate a right to grieve, therefore this line of argumentation should be disregarded and considered dropped. The pro has failed to answer the Con's contentions that free speech is essential to a free society and that free speech protects unpopular speech. This failure amounts to a concession of these arguments.
This leaves the debate solely on the question of freedom of speech under the First Amendment. To win, the Pro will have to prove that the WBC's statements rise to a level that requires them to be restricted under the First Amendment. These statements are deplorable, but based on the evidence offered by the Pro, these statements are also constitutionally protected.
The Pro has failed to make a logical case in favor of privacy or the right to grieve. The Pro has made contradictory statements, including an abusive attempt to reframe the debate. The Pro has provided compelling evidence in favor of the Con's position. My contentions have not been refuted. For these reasons, I urge you to vote Con.

(1)http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org...
(2)http://scholar.google.com...
(3)http://scholar.google.com...
(4)http://scholar.google.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Itsallovernow

Pro

Thank you, again, for the debate.

Con, I am not saying they do not have a right to free speech. They have a right to shout what they said to the high heavens if they so please. However, the do not have the right to infringe upon others. This is not a common case, and therefore can not be defined by the common factor of general free speech. In wartime, this same principal applies that the government can deny certain rights. This too is not a common case, so it can not be commonly viewed. The extenuating circumstances provide for a broader view of things.

The entire reason the government, in wartime, denies rights is when it serves to "protect the people", the first and formost job of government. In this, they CAN DENY rights based on the principal of "domestic tranquility" and "protect(ing) the people".

The question is not whether or not they have the right to free speech just as the question is not they have the right to privacy and to grieve, the question is "Which right has more precedence?" In this, I believe it is Snyder, for the protest staged did not promote "domestic tranquility" nor to have many departments of police and ambulances there because of their outrages immorality. Morality, I will concede, is not the primary defense of mine, but when it causes and INTERNATIONAL UPROAR, the public view must be taken into account, for their actions created a civil disturbance. Yes, they have the right to say what they want, but it is not every day that the 1st Amendment is taken to such an extreme that it invokes the attention of the world, the Supreme Court, and infringes upon the rights of others. Again, this case can not be viewed commonly by saying, "They can say what they want because it's in the 1st Amendment". On the basis of "domestic tranquility", I stand in the Affirmitive of this resolution.

Again, I would like to emphasize to my opponent that just saying they have the right to free speech does not mean that is a contention. I could say you are wrong, Con, by stating they have the right to privacy, but where would that get us? You must provide more evidence!

The right to speech is not key to preservation of a society. They key is "domestic tranquility". To do that, some rights have to be garunteed. In extreme circumstances, such as this, they must be limited or revoked. Yes, some rights in some circumstances, must be revoked or limited, and they have, as I have proven. Doing this IS, I repeat, IS legal in extreme cases!

My opponent misunderstands me when I say the right to freedom of speech is irrefutable and undeniable, for he failed to mention the next sentence which states "There are, however, many cases that have questioned the freedom of speech in extenuating circumstances."

My opponent agrees here with the very point I'm trying to make. "...there are clearly cases in which the government has the right to limit speech, however, the situation in discussion is not such a case." I contend, yes, this is a case. If it is taken to the Supreme Court because the extreme action is was taken out and nationally caused offense, yes, this right must be limited or revoked.

Right after you said they have the right to limit speech you stated, "Pro, free speech cannot be both "undeniable" and denied in certain cases." Yes, it can, and you contradicted yourself. This debate is NOT about free speech, it just includes it. The debate is about which right has more presendence. Imagine a boxing match, with the ring as the Supreme Court and the ref the Judges. The two contenders are Privacy vs. Speech. They're both there, they both have a right to be there, but which is stronger? That one will win, and I believe it lies with Privacy. The gloves on Speech were injected with mercury, to extremize Speech's game. This, in boxing, is declared unfair, such as it is in reality.

My opponent contends that free speech is essential to government policies. It is a part, but it is not the primary. That is the right to petition.

Furthermore, this funeral was NOT private. It was public, else they would not have known about it and the WBC stated that if miliitary funerals will be held PUBLIC, they will be there to protest. You fail to mention, as well, that they were not protesting military honors, nor were they protesting soldiers, but they stated their beliefs that it is God's will that they die if they fight for a country that tolerates homosexuals. They did not argue a specific policy, so how am I to know what their specific intentions were other than to harass this soldier by screaming that he'll burn in hell? You even state, "... Since the WBC protestors were expressing statements of belief rather than fact..."!

The cases mentioned were of slander, and that is not the case here. I am not saying they slandered him, even you agree by stating he was not called by name. My case is that they disrupted the right to privacy, not that they comitted the criminal offense of slander. While I can not sufficently prove that they were intending to damage the memory of the soldier, it is beyond reasonable doubt. They targeted the funeral, shouted that he'll "Burn in hell" with picket signs and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers!". They targeted the funeral with signs like this, but since they did not call him by name, it would have to be a court decision whether it was slander, and that isn't the question in this case that was asked by Snyder.

The right to privacy is here, in the Bill of Rights: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Amendment IX

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Amendment X

In this case, it is reserved for the people, particuarly Mr. Snyder.

I repectfully assert that this debate and Court case is not "soley on freedom of speech", I never contradicted myself, that their right should be restricted in this case, I have given the right to grieve, and I firmly (somewhat indignantly) assert that I have not, in any way, abused anything to reframe the debate. I never supported you, Con. I stated, in ordinary cases, the right to freedom of speech is essential, undeniable, and irrefutable. However, I have proven, and it stands proven on the Supreme Court floor, that this is NOT an ordinary case.

http://www.tenthamendmentcenter.com...
http://www.law.umkc.edu...

=VOTE PRO=
rkkell

Con

I would like to begin by apologizing for the arguments I'm about to make. No one likes debating debate, but occasionally the technicalities matter. Debate can be defined as "A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition (1)." Debate is different from simple discussion because "[d]ebate is basically an argument where participants take a particular stand on a given topic and stick to it as they speak on it. Group discussion is a cooperative process in which members discuss a topic with a view to reach group consensus. You need to be very flexible in a group discussion. That is you consider others' points of view also. However, you need to have just one particular view point in a debate (2)."

I bring this up because, although I haven't seen any "rules" on this site, debate, by its formalized nature, possesses certain inherent rule or guidelines. The particular rule I'd like to draw attention to is that no new arguments can be initiated in rebuttal speeches (3). This is only my second debate here, and I invite correction from the community if I'm wrong on this issue. Again, this is not the fun side of debate.

My opponent has chosen the 3rd round to introduce the following arguments:

"On the basis of "domestic tranquility", I stand in the Affirmitive of this resolution.

The right to privacy is here, in the Bill of Rights: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Amendment IX

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Amendment X

In this case, it is reserved for the people, particuarly Mr. Snyder."

I respectfully ask the judging community to disregard any arguments along any of these lines, as the Pro failed to initiate these arguments during the constructive portion of the debate. Their introduction at this point is abusive to the Con.

Now on to my opponent's arguments. My question for the Pro is "WHY?"

The pro asserts that the Snyder case is one in which the freedom of speech should be limited or revoked. Why? On what basis should the government infringe upon the rights of its citizens? The Pro has failed to give us a standard that would justify the limiting of the freedom of speech in this case. The Pro has offered several Supreme court decisions that support the Con position, but has not presented one shred of evidence to support his claim that this is a case in which the freedom of speech should be limited. Therefore, according to the evidence offered by the Pro, you cannot vote in favor of limiting speech in this case.

The pro asserts without evidence that the government has the right to limit speech in extreme cases such as war. Without evidence, this assertion is meaningless; however, I'll go ahead and give the Pro a hand here. The case he likely refers to that set the standard for the government's limitation of free speech on security grounds is Schenck v. United States, (1919). According to the Court, "The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent (4)." For this argument to stand, the Pro would have to prove that the WBC's words constituted a "clear and present danger" to the United States. The Pro has failed in this burden, and by this and every other standard offered, the freedom of speech should not be infringed in this case.

The Pro has stated that the issue in this debate is which we as a society should prioritize, the freedom of speech or the "right to privacy and to grieve." However, he has given us no right to privacy or right to grieve. He has not challenged my contention that freedom of speech is essential to a free society – in fact, he concurred, to wit: "I too support this, and the right to freedom of speech is irrefutable and undeniable." My opponent did attempt an answer in his new arguments which the con has previously rejected as abusive. However, I will answer to one point on the argument. The Pro states "The right to speech is not key to preservation of a society." I would have to agree, it is not essential to every society. The Nazi's nearly overran all of Europe without the freedom of speech. The Soviets had a pretty good run denying the freedom of speech. In fact, the bulk of historical societies existed with extremely limited speech. However, a FREE society cannot exist without the freedom of speech stringently safeguarded. Society will continue if we deny the freedom of speech, but it will not be a free society, and it will not be a society worthy of the deaths of American servicemen and women.

My opponent also failed to answer my contention that the freedom of speech protects unpopular speech. This becomes critical because my opponent has failed to provide evidence to support his claim that this is a case that deserves the Court's intervention against the WBC's right to free speech. Rather than provide some proof, the Pro relies on the argument that essentially, people didn't like what the WBC said, so it should be limited. He relies on the inherent unpopularity of the message as his sole support for limiting the freedom of speech – it caused an international uproar and national outrage. This is precisely why it must be protected. In any lesser society, people do not possess the right to say what others don't want to hear. In our society, however, there have been many cases when the unpopular opinion emerged as the true one – such as the anti-slavery movement and the civil rights movement. And even if it is not correct, the idea still deserves its chance in the marketplace of ideas so that it may be exposed for the foolishness that we all believe it to be.

My opponent has failed to present any reason why the freedom of speech should be limited in this case. He has failed to provide any affirmative case to vote for. Neither the right to privacy nor to grieve have been affirmed in this debate. Therefore, the only voting issue remaining is whether or not the freedom of speech should be limited. Since every single bit of evidence offered by the Pro supports the Con's case, since the Pro has failed to advance any standard that would negate the freedom of speech in this circumstance, since the pro has failed to refute my arguments with evidence or reason, as outlined in the Con's voting criterion, for all these reasons, you must vote Con.

(1) http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
(2) http://www.myengg.com...
(3) http://facweb.eths.k12.il.us...
(4)http://scholar.google.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Itsallovernow

Pro

In the rebuttal rounds, no new arguements can be presented. However, it is defined thusly:

"Rebuttal -
���‚��� The speech act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument
���‚��� A form of evidence that is presented to contradict or nullify other evidence that has been presented by an adverse party. (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)"

I did not create new arguements, but went by the definition of rebuttal. To argue that my rebuttals are entirely new arguements that have no relevance to previous discussion in this forum is not a rational debate, which you submited this to being a rational debate in the first round. Respectfully, there is no technicality to be had here, but I applaud that you did not revert this to your only stance for this round, but moved on to continue to rebut.

My opponent states, "I respectfully ask the judging community to disregard any arguments along any of these lines, as the Pro failed to initiate these arguments during the constructive portion of the debate." This I do not understand, Con. I made the arguement that these rights are retained. You stated that I did not provide a source, and, since you had so politely indicated, I provided your source. These are not new arguements, but sources to arguements I have already stated solely because you asked to see the source.

Sir, I keep on telling you that THIER RIGHT TO SPEECH SHOULD BE LIMITED OR REVOKED BASED ON THE PRINCIPAL OF GOVERNMENT WHICH IS SOLELY TO PROVIDE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY! This includes civil homeostatis, economic success, diplomatic affairs with foriegn nations, etc. It is not limited to military efforts, because there are certain hazards in our country that cause such an uproar. These "Church" members did not just have an outragous opinion, they targeted this already emotionally distressed audience along with (and excuse the 440,000, for that was a typo) 44,000 funerals!

IF they had stated these opinions without zeroing in upon a grieving (which is a right in and of itself), it would have been protected under the first amendment, but since they wanted to infringe, since they CHOSE to infringe, upon others' rights, they deserve to be voted against in the Supreme Court. They have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to use this speech to impede a federal process and torture the families of the dead who retain the right to grieve. The WBC robbed them of the right to grieve along with 44,000 other families, and it's time this targeting was stopped.

I would like to cite 2 quotes from http://en.wikipedia.org... :

"On the lead-up to the picket [the first picket to be held by Americans in the UK against homosexuality and picketing in general], a number of MPs, lobby groups and LGBT groups appealed to the UK's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith,[99] requesting these individuals be blocked from entering the UK,[100] on the basis that WBC would be inciting hatred towards LGBT people. On February 18, 2009, two days before the intended picket date, the Home Office announced that Fred Phelps and Shirley Phelps-Roper would be specifically excluded from entering the UK for having "engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities", and that "other church members could also be flagged and stopped if they tried to enter Britain".[101][102][103]

An alliance of six UK religious groups (the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Evangelical Alliance UK, Faithworks, Methodist Church of Great Britain, United Reformed Church and Bible Society-funded thinktank Theos) made a joint statement on February 19, 2009 in support of the government's decision and condemning the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church saying, "We do not share [Westboro's] hatred of lesbian and gay people. We believe that God loves all, irrespective of sexual orientation, and we unreservedly stand against their message of hate toward those communities"

This "Church" has been banned from our greatest allied country for its extreme intolerance of homosexuals, condemend by organizations of the multitudes in and of it's own specialty (religious practice), and it has caused an international uproar that has millions screaming against them. *pounds desk* This can be viewed as such a molested abuse of the First Amendment in such a degree, that it breaks the definition for it in a way that could not be concieved by the (highly-sane and intelligent) minds of our forefathers, who saw no possibility of the ignorance towards LGBT people! Not only does it reflect injustice at the right infringement, but it endangers our country to the degree that our own, most powerful ally in war and peace has banned the group! THIS ENDANGERS OUR COUNTRY IN MANY ASPECTS! Thier abused right should be revoked (or limited) based on this! My logic is undeniable.

You wanted the danger? There it is. I fear that their intolerance of LGBT and verbal hate missles will incite actions against them, for they have already disgraced and endangered our relations with Britain! (Domestic tranquility!)

"He has given us no right to privacy or right to grieve." I HAVE GIVEN YOU THE RIGHT! Amendment IX and X which you declared a new arguement! Goodness gracious, son, READ!!!

Your points on Nazi's and Russains are irrelevant and biased. Communism is ran by the government and has different governmental values. If you wanted an accurate claim, you should have chosen a Capitalistic nation that limits speech, but you can not give examples of government with totally different framework and MO. Besides, I'm not saying to deny the entire country's right to free speech, just the WBC in this case.

You state that denying the right to freedom of speech would not be worth the deaths of American servicemen and women. What of this speech by the WBC that denied the right to grieve (of which I have proven as a right)? Anyone, government or civilain, denying the right to grieve is not worthy of the deaths, especially the one the WBC protested and the other 44,000 they protested!

The government protects unpopular speech, but the government does not allow and will not stand by as verbal assault tactics are enacted under the claim of free speech to pass boarders of rights so that they infringe upon each other with unrestrained tyrannical intent to monopolize all rights on the basis that one right has the supremecy to overlap another! This land and all it's rights are equal and it should not be admissable that these perpitraters endanger the saftey of others with hate words and steal rights away from others!

They use this umbrella right to control other rights! They robbed this family of their right to grieve and the right to privacy, the last and only memory of their son. It is this influence that will not be allowed, and I stand firmly against it.

And my opponent states "Rather than provide some proof, the Pro relies on the arguement that essentially, people didn't like what the WBC said, so it should be limited." My proof is right here! The evidence you claimed invalid and so refuse to address. They verbally torture families, hand out flyers in advance like it's some sort of sick circus. Just because it cause an outrage and uproar isn't the main point why it should be banned, the point is that it is a hate attack on these dead soldiers and on living homosexuals, such as myself. They insulted my way of life by saying my having sex with other man is consequenting in unfortold atrocities of mass killings and death. Well guess what? I sucked myself a good d**** this morning and I guess a soldier died because of it, huh? (Scratch that last part)

I conclude that my opponet is ignoring my evidence and points by claiming that they are invalid. He insults my intelligence by asserting I have "failed" to present evidence and refute. Have a nice day...

VOTE PRO
rkkell

Con

Pro, in debate the constructive portion of the debate is at the beginning. You should have laid out your case based on domestic tranquility from the beginning. Introducing this argument in round 3 is abusive. You made a general claim to privacy in round 1 which you dropped in round 2 and then began offering evidence for in round 3. This should have all been done at the outset – as the Pro you have an obligation to set the lines of argument in your first presentation. These are the abusive arguments that should be disregarded; however, since I haven't any community response yet, I'll go ahead and answer them, because you have still failed to make your case even with these additions.

The quote regarding the picket in the UK is irrelevant. The resolution discusses the case of Snyder v. WBC, a case dealing with the law and its interpretation in the United States. What other nations think of our laws do not and should not influence our High Court.

You want the WBC's right to speak on this issue revoked because the speech is hateful. Yet the Supreme Court case that YOU brought up, to wit Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 1988 where the Court found "even when a speaker or writer is motivated by hatred or ill will his expression was protected by the First Amendment: ‘Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth."

My opponent claims that there is such a thing as a right to grieve, but has failed through 4 rounds now to offer any evidence to support this assertion. Bald assertion is not debate, and without evidence such an assertion should be disregarded.

My opponent states that the WBC should be voted against in the Supreme court because they chose to protest at a funeral. However, he has failed to provide one shred of evidence to support this position. Yes, it was a funeral. Yes, people are upset at funerals. Yes, people hate the WBC for what they've done. These are all emotional issues. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has standards a bit higher than that. The precedents cited by my opponent uniformly support the WBC's right to speak in this situation. He has not advanced any case that would lead one to conclude that this should be a precedent setting case. He has not proposed well reasoned arguments or evidence to support such a claim.

My opponent is relying on you to be blinded by your emotional reaction to the statements made by the WBC. Despite the fact that my opponent conceded the voting criterion of a logical debate, he has run an emotional case from the beginning. Let me state firmly for the record, I personally am disgusted by what the WBC said and continues to say. THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE. The issue is whether they have the right, in America, under the First Amendment, to say such things in the setting of a funeral.

Allow me to turn for a moment to my opponent's abusive new arguments. First, he contends that the right to privacy is guaranteed by referring to the IX amendment, which simply states that the bill of rights is not an exhaustive list of rights of the people. This might be the beginning of an argument, but he leaves us here. Sure, you might be able to read privacy into the IX amendment, but the amendment itself does not provide that. He also refers to the X amendment. The specific function of this amendment is to secure any other rights that might be fundamental to the people as against the government, not against another citizen. The government was not attempting to invade privacy or impede the so called right to grieve, so this argument is pointless. Since this was the entire basis for Pro's right to privacy and right to grieve arguments, I again submit that these have not been proven with either evidence or logical argument, and can therefore be assumed in the present case not to exist. The sole remaining question is whether WBC's speech was protected in the real world under the First Amendment.

My opponent argues that the need for domestic tranquility (which he chooses not to define until the 4th round) demands that we silence those that we disagree with. His evidence amounts to rehashing the assertions that this is hateful speech that makes people upset, so we need to shut them up. Yet the actual relevant evidence has unanimously shown that it is precisely this type of speech that the First Amendment most ardently protects.

At one time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke words that incited racists across the country to violent protest. Our domestic tranquility was upset, our nation torn apart. Should we have silenced him on this basis?

At one time, the anti-slavery movement spoke words that divided this nation to the extent that several states attempted to abandon the Union altogether. Our domestic tranquility was shattered as the nation plunged into a civil war. How much easier would it have been to simply shut them up?

The question is not whether you agree with what was said, the question is did they have the right to say it. The Con has overwhelmingly demonstrated, with both evidence and logical reasoning, that this right does indeed exist and that it applies specifically to the actions of the WBC.

My opponent has failed in 4 rounds to answer my basic contentions that free speech is essential to a free society and that free speech protects unpopular speech. These must be judged to be clearly conceded as true.

The Freedom of Speech is one of the cornerstones of American society. This principle separates us from societies that have gone before to the extent that only in such a nation as ours are people really free to be human. The right to self expression is one of the most fundamental of human rights – without it we are merely cogs in a machine.

The quest for truth is at the core of human existence. If truth is to be discovered by man, it comes from unpopular ideas and unpopular expression. The world used to burn scientists who proclaimed the truth that the earth orbits the sun. It used to lynch blacks and whites that proclaimed that people of color were still people. It still shuns, mocks, and occasionally does violence against those who claim that homosexuals are equally human. The only way to advance truth is with the unrestricted right to free expression. Our civilization and our humanity depend upon it.

The Pro has utterly failed in his arguments. He has failed to refute any of my arguments. I urger you to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
Itsallovernow

Pro

Con, I operated within the definition of rebut, so I developed my arguement just fine. And the claim to privacy is the main reason why the WBC is being charged, I do not feel the need to offer up the right that Mr. Snyder has the right to privacy, for that has been established already. To continue asserting the point like you keep asserting yours, without much further evidence and without refuting the rebut, is illogical. To claim that a rebut is a new arguement is illogical.

And how in the f*** is the UK arguement irrelevant? It goes with domestic tranquility! They endanger this contry's relations! You offered up other cases in which pertained to free speech as evidence, and yet you claim my case isn't because it is in relation to my point? You are a hypocrite!

They protest at a funeral and rob the family of their right to privacy. That is my evidence, you nit-wit. Refute that they did not rob their right to privacy by stating Mr. Snyder's son will burn in hell, that they did not hijack this private moment and cause the procession to be rerouted. Tell me that they did not have any negative effect on this funeral, BUT WITH EVIDENCE! And acknowledge my own evidence! They negatively impacted this private moment, of which the family had a right to.

This is not an emotional case! This is a right infringement case, and I don't give a f*** about emotions (aside from the ones I'm having towards you)! They robbed Mr. Snyder's right to privacy! I gave you AMENDMENT IX and X to prove it but you WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE IT BECAUSE YOU"RE A DOO-DOO HEAD!

Like I said, F*** your emotions and look to see that WBC robbed and hijacked a private moment and denied the rights of others because they wished to monopolize all other rights under the basis that Amendment I is the supreme right that can infringe others. They think that they can do what they want and say what they want to others and target audiences that are emotionally distraugh and corrupt them with their spewings of hate, you said they were hate, and deteriorate the good relations between our people and place decadence on our relations with Britain!

I don't give a flying Sphagetti Monster that you're disgusted with what they say. Your opinion doesn't matter in this debate or to me, the point is what they said impeded and robbed another right! So their right should be revoked because they MOLEST AND ABUSE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT!

That's exactly what Amendment IX is for, ar-tard, because we can't list all rights in the Constiution so it is inferred and universally recognized that the right to privacy is included in it, and THAT IS MY F***ING ARGUEMENT! I spend a lot of time and work on these debates and people like you **** it up with technicalities and refusing to address arguements because your own suck eggs! They whole point of them being in the Supreme Court is because it is federally recognized that they have a right to privacy!

" The sole remaining question is whether WBC's speech was protected in the real world under the First Amendment." NO YOU IDIOT! They are taking over other rights by doing this! Don't say the right to privacy is not a right, because the Supreme Court has already recognized it as the "right to privacy being an [unalienable] right."!! That's why this made it to the Supreme Court!

You imbicile! I do not wish to silence those I disagree with, but it is admissable to say "Screw your rights" if they endanger the country! (On an irrelevant note, this is what the government needs to do with "enhanced interrogation")

And don't bother using Mr. King as a source, because African Americans had rights, but they weren't protected to the government. He didn't spark racism, he sought to abolish it through peace. Racism was already there. The WBC does not need protected when they are the ones screwing up everyone elses rights.

Don't play coy with me, buffoon! Martin Luther King and the Civil War (based so blacks could have equal rights) is SOLELY ABOUT EQUAL RIGHTS!! How in the living f*** can you have equal rights if the WBC takes away your rights because they think that Amendment I has the power to take away other rights, such as to privacy? Mr. King and the Civil War was about equal rights, not declaring one right supreme!

"The question is not whether you agree with what was said (no s***), the question is did they have the right to say it." The right exists, but the right does not exist to impede other rights. They needed to go somewhere else or do it at another time so that Mr. Snyder could grieve, but they chose to take away his right to grieve, so they should pay the price.

You stated, "My opponent has failed in 4 rounds to answer my basic contentions that free speech is essential to a free society and that free speech protects unpopular speech. These must be judged to be clearly conceded as true." DID YOU FU*KING READ MY ARGUEMENTS?!

1. (round 2) "The matter of unpopularity is not the issue. You said yourself that these statements made by them are "evil, repugnant, and...hate(ful)". Therein, my friend, lies the issue."
2. (round 3) "The right to speech is not key to preservation of a society. They key is "domestic tranquility".
3. (round 3) I stated, in ordinary cases, the right to freedom of speech is essential, undeniable, and irrefutable. However, I have proven, and it stands proven on the Supreme Court floor, that this is NOT an ordinary case.
4. (round 4) The government protects unpopular speech, but the government does not allow and will not stand by as verbal assault tactics are enacted under the claim of free speech to pass boarders of rights so that they infringe upon each other with unrestrained tyrannical intent to monopolize all rights on the basis that one right has the supremecy to overlap another! This land and all it's rights are equal and it should not be admissable that these perpitraters endanger the saftey of others with hate words and steal rights away from others!

How can you say I have not addressed this? You refuse to read, clearly! So your arguements, all of them are the same and inserted with mechanical repetativeness that I refute, but you ignore!

And don't patronize the audience with Amendment I of the Constiution like you so pretend to know it! You refuse to address my arguements and use, like WBC, that just because you have Amendment I that you can do as you please and deny others their Constiutional rights!

CON HAS UTTERLY FAILED TO READ!!

====VOTE PRO=====
rkkell

Con

Pro, in a debate, the only things that the judges can consider are the arguments that the debaters put forward. Judges are supposed to base their decisions on the arguments presented to them. This is why your assertion that there is a right to privacy is not an argument – you didn't prove it. Where is your evidence? The constitutional amendments you cite state that there are other rights, but they obviously don't list them. Throughout this debate you have not ever presented a case for your claim that the right to privacy exists or is of equal importance to our way of life as the freedom of speech. Your statements don't qualify as evidence – who are you to speak to the topic? You did not present yourself as a legal expert or a privacy expert, so your assertions are not evidence.
The same thing applies also to your statements regarding the right to grieve. Is there such a thing? I honestly don't know, it's not a concept I've ever heard spelled out. We can make assumptions, but without evidence to support your conclusions, these assertions are meaningless.

The pro has clearly failed to present a coherent case in favor of the right to privacy or the right to grieve. This leaves the only grounds for debate the Con's arguments regarding the freedom of speech.

I have shown conclusively that the First Amendment protects unpopular speech such as that engaged in by the WBC. Using the Pro's own evidence against him, I've demonstrated that the weight of precedent is in favor of the protection of the speech in question. The Pro has thoroughly failed to negate any of my contentions.

Based on evidence and logic, rather than emotional appeals, this debate has clearly been won by the Con. I urge you to vote Con. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
Itsallovernow
Con, the Constiution and the Bill of Rights was not create to cite the rights people have. The Constitution and the Bill of Right were created as a framework for Federalists to establish a federal government. There are no marraige laws in the Constitution, does that mean that no one has the right to get married?

The Amendments I made referance to were liberties the people have that could not be thought of, as protection for what may occur due to a change of times or something overlooked. Our forfathers grasped the concept that they did not know everything, and they planned for it. The right to not have soldiers quartered in our homes is a testament to our right to privacy, but it states that THE GOVERNMENT CAN"T DO THAT! That is what the government CAN'T do!

Even if I was a legal expert, I couldn't use myself as a source, lest it be declared biased. I would still have to make a neutral 3rd party referance.
Posted by Thorae 6 years ago
Thorae
I'm going to have to agree with pro for the simple reason that there is legal precedent to such laws as preventing protesters from protesting up to (x) feet away.
http://www-cgi.cnn.com...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Itsallovernow 6 years ago
Itsallovernow
ItsallovernowrkkellTied
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Vote Placed by Mac 6 years ago
Mac
ItsallovernowrkkellTied
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