Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free speech....... or something that needs to be stopped?

I was surprised recently to find out that not everyone is familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church. They shouldn't even be called a church. They are mostly all family, related to the pastor, Fred Phelps. They love to go around spreading hate, picketing at the funerals of soldiers with signs saying things like "thank God for dead soldiers", "God hates fags", "God hates America", and other similar signs.

This same group of hateful individuals are planning on picketing at the funerals of the Arizona shooting victims... including the 9-year-old girl. A law was just passed to ban picketing within 1000 feet of a funeral. Many applaud this decision, while others worry about our free speech... and with good reason.

Should they be allowed to picket at funerals? It is sick, wrong, makes Christians look bad...... but if we stop that, what is the next step? The liberals make no secret of the fact that they want to limit free speech - which amounts to shutting conservatives up. They don't care about hateful speech from the left.

Anyone should recoil at the idea of people holding hateful signs at any funeral, much less those of a soldier or a 9-year-old girl. Imagine coming out of the funeral home and/or burial site to see signs rejoicing at your son or daughter's death. No wonder the father of a fallen soldier is trying to sue the church for doing so at his son's funeral.

But what about free speech? Outside of threatening a president - especially the socialist idiot we have right now - it seems we have free rein to say anything - though any anti-gay or anti-Muslim speech is trying to be curbed - but should any of it be curbed? Should we be allowed to say whatever we want to say? Picket at funerals?

Are there alternatives to banning picketing at funerals? There have been some. The last couple of times that this group of people have tried picketing, counter protestors have shown up ion droves to block their view and the view of the bereaved from seeing them. At one, a group of motorcyclists showed up and revved their engines to drown the hateful people out. The tires of the hatemongers were flattened and no on in the town would help them get fixed.

Most of us would change our minds about things we believe if we were in certain situations. Not for the death penalty? If your child was abducted, raped, and killed... you would be. And there are other scenarios. Come out of a funeral where your loved one was buried and see signs rejoicing over the fact - you'd be all for bannning picketing at funerals.

I see it from both sides. The dangers of limiting free speech, and the desire to see these people pushed back as far as possible from these actions. Yet, I am all for allowing protestors at baby killing factories (aka abortion clinics) - and there is no comparison between the two, but there are those who want that stopped - and that is limiting free speech.

I guess what it boils down to, is perspective. If it is something we agree with - protesting at baby killing factories -  we want our free speech rights. If we disagree - these idiots who protest at funerals - we want free speech curbed in that situation. But we can't have it both ways.

So I remain on the fence. On one hand, I want these hateful people blocked from their horrible actions, but on the other.... I worry about limiting free speech. Yes, even of these horrible people. If we start there, we have no way of knowing where it will stop.

Meanwhile, cheers to anyone dedicated to show up and block these people. Keep up the good work, and go ahead and flatten their tires.


Christy said...

Hey Mark,
Interesting post....however I would like to disagree with one statement
You said:
Yet, I am all for allowing protestors at baby killing factories (aka abortion clinics) - and there is no comparison between the two, but there are those who want that stopped - and that is limiting free speech.

I AM NOT all for protesters at abortion clinics. I agree with the March for Life, Pro life signs and billboards. I agree with clinics for free info for pregnant girls, however I think picketing at abortion clinics crosses the line. As a teenager although VERY pro-life, had I gotten myself into the sticky situation of pregnancy before marriage I must admit I cannot say what I would have done. I have watched judgement be dealt so harshly and I have seen parents reputations ruined because of their kids and I would not have wanted that for my family, so only God knows what choice I would have made. That being said, I can totally understand the turmoil that many of the girls must be going through as they enter that clinic and picketers and protesters do NOT show the love of Jesus. In my mind we need to start at home....lets love our teens that get pregnant before marriage, and do our best to support their decision to have the child. Lets NOT lose respect for the parents of the teenager having the baby. Lets make sure they feel LOVED and RESPECTED, despite what has happened. Lets make sure we let them know we still believe in them. Lets be their friend. You might be surprised how many girls from christian (and even AWM) homes have had (or considered having) an abortion. Also, instead of picketing, why don't we volunteer at a clinic for young people who don't know where to turn. I say I am pro life and sometimes attend the pro-life march, but really if thats all you & I do...we are kind of doing NOTHING!! That's just my opinion..I am NOT always right... I thought I would share it for what its worth. I would love to hear your thoughts (and anyone else that wants to weigh in!)

Christy said...
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Christy said...
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Christy said...
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Annette said...

I believe that nothing is really free, there is always some kind of payment.
Same for free speech, we cannot say anything we want, after all if you just mention the word bomb in an airport even in jesting you can be arrested.
I believe that many Christian people are so wrapped up in what they are wanting to say, exerting their free speech, that they forgetting the greatest commandment.
Jesus said to, "Love the Lord our God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39
And a Scripture that is very convicting to me.
"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45