to everyone, anyone and all. If one kind of speech is mandated against, so can the other. The only clear line that can be drawn is whether or not we should have the right to free speech, yes or no. Now, tomorrow and always I will answer "yes", regardless if someone's message offends me or not. Instead, legislation should focus, which it already has been doing, on regulating anti-social behavior, such as picketing funerals.
Your message might be as offensive to them as their is to you. They are still citizens and as such have rights equal to yours.
"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
― Salman Rushdie
The first amendment exists for a reason. People have the right to say *whatever* they want, short of advocating genocide.
Now I'm Australian, so many may dismiss me as having no clue about what I'm saying. However, i do have a understanding of the US Bill of Rights and the function of the American Constitution. The law, which includes the Bill of Rights, extends to all citizens and can't be altered to discriminate certain minorities. The First Amendment is no exception. However, as one of the other writers have said, I believe that the focus should be on legally controlling anti-social behavior such as picketing funerals ect. The freedom to religion, the press and of speech should be retained, after all it is what War of Independence and most conflicts thereafter have strived to retain. However, the systematic abuse of these rights in an anti-social manor with the soul intent to hurt should be persecuted!
If minority opinions are treated as lesser in value of civil equality, it will only sprout more problems for minority opinions in the future, Several states have already put legal restrictions on the church for their hate speech at funerals, but as 8 out of 9 of the judges in Snyder vs Phelps complied, members at funerals are not technically a captive audience and can often simply avoid confrontation with the Church. While I do not encourage hate groups or the pain of suffering families or people who are not considered to be hetero-normative, I simply cannot believe that our government should be stifling the rights of any individual until they abuse it to a clear and un-debatable extent causing a clear and present danger through their words,
They are like 9/11. Nobody likes it but it brought a nation together. No matter where they go to picket, the city unites together and forms their own protest. I've personally been to one. Until they actually ban stupidity then they aren't doing anything illegal. It's like someone calling you names anyways. I mean seriously... Does it really hurt your feelings? They aren't even allowed to be that close to the funerals. They end up having to picket down the road. Technically the dead don't have rights anymore... The same reason journalists/photographers are allowed to post photos of dead soldiers without having consent. Not saying I like it... But i don't have to.
Speech's freedom is not based on content. Offensive speech is still free speech. The public may easily change viewpoints and find your ideas "wrong", then what? The Constitution protects everyone equally, and any discriminate restriction on free speech is unconstitutional. While their message is vile, homophobic, ungodly, and stupid, it must be protected.
Unfortunately, we cannot ban the protests of some and not ban the protests of all. I think WBC is as bad as I hope you do, but we can not deny their right to free speech without denying it to everyone.
The first amendment is there for everyone. We can't pick and choose who it is for when we all have freedom. We are all in America and whether everyone agrees or doesn't they have a right to freedom of speech just like everyone else. It does not state that only certain people can speak freely.
As stupid and crazy as I think they are, they have the right. People say hateful and offensive things on a daily basis in debates and politics and then back themselves up by saying "it's their right to the first amendment". The WBC is no different. Their pickets are set up a far enough distance away from the funerals, they aren't being violent, just loud and dumb. I think what's more important is the lesson behind it all that people seem to be missing: freedom of speech is meaningless if there is no respect or tolerance towards your fellow man. Take away respect and tolerance and it's just bullying.
If Westboro Baptist Church can sit there and say "Thank god ________ many more soldiers died only ____________ may left" then we should be allowed to protest their ignorance and hate. If we're going off of emotional harm what about when westboro goes to fallen soldiers hometowns to protest their funerals? That causes emotional hurt so 1st amendment or them is void.
It depends on where the protests are being held if you want a particular judgement for a particular case. While in general I find the Westboro Baptist Church to be an abomination, they too should be afforded protection under the law. It is when you start to let your emotion get the better of you and convince you to deny people their just rights that tyranny starts to take form. Everyone should have private funerals to protect themselves from these people.
The Westboro Baptist Church has made a name for itself by protesting against homosexuality at funerals and other unexpected locations. Although their decision to protest at these solemn events is offensive to most people, the rights of the church, however ignorant and offensive, does have protection under the First Amendment.
They are idiots and imbeciles, but they have the right to practice their freedom of speech and religion, and they have the right to carry out their protests undisturbed, as long as they do so peacefully. Of course, I also support the right of any house of worship to conduct a religious funeral procession in their own traditions, without interruption, so law enforcement does need to keep the Westboro crazies back a respectable distance.
The U.S. guarantees free speech to its citizens. The protests of the Westboro "church" are, in my opinion, morally reprehensible and cruel. But, once we start denying free speech to somebody, simply because we don't like their opinions, we undermine the rights on which our country is built, and we open the door to censorship.
When considering that offensiveness could include sedition, limiting offensive speech is an extremely dangerous move. Open the door for a slight curtailment of freedom, and a torrent of oppressions may come rushing in.
Removing the right to the freedom of speech is a very slippery slope. While often we don't agree with what others say, the same is true for what we believe to morally right, someone else disagrees. The Westboro Church is obviously hate filled, but we must allow them to do as they wish when it comes to speech.
Protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church, reviled for such acts as showing up at the funerals of U.S. soldiers with signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "Pray for more dead soldiers", serve as no reason to consider weakening the First Amendment. The protesters are offensive, certainly, but they pose no threat to America or its citizens. Their protests have gained them no support for their ideas, and have even unified communities in opposition to the church and the ideas it promotes. Local officials and state legislators, meanwhile, are finding Constitutionally acceptable ways to keep the protesters well back from funerals, to reduce the harmful impact on grieving families. Those soldiers died defending the Constitution. It would not honor them to use their funerals as a reason to weaken the Constitution.
As abhorrent and loathsome the message of this group may be the must be accorded the rights to profess and declare their beliefs. They do not directly condone or advocate violence or threats to life and property. It is the free and open discussion of ideas that makes our system great and cherished. The vileness of their campaign will receive the disdain it deserves the more it is revealed.
Free speech and the right of assembly are cornerstones of our freedom, as citizens of a democracy. These "tools" were given to us by our founders to ensure that no dictator, leader, or group could subjugate us, as had the rulers of England. Put simply, as long as we can get together and talk, we can continue to be free. However, we do have limits on our speech. We can not shout "fire" in a crowded building, if there is no fire, and we do have obscenity laws. Both of these limits on free speech are in the public good. The question is, do the actions and words of the Westboro Baptist Church equate to shouting "fire" in a crowded building, when the building is not on fire? Probably not. Religion has always had a free pass when it comes to criticizing other religions. Is it in the public good to censor them? Probably not. Would we be having this discussion had the media not given these people the national/global platform from which to perform their nonsense? Without the media, they would have been a minor embarrassment. However, they do have the right to make fools of themselves, because our Constitution guarantees that right to us all.
Westboro Baptist Church is infringing upon the rights of other's and their rights to a peaceful burial. My government teacher in high school always quoted swinging my fist is my right until I infringe upon others right by hitting another in the face. Westboro does not protest in a respectful manner.
Action needs to be taken. Being happy that children are dying!? They aren't even human. They are causing harm to the nation. Protesting funerals of soldiers who are dying so they can live in this country that they hate with a passion. Protesting children's funerals. Take action ASAP, its sick.
Okay so, I'm from the UK and I study American politics. The first amendment only accounts for CONGRESS; "Congress shall make no laws..." The US Constitution says nothing about the other two branches. There are prison sentences in the cases of "fighting speech" - is that not exactly what the WBC is doing? Yes, they should be allowed to voice their opinions but their cruelty and hatred is uncalled for. I'm sure there are more peaceful ways to inform people of their "coming damnation," like handing out flyers or whatever. They should not be protected because the first amendment basically says that the government cannot favour one religion over another - which is what they are doing - and if someone must go to prison for "fighting talk," then so should members of the WBC.
That is all.
Though you have a freedom of speech it's because of people like this that people can't live their lives properly and that people are killing themselves over people's inability to accept them into society and they invade and picket funerals which is an invasion of privacy and extremely disrespectful to boot (not that anything they do is respectful) but if others were to do this charges would be put upon them so why are they protected? They are hate moungers
If there was a god as perfect and pure as you say which I'm fairly certain isn't, he would not have created anything that he did not intend to. And if being homosexual is such a huge problem for you, blame it on God because he made it happen. If God were here, he would have said, "leave that poor dad alone. It's not your concern how other people choose to live their lives."
Them having the right to picket funerals of fallen soldiers is wrong on so many levels! Soldiers are risking their lives to give us freedom, not for people to disgrace them at their funeral. I agree with freedom of speech but to a certain degree. Real Christians wouldn't do things that this "church" does! They should not be protected under the First Amendment at all. People can have their opinions but opinions like that should not be protected, especially at soldiers funerals.
These people abuse their rights and freedom. The fact that they disrespect the country and the people who fight for them is ridiculous. The country should focus more on morals and logical solutions to these kind of problems rather than it be dealt with the flawed and robotic justice system.
Their actions are dangerous to others. Also, it is illegal to slander. They do this to large groups of people. God most likely hates THEM. They should protest against themselves. They are ridiculous. I believe that lives could be at stake because of them. It's not worth letting them continue their hate crimes.
There is no value in allowing hate speech, and many other democracies have laws against hate speech. They also should not be allowed to make signs that say "Thank God for dead soldiers" and other stuff like that. The families should have the right to not have to deal with this. Limiting Westboro's protests will not cause the government to start taking away the free speech rights of normal people. It shows a lack of human decency that the Supreme Court sided with them and also the 1977 Nazi march through Skokie.
While a disagree with their speech, they have the right to "say" what they want, the first amendment protects the speech part.
The 1st amendment also protects peaceable assembly and that is where they are stepping on the line, can protest whatever they want, however, I do believe they should be more considerate on how and when they protest, funerals are a special time of mourning and I think they should be arrested for protesting at funerals, I mean, it's not even a legal thing anymore at that point, it's a human ethics thing. To the same extent they should be arrested if they say that newtown or the Boston bombing was gods punishment because that is also an ethics thing; it disgraces the dead in both situations, not to mention those vulgar picket signs. I suppose that's the cowardly way they fight; attack those who can no longer defend themselves.
They are sick individuals who are filled with nothing but hate. They have no other intentions other than starting hate crimes and causing issues in the world. They simply do not deserve the freedom of speech if they are using and abusing it in such a disgusting manor. Justice needs to be served. Going to a funeral and protesting against gays? How dare them. Holding picket signs that read 'pray for more dead soldiers', what kind of sick individual does these kind of things? Oh that's right, the Westboro church members. Disgusting.
Let's get something straight before I harp on how wrong I think protesting a military funeral because we are vast becoming a gay-tolerant country, its an invasion of privacy. A military funeral is a federally funded, private ceremony not available for PUBLIC viewing. The presence of outside forces protesting are also invading the family's privacy, by creating a false light on the whole ceremony. False light is considered misrepresenting the "character, history, and activities" of another person. When you picket someone's funeral, you are illegally misrepresenting the character of the person being buried which goes against the same act protecting Freedom of Speech.
You know they are just terrible when the KKK does not want to be associated with them, and calls them "hatemongers". And plus they take verses from the bible that suits their so called "message" about how the US is doomed, and that LGBT type people are going to hell, but actually they aren't. Please help classify them as a hate group, sign the petition
Families have the right to grieve. It should be respected, no matter the situation. We shouldn't take away the right to protest, but perhaps the state governments could include a 300-ft buffer zone, like that of abortion clinics. Maybe my distance isn't quite right, but the distance factor should be considered. Give the families some room. How would you feel if people came to your son's funeral to say, "He deserved it, because the army allows gays." Think on it.
I've been doing research on these guys for a long time now and I can tell you I'm against it all. Freedom of speech is important and should be protected, but they need to be stopped. This isn't freedom of speech its harassment. So, to say that we need to change the freedom of speech is wrong but to allow someone to inflict emotion and mental harm on someone should be considered illegal. The right to say what you want is important but so is someone's right to a burial in peace. Freedom of speech should not allow someone to harass another person. Your tongue is just as dangerous as a gun.
They should not be allowed to protest the funerals of those that give them there rights! These people are a Hate Group and they are constantly SHOWING that they are a hate group, look at the signs, look at the words they "preach". Its all hate and it has to be stopped!
America is all about law suits. If this would be in some other country, that is not as dependent on crazy law system like US, there would be some social violent act. Taking the law so serious is crazy, the US goverment should take people that disturb the public pease. Also the goverment should control more in people lifes, this is not about feelings, its more about controling the mass
not only can protests at military funerals cause mental health problems... it is dangerous in many ways...a protest crowd can easily cause a riot or a mob... and worst of all, depression... people of kia relatives, can easily feel that no one cares the sacrifice his/her parent or guardian has taken for everyone in the country and the other men and women that are fighting in the fields of war. wich makes them feel that there parent or gaurdian died for no reason and can and will cause problms equil to ptsd... depresion
I have learned that in the government people's rights end when they infringe on the rights of others. Yes, Westboro has the right of free speech, but the military family has the right to mourn their family in peace. The right of freedom of speech ends when it brings harm, like how you're not allowed to yell FIRE in a crowded place because it can cause harm. Their protests cause emotional harm and distress. No protection for WBC!!
Their protesting of funerals because their religion is based around hating homosexuality is more of a disturbance then a first amendment right to protest. There is a law against harassment and there is a law against creating a public nuisance. I feel that their protests of military funerals and any other funerals is anti-American and disrespectful not only to the deceased, but to the people left behind that are grieving. The government or the local municipalities need to step in and tell these people to stop their baseless protests.
The First Amendment exists to protect Americans' rights to free speech and public debate. The protests of the Westboro Baptist Church, however, do not deserve this protection, because the protests were unduly malicious and unnecessary. What little ability the protests had to create helpful, public debate was far outweighed by the fact that the Westboro Baptist Church's protests were a vicious assault on Cory F. Hiltz and his family.
Under the Definitional Balancing Test, there is a limit of "free speech." Free Speech is not absolute. Emotional distress to an individual is civil tolerance is ruled under the tort liability law. It is not the freedom to believe and speak that belief that needs protecting it's conduct, the right to practice that belief. When you are targeting a private citizen and causing them emotional distress while they are practicing yet another freedom of peaceably assembling you are not abiding by your own first amendment rights. The right of others to communicate must be balanced with the right of every person to be let alone...
The protesters of Westboro Baptist Church should not be protected under the First Amendment because their protests abridge the rights of a greater number of individuals. Rights only extend as far as they are not abused. Under the Second Amendment, I have a right to bear arms, yet, in most states, I can go to prison for pointing a gun at another person.
Freedom of speech is a guaranteed Constitutional right in our country. But just as no citizen has the right to go into a crowded theater and falsely yell "fire!" because of harmful ramification to others, the Westboro people have no right to invade a private funeral service of people they don't even know and shout vicious hate remarks to the grieving family.
The Westboro Baptist Church has the right to their opinion, even if it is a hate-filled one, but when they protest at military funerals they interfere with others rights to gather peacefully, which should take precedence. The church should offer their protest in the same city, if they desire, but it should be far enough away from the funeral that no one in the family should have to see or deal with them.
The anger that fills me to read about this group is beyond recognition. I believe in God and the bible. I believe that all too often people make up their own understanding of what the bible is saying. If I had my wish, i would meet Fred Phelps in a swimming pool and I would be the only one walking away. I look forward to the day he passes and God closes the gates of heaven on him. We are all Gods children. This organization is showing hate on Gods children. Congratulations. You booked your one way ticket to Hell. Enjoy. To all those who are against this group. God Bless You and your family. Be kind to others and always remember, God created us all equal. Love your neighbor as yourself. It is amazing how far a "hello" or a "handshake" can go these days. All this hatred is ruining us.
The U.S is suppose to protect us. We do have our rights but there is a limit. We shouldn't abuse our rights! Westboro Baptist Church need to put their limits on what they SAY and DO! They have no right going to funerals and protesting. That is horrible and cruel.