CNN has a fascinating story about the Westboro Baptist Church that you should check out, if you haven’t already. I hate to give these imbeciles any more attention, but it’s not too often you see a group being protested by the Ku Klux Klan for being too hateful. Perhaps the fact that the KKK disapproves of them will cause them to reassess their mission. I’m guessing it probably will not. What would deter them would be having to stand behind their words.
The Westboro Baptists have a Constitutional right to free speech. No one is contesting that. What makes me livid are the actions with which they accompany their free speech. “Protest”, we’ve learned, is code for screaming abuse to taunt grieving families and incite violence. We should remember this group protests at funerals for the sole purpose of provoking those present. It’s an act of aggression toward the families, which is certainly not a Constitutional right. Why are we providing them with taxpayer-funded bodyguards for this purpose?
The context makes a big difference. If you meet a friend for coffee at Starbucks and say, “I don’t like Muslims”, that’s your opinion and you have a right to it. However, if you stand outside a mosque chanting “All Muslims are terrorists!”, you’re deliberately antagonizing people. You can do that, but it isn’t a free speech issue. It’s a question of whether you’re entitled to be shielded from the consequences of your actions.
Would the Westboro Baptists still protest at funerals if they could no longer scurry behind police lines whenever they manage to meet their goal of inciting violence? Nobody knows for sure, but my guess is we would never hear from these maggots again.
Note to Westboro Baptists: God hates a coward.