Author Topic: Should Westboro Baptist Church be Guaranteed First Amendment Protection?  (Read 18473 times)

Offline Kerry

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As a non-American, it has been interesting for me to read all the arguments for and against this matter. Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I feel I have a more comprehensive understand of the First Amendment now.

I came across the article as I read my (hardcopy) TIME magazine (South Pacific edition) over breakfast yesterday and thought it would make an interesting poll for BetterMost. I subsequently located an e-copy of the article at www.time.com

Whilst Googling for images to accompany the article, I came across the following. I found it quite distressing. Comments?


 
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Offline Kerry

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And if they abuse their children (I think what they force their poor kids to do and say constitute abuse) the kids should be removed. Etc.


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Offline ifyoucantfixit

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     Free Speech is exactly that.  No matter how abhorrent it is to everyone else.  They have the constitutional right to do
it.  Just as the people who burn the American flag, have the right to do that.  It is very difficult to have to watch, and
bear witness to.  But if you deny one person the right to speak the way they feel, then you can do the same to everyone
else.  I hate the way they talk, and the things they are able to say, but I would defend the right to the death their rights
to exercise them.
    That is how I feel, because I am sure that the things I espouse are far different from how many others feel.  But I
certainly do not want them to have the right to stop me from saying my part also.  Its just how all the rights work.  All
the rights we fight for, are justified.  We only want to fight for the same rights that everyone else has.  I say if they are
denied, then we can also can be denied legally.  Sad but fair and true.
    Those founding fathers understood how balance of rights work.  All men (and women) are created equal.  They must
be treated equally also.  Otherwise, none of it means anything.


      Anyone going to one of these hate rallys, should carry an equal sign, "Judge not lest ye be also Judged."
That is one of the seven deadliest sins.  "Bearing false witness is a sin."  Everything they do is a sin, if you
believe there is such a thing as sin.  If you believe in the Bible writings.  It is not that you only can do a chinese
menu pick of what is right and what is wrong.  You go by all of it, or none of it.



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Offline Clyde-B

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The very same thing occurred to me, Clyde. I am presuming that most of the people attending the funerals (legitimately) would be friends and relatives of the deceased, including Vets, some of whom may very well be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The presence of WBC pickets could be just enough to nudge them over the edge. It's amazing it hasn't happened already, considering the ready access to firearms in the USA. Just one quick burst of semi-automatic gunfire from an emotionally compromised mourner and dozens of WBCers would be wiped out in a matter of seconds. Someone was wondering why no-one's sued WBC before. I'm now wondering why no-one's shot at them. And wouldn't it be interesting to see Fred Phelp's funeral (I believe he's quite elderly) picketed - maybe with a gay kiss-in.

I'd pucker up, Kerry.

I agree, the WB's are pushing their luck.  Only their enemies' reverence for life and law stands between them and oblivion.

Offline David In Indy

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The very same thing occurred to me, Clyde. I am presuming that most of the people attending the funerals (legitimately) would be friends and relatives of the deceased, including Vets, some of whom may very well be suffering from post-traumatic stress. The presence of WBC pickets could be just enough to nudge them over the edge. It's amazing it hasn't happened already, considering the ready access to firearms in the USA. Just one quick burst of semi-automatic gunfire from an emotionally compromised mourner and dozens of WBCers would be wiped out in a matter of seconds. Someone was wondering why no-one's sued WBC before. I'm now wondering why no-one's shot at them. And wouldn't it be interesting to see Fred Phelp's funeral (I believe he's quite elderly) picketed - maybe with a gay kiss-in.


Kerry and Clyde -

It has already happened. Back in the 1990s....

(Bold highlighting is mine)

His church was bombed, and now he protests funerals of the war dead
Kansas preacher says he's coming to Idaho


BOISE, Idaho -- A Kansas preacher and gay rights foe whose congregation is protesting military funerals around the country said he's coming to Idaho tomorrow to picket the memorial for an Idaho National Guard soldier killed in Iraq.

A flier on the Web site of Pastor Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church claims God killed Cpl. Carrie French with an improvised explosive device in retaliation against the United States for a bombing at Phelps' church six years ago.

"We're coming," Phelps said yesterday.

Westboro Baptist either has protested or is planning protests of other public funerals of soldiers from Michigan, Alabama, Minnesota, Virginia and Colorado. A protest is planned for July 11 at Dover Air Force Base, the military base where war dead are transported before being sent on to their home states.

Phelps gained national notoriety in 1998 when he picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student beaten to death in Wyoming.

Since then, Phelps said his church has been the target of hateful words and actions, including a bomb attack six years ago.

Phelps' church has picketed the funerals of AIDS victims for more than a decade.

French, 19, was a Caldwell High School graduate and varsity cheerleader. She was killed June 5 in the northern city of Kirkuk. French served as an ammunition specialist with the 116th Brigade Combat Team's 145th Support Battalion.

Phelps said the fact that French led an all-American life gives him all the more reason to picket her final public tribute.

"An all-American girl from a society of all-American heretics," he said.

"Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime," Phelps said.

Caldwell Police Chief Bob Sobba said he cannot bar Phelps from going to the public funeral, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Albertson College of Idaho in that city.

"While we respect Mr. Phelps' right to protest, we would hope that he would respect the family and friends of this young person by not disrupting the memorial," Sobba said.

Idaho Air National Guard Lt. Tony Vincelli, acting as spokesman for French's family, said there were no plans to change the funeral arrangements.

The Rev. Brian Fischer, pastor of Boise's Community Church of the Valley, and himself a past target of protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, decried Phelps' plan.

"What Phelps is doing is a reprehensible thing, to take a funeral and turn it into a photo op for his hate cause," Fischer said.

"We hope everyone will ignore Phelps' group."

In 2003, Phelps demanded that he be allowed to erect an anti-gay monument in a Boise public park. To avoid a lawsuit from his group, city officials voted in 2004 that a Ten Commandments monument be moved out of the park.


http://www.seattlepi.com/local/228401_westboro14.html

_________________________________________________


Still though, like you both said, they'd better be careful. It could easily happen again. :-\



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Offline David In Indy

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Gotta love the nerve of this guy... Good for him! lol
















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Offline Ellemeno

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These signs, and the faces of the children and women holding them, are so intense to me.  How do they look at each other at the breakfast table, and kiss each other good night?  It is so gross and weird.  Have any of them ever recanted?  How could they retain this mindset?

Offline louisev

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At least two of Fred Phelps' sons have gone on the record after leaving his church that he was a cruel, intensely abusive child-beater who mercilessly "disciplined" his sons for minor infractions, and suffered tremendously at his hands.  The story of one of those sons was written up in exhaustive detail and it was enough to make your hair curl.  It's obvious that Fred Phelps, like nutty cult leaders of yore, Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. are complete nutballs whose hold over their flock is terrifying and insanity-driven.
“Mr. Coyote always gets me good, boy,”  Ellery said, winking.  “Almost forgot what life was like before I got me my own personal coyote.”


Offline Clyde-B

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It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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It's very strange to see the smiling faces and the joy they apparently take in spewing hate.

The Nazis did it. ...
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.