I ride with Patriot Guard from time to time, and I find these people vile.
That being said, I actively participate in protests all the time and have been accused of saying offensive things to articulate my position. Not that I agree that it was offensive, it was just the accusation levied at me for supporting gun rights.
That said, I don't want there to be a time when I'm banned from saying something because it offends the sensibilities of someone else. One of the reasons we have our military is so they can protect our rights -- its utter hypocrisy if we cannot then protest the military - what's next? Ban anti war protests? Ban protests decrying the use of depleted uranium?
Again, I hate the WBC, but I'll fight to the death for their right to say what they want. Once we lose ground, even for well intentioned reasons, on any amendment, we lose them all.
But it's protected free speech. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't go home without a broken nose or be strangled by an American flag.....Or run over by a Police funeral procession.......Or have a stroke that leaves you permanently saluting....Or have a lighting fixture fall on you while shopping at Wal-Mart...Or fall through one of those crappy American Benches and break your coccyx.
As long as its within public property and doesn't violate the sound limits established in local law, there's no reason (except a moral one, and that shouldn't matter if it's not a legal one) to prevent the right of people to speak against things the find wrong in their society.
Look, freedom of speech is important. You should be able to do it anywhere and anytime on public property. That being said, if the funeral is being held on private property and is a private ceremony, then no, you should not be able to protest it, unless the private institution allows you to. That being said, I would be more upset if these people were told they couldn't protest on public property, then I am at what they are saying, which I really don't agree with.
We cannot go around and say what freedom of speech and expression is okay and what isn't.
We all have the right to free speech. All rights are, by definition, endowed to humanity by its creator. Whether that of be God or Nature, all humans have certain rights; all else is a privilege. The right to speech, however, is not a privilege. The right to speech is an extension of the right to self. In other words, you have the right to be an individual. But what is the point of individualism if you have not the right to express it?
If an individual be an hateful person, what right have we to force them to comply with what we consider to be just? By telling someone how they MUST or MUST NOT speak is by extension, telling someone who they must BE and NOT BE.
If we ban military funeral protest our first amendment rights are being limited. And we don't want to invite the government to take away even more of our rights. Protesting someones funeral is extremely wrong and disrespectful. And if your protesting at a funeral where someone risked their life for yours maybe you should take your ass out there and fight for our country instead.
Just because the speech is offensive and disagreed with in society does not mean we can outlaw it. The freedom of speech is not there to protect speech that is agreed with by the government, but it is there to protect the speech of the people we can't stand, the people like Westboro Baptist Church.
These protests seem to me in bad taste and likely to annoy relatives of the soldiers killed. But the protests are not critical of the soldiers themselves; they say that current U.S. policies toward homosexuality result in more military deaths than would otherwise be the case. They think this is a bad thing, and friends and relatives of the deceased no doubt think the deaths are bad also.
Of course the data supporting their belief is very questionable, as soldiers have been killed in all U.S. wars whatever policies were at the time. And the idea that the Bible pays much attention to homosexuality is ignorant, as a better informed reading shows the references are in essence remarks made in passing, for reasons which are never explained. People thousands of years ago had many odd beliefs, such as that the earth is flat and has four corners, and it does not make much sense to accept such opinions blindly.
The people that do this are clearly deranged. There's no question about it. However people should be allowed to protest their beliefs no matter what. They should also be willing to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Maybe there are things that you believe in which are totally unacceptable to other people. I for one believe that religion is an evil force created by men to manipulate the masses. I guarantee there are people who would like to stop me from speaking my mind on that subject but I won't because I'm free to do and say as I please, and I guess I'll just have to deal with the consequences of that.
Laws passed to ban protests at military funerals state such and such a distance of feet from the funeral instead of more logically strictly tailoring the law to only apply to a protest that is actually directed at the funeral.
You could shield yourself from protests by just setting up your meeting right next to where a funeral just happens to be going on.
The RNC or DNC could hold a "military funeral" as part of its convention and effectively block any protests of the convention.
It can be argued that in the everlasting conflict of values free speech is important, but it is not the only value and it does not have priority over all other considerations. Those other rights, which are not less fundamental than the right to free speech, include - for instance - the right to live without fear and intimidation, the right to dignity (both on the personal and on the group level) and the right to be a member of society on an equal footing with others, without suffering discrimination and exclusion.
The conclusion drawn from the European historical experience is unambiguous regarding the spreading of racist views which led to the Holocaust.
It must be emphasized that racist views are not just like any other views present in society to be reflected in the media. Racism is not just an opinion, but a deadly poison responsible for death and suffering. Racism is not a view, it is a crime.
It is the media which shapes our perception of the social world. It is the field of a battle for cultural hegemony, a battle waged by racists against democratic society. It is a matter of professional ethics not to give a free platform to racist and extreme-right organizations. We must not let the media become tools of racist propaganda.
The example of the former Yugoslavia illustrates yet again that incitement to ethnic hatred can have a deadly effect. All over Europe everyday racist violence is accompanied and preceded by racist speech.
Today, almost nobody questions the fact that hate speech is a dangerous phenomenon.
The picture alone, "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" is pretty self explanatory. It is saying that the people out there, who risk their lives to save people that they barely even know, are being berated and hated by the very people that they are trying to save. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have full speech.
Protesting at a funeral at all is an insult to the departed's memory. They are at the funeral and telling those in attendance that what he or she died for is evil. Which will surely make the bereaved family somehow feel better. While it is withing your rights to protest at a military funeral, some standard of decency must be maintained. The protesting can wait for the elected representative. Leave the families alone. Or, if the protesters insist on it, they're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters, and people who talk at the theater. A special hell.
I've seen a documentary on this, the American family who protest outright at military funerals.
Personally its stupid - a man has died and they don't have the respect to let him have a funeral in peace (it must be worst for the families of the victim) and can be considered an insult.
These actions don't make things better, it makes them worse! So because they believe in God and want to do his bidding, that means they can spread their "message" whenever they want, as if they want to force people to believe there message aswell? And the same time, insulting people who fight for their country? How can they consider themselves righteous? Just because of their beliefs?
People that have fought and died for our country deserve the same respect that any other citizen received at their funeral. Protesting at anyone's funeral shows unforgivable disrespect to not only those lost but to their friends and family and nothing is worth protesting over for people to have to deal with that in their time of sorrow.
To protest at ANY funeral is disrespectful. It is disrespectful to the person's life and to the person's family. No matter what the situation, people should only attend a funeral to celebrate the person's life. And Not to protest. The military person who died is no different to anyone else. If you were attending the funeral of a loved one you would not like people attending to protest.
Absolutely not! I understand that everyone has the freedom to express their beliefs but this is just horrible. Here is someone who died trying to help their country and even if you disapprove of these actions it does not excuse that any person deserves respect. Protesting would be an insult to the person and devastate the already grieving families.
People voluntarily sign up in the military and many men choose to serve in the infantry-combat unit. They risk their lives to protect the free country they love, only to be disrespected upon their return like the Vietnam veterans. If anything, they should be given more sincerity during their funeral than others. Now there are ignorant people who have to act like a bunch of a**holes who feel like they must speak their voice even after the soldier or sailor passed away. Would you want a bunch of people disrupting your loved ones' funeral? Tell you the truth, I would almost threaten them with guns if they dared to come to my soldier's funeral with the intent of protesting against military. Being against the military is like committing treason against the country because the military protects the U.S. And its uncommon and globally unpopular rights. Just for the picture for this question up right now, God is not angry at those who shed tears for fallen soldiers, because the soldier could have been a Christian, and if he wasn't, God mourns for the loss of another human being He created that didn't accept Him. God wouldn't be disappointed in those who mourn for one who devotes the critical years of their lifetime in order to protect the country that allows their people the freedom to exercise their religion praising God. Hopefully these ignorant protesters will gain some sense of respect and dignity instead of interrupting the ceremony commemorating the life of someone they loved dearly.
Protesting at military funerals is disrespect and harassment to the military family. It is a slap in the face to all of Americans who enjoy their freedom every day because of the sacrifices made by the military. Protesting at funerals is not the right time or place. Having respect for the families of the ones who have fallen is crucial.
Funerals are personal events shared by only close family and friends. Imagine that a relative of yours died at war. It's tragic, they had an early death, you are trying to heal emotionally. It is a hard time for anyone, dealing with the death of a loved one, but certain insensitive people, hungry for attention, make matters only worse by telling you your son/brother/father/etc is going to hell and that, ultimately, we are better off with them dead. It is disgusting and it has nothing to do with them. It is ironic that these people hate America so much but take advantage of their democratic rights. If you don't like it here, be my guest to move to North Korea where you will be dealt with accordingly.