If you have been lucky enough to get momentary blips of ‘real’ news during the Charlie Sheen, Craziness & Co. mess, you may have heard that The United States Supreme Court ruled that a Kansas church whose members traverse the country using military funerals as a backdrop for their own agenda has the right to continue doing so. Fred Phelps, who runs Westboro Baptist Church and his members are of the opinion that American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God’s punishment for U.S. immorality and tolerance of abortion and homosexuality. Church members hold up signs to the tune of, “Thank God for dead soldiers,” “God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11” and “God blew up the troops” at the funerals of American servicemen and women. And, they are indeed allowed. They may not have a ‘place’, but they certainly have a right according to the U.S. Constitution.
My friends, I support the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at the funerals of American service men and women and I’ll tell you why. It seems the overwhelming consensus is against this decision, but we must be able to distinguish between what’s distasteful and what is our constitutional right. Yes, the church’s outlandish display AT A FUNERAL (operative words!) is tacky. Yes, it is disrespectful to the grieving families. Yes, it is obnoxious and incompassionate. However, The First Amendment which shields the protesters says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH” So, there you go. Unfortunately, the Constitution cannot dictate compassion, which is what I think the majority of us would certainly look to a church to exhibit. Well, Westboro Baptist Church ain’t that kind of Church. They would rather take their fight and their determination to deliver their message to an arena so wrought with emotion than exhibit a small amount of compassion. Why? Because it garners the most attention! In this instance they don’t mind standing on the book of the land and not on the Word of God, because I know in that book, there are many laws of compassion.
Do you agree with the ruling? Do you agree with the church? What would you do if they showed up at your loved one’s funeral? Do you agree with the lone dissenting Supreme Court Justice, Justice Samuel Alito who said “Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case,” Do you agree with Chief Justice John Roberts who said in his opinion that the court, protects “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate”, Should we be careful in deciding what Constitutional rights to retract or modify and where or how do we draw the line?, Should we be especially careful as African-Americans when it comes to issues related to rights?, Where do you stand?! Join us tonight as we explore this interesting debate! Call in with your thoughts. 407.774.0810