Should the protests of Westboro Baptist Church be protected under the First Amendment?

  • The law is equal

    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.

  • Freedom is freedom.

    "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.

  • The First Amendment should NOT be the focus for change!

    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!

  • Yes

    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.

  • In general

    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 First Amendment covers even the most offensive speech and, therefore, should be extended to the Westboro Baptist Church.

    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.

    Posted by: P3nrIin
  • I support Westboro protests being protected under the First Amendment, because it assures freedom of religion.

    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.

    Posted by: FlakyHerb64
  • As disgusting as the Westboro protests are, the right of free speech belongs to everyone.

    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.

    Posted by: R3yGoobIe
  • Considering the importance of free speech to continuing democracy, it is extremely important to allow offensive speech as an example of freedom.

    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.

    Posted by: ZippyHank
  • Removing the right to the First Amendment for any group hurts all Americans.

    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.

    Posted by: daveyxh
  • Rights of Burial

    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.

  • Abuse of Law

    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.

  • Free speech doesn't even exist.

    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.

  • It's to offensive

    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

  • Keep your opinion to your self, God would want you to do so.

    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."

  • Westboro Baptist Church should not be protected under the First Amendment!

    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.

  • This is blasphemy

    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.

  • They are a cult

    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.

  • Hate speech should not be protected.

    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.

  • There's a line between freedom of speech and inappropriate things to say or do, and westboro walks right on it.

    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.

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