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Freedom of speech is a great thing. If I lived in a country without free speech I would have long ago died from exhaustion in a labor camp. And I wouldn’t have even been sent there for making some grand political statement, I’d be there for telling a dick joke to the wrong person.
It is truly wonderful to have freedom of speech, and I’m really not for making exceptions, except in the very most extreme of circumstances, like say
protesting harassing a military funeral because you think that a soldier’s death is part of God’s punishment for Americans supporting the rights of gay people. Aside from the fact that these protests are founded on a base of logic that’s about as sturdy as a treehouse built by an alcoholic father, did you not see Chick-fil-A yesterday, Fred Phelps?
The Westboro Baptist Church has long hidden behind the First Amendment, which is their right, but now Congress has made that slightly more difficult.
According to “The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012,” which is now headed to President Barack Obama’s desk, demonstrators will no longer be allowed to picket military funerals two hours before or after a service. The bill also requires protestors to be at least 300 feet away from grieving family members.
Basically Westboro Baptist is still allowed to get their message out, but their ability to shove said message in the face of new widows and recently sonless mothers has been limited. What a shame.
The real tragedy here is that we might see less of the Westboro counter-protests like the recent demonstrations at Texas A&M, Columbia MO, and the zombie protest. I was sort of hoping these would get even more creative. Please, if Westboro Baptist comes to your neck of the woods to spread their crazy, don’t hesitate to form a counter-protest. My ideal Westboro counter-protest would involve a lot of booze, several well concealed water balloon launcher teams, a gay Jesus flash mob and posters with Fred Phelps photoshopped into the Lemon Party (to confuse the children), and incessant prank phone calling to whatever Motel 6 the protesters are staying at the night before (pay off the front desk, it won’t be hard).
Hopefully the counter-protests continue. Because although this bill will help limit what that “church” can do, it won’t stop them from showing up.
- [via The Huffington Post]