Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hate Speech

There's been a lot of conversation going on lately about Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder and his funeral, which was protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. The father of this fallen Marine, Al Snyder, sued the church for violating his privacy. He initially won, and was awarded $5 million dollars in damages. The case was later overturned by an appeals court, and the Marine's father was ordered to pay the Church's legal fees.

Let me take a second and explain the church. The Westboro Baptist Church was founded in Topeka, Kansas in 1955. The church currently has approx. 60-70 members, and of those approx. 70 members, 50 of them are children, grandchildren, or in-laws of the leader, Fred Phelps. They travel the country and protest funerals of men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have a sign factory on their premises so that they can make their own signs for their protest marches. Sounds like a legit group.....

To begin with, I have read the opinion issued by the Court, and I wholly disagree with it. The court essentially determined that Matthew Snyder's funeral was not a private matter. The court also ruled that the remarks made by the Church weren't flagrant enough to warrant a repeal of their First Amendment Rights.

Just so we're clear on what was said, the church members carried signs that read;

"Thank God for IED's"
"God hates fags"
And various other hate filled propoganda.

What I am confused about is that we have stipulations that protect homosexuals, people of color, and men and women(based on sex) from hate speech, but the courts refuse to stand up and protect the men and women that are prepared to die for this country. These signs they made were hate speech, directed at the people that defend these freedoms, and our courts have failed to defend the families that are affected by this cowardly act.

We, as citizens of America, need to stand up and put an end to these ignorant acts performed by a small group of "religious" fanatics.

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