Fire in a crowded theater? – or “Free Speech”?

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rdean

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A man’s son came back from the overseas war a “fallen hero”. Christian protesters picketed the funeral of the grieving man’s son. Not because they disagreed with the war, but because they feel the only reason this soldier died is because God refused to protect him. The reason given was that this country tolerates gay people.

The man took the church that sponsored this disgraceful invasion of privacy to court and was awarded millions in damages.

A conservative judge overturned that award and ruled the family of the fallen soldier should pay the more than $16,000 in court costs because the churches “right” to free speech has been “violated”. Or was it?

Carry it out to the logical conclusion. God refused to protect this soldier because of the gays. That means the death of the soldier is the responsibility and “fault” of the gays. If they weren’t “gay”, then no soldiers would have died. Since the gays, by their actions, “caused” the death of this man, it is “they” who should be “punished” for wrong doing. Carry that out even farther and it must mean that because of the gays, 9/11 happened and Katrina happened. That means that thousands of Americans died and it’s the fault of the gays.

Of course, any sane and reasonable person knows this to be ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact, it’s not even considered “hate speech”. But isn’t it?

If someone is accused of a crime, and found guilty for that crime, shouldn’t they be “held accountable”? That is exactly what is going on here. This Christian church is accusing gays of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans. The logical conclusion is they are advocating “punishment”. If that punishment is undeserved, then this isn’t “free” speech, it’s “hate” speech preaching unwarranted violence against an innocent and identifiable group of patriotic Americans who have committed no crime, hence, “fire in a crowded theater”. Besides, if we shouldn't "tolerate" the gays, what should we do to them?
 
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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
 
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rdean

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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
That's why this is a dilemma for me. On one hand, I respect the right to privacy; on the other hand, I respect "free speech". Banning a protest for merely "grief" could set a terrible precedent towards a "slippery slope" away from constitutional rights.

However, the people truly maligned are the gays. What did they do? And if Phelps is correct, what should their punishment be? If they are not guilty of anything, then this isn't "free" speech, but "hate" speech. That is against the law.
 
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Westboro is a bunch of liberal loons out there to embarrass the right and be jerkasses to soldiers at one and the same time.

It is just one family who were notorious for being ACLU goons before they decided to pull this stunt. They have no more knowledge of Christianity than a mollusk. They are the evil side of the great spaghetti monster. They deserve no respect as a religion. They are merely lefty goons enjoying thuggery for its own sake.

Anyone has an absolute right to free speech, but these guys aren't into free speech. they are just into deliberate pain and humiliation. They don't care about the war, they don't care about Leviticus. They care about emotional pain. They are sadists. They should pay the damages.
 
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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
That's why this is a dilemma for me. On one hand, I respect the right to privacy; on the other hand, I respect "free speech". Banning a protest for merely "grief" could set a terrible precedent towards a "slippery slope" away from constitutional rights.

However, the people truly maligned are the gays. What did they do? And if Phelps is correct, what should their punishment be? If they are not guilty of anything, then this isn't "free" speech, but "hate" speech. That is against the law.
I'm not a supporter of 'hate speech' legislation. I am a supporter of free speech, BUT.... with 'rights' come 'responsibilities'. That's the 'fire in a crowded theater' scenario. The family of the dead have the right to bury their loved ones in peace. We, as a country, owe them that. Those families have the right to privacy, and to live their lives (including burying their dead) without having to tolerate those scumbag protestors.

While I support the right of the Westboro cult to protest, we have to balance their rights with the rights of other people. The right to free speech doesn't outweigh the right of other people. We often forget that in the 'free speech' debate. It's not the only right - it is just one.
 

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I don't know that there is an easy way to protest - a way to do it that won't offend someone. If there is, however, I have to say that us guys on the left never seem to be able to find it. We seem to have a real talent for looking bad while we are protesting. Never mind that the cause is just - we always seem to find a way to make ourselves the center of the problem, rather than the problem we are trying to protest.
 

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Churches have a big influence in the courts.

Witnesses do not swear to tell the truth on a phone book do they?
 
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George Costanza

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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
That's why this is a dilemma for me. On one hand, I respect the right to privacy; on the other hand, I respect "free speech". Banning a protest for merely "grief" could set a terrible precedent towards a "slippery slope" away from constitutional rights.

However, the people truly maligned are the gays. What did they do? And if Phelps is correct, what should their punishment be? If they are not guilty of anything, then this isn't "free" speech, but "hate" speech. That is against the law.
I'm not a supporter of 'hate speech' legislation. I am a supporter of free speech, BUT.... with 'rights' come 'responsibilities'. That's the 'fire in a crowded theater' scenario. The family of the dead have the right to bury their loved ones in peace. We, as a country, owe them that. Those families have the right to privacy, and to live their lives (including burying their dead) without having to tolerate those scumbag protestors.

While I support the right of the Westboro cult to protest, we have to balance their rights with the rights of other people. The right to free speech doesn't outweigh the right of other people. We often forget that in the 'free speech' debate. It's not the only right - it is just one.
Excuse me? Is this really you, CG? Or has a civil person taken over your computer by force? ;)
 
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That's why this is a dilemma for me. On one hand, I respect the right to privacy; on the other hand, I respect "free speech". Banning a protest for merely "grief" could set a terrible precedent towards a "slippery slope" away from constitutional rights.

However, the people truly maligned are the gays. What did they do? And if Phelps is correct, what should their punishment be? If they are not guilty of anything, then this isn't "free" speech, but "hate" speech. That is against the law.
I'm not a supporter of 'hate speech' legislation. I am a supporter of free speech, BUT.... with 'rights' come 'responsibilities'. That's the 'fire in a crowded theater' scenario. The family of the dead have the right to bury their loved ones in peace. We, as a country, owe them that. Those families have the right to privacy, and to live their lives (including burying their dead) without having to tolerate those scumbag protestors.

While I support the right of the Westboro cult to protest, we have to balance their rights with the rights of other people. The right to free speech doesn't outweigh the right of other people. We often forget that in the 'free speech' debate. It's not the only right - it is just one.
Excuse me? Is this really you, CG? Or has a civil person taken over your computer by force? ;)
Fuck off. You know jack shit about me. rdean posted a perfectly reasonable question. While rdean and I may disagree passionately about many things, I treat threads with the respect they deserve. Pity I can't say the same about you, assclown.
 

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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
There are currently 2 cases (consolidated) before the US Supreme Court on this very issue.

A ruling will probably be handed down in June?
 
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The right of the family to privacy outweighs the right of protest. I wouldn't seek to silence the Westboro Church, but I would absolutely support the banning of their right to protest AT THE FUNERALS of our war dead.
There are currently 2 cases (consolidated) before the US Supreme Court on this very issue.

A ruling will probably be handed down in June?
I am skeptical of the SC to balance the rights of ALL people. They appear to often favor the rights of the few.

I have absolutely no problem with Westboro showing themselves for the contemptible assholes that they are. I would prefer they not call themselves 'Christians' because I think Christ is offended by them but that is their right. And rights are not easy things to live with.

But.... We ALL have rights. Their rights do not outweigh mine or anyone else's.
 
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I don't know that there is an easy way to protest - a way to do it that won't offend someone. If there is, however, I have to say that us guys on the left never seem to be able to find it. We seem to have a real talent for looking bad while we are protesting. Never mind that the cause is just - we always seem to find a way to make ourselves the center of the problem, rather than the problem we are trying to protest.
This is not a church. Flip Wilson's "Church of What is Happening Now" is more of a church.

I have seen these folks on You Tube being interviewed about other aspects of religion. They are beyond clueless. They just are in it for the pain they can inflict.

There are legitimate goofy church beliefs. Many churches war on Darwin, have problems with Homosexuals, etc etc. This sleazy bunch can't even step up to that level of crass stupidity.
 

uscitizen

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I was always partial to houses of discount worship. Where you could make a $20 donation for $9.99.

Anyone else ever listen to Brother Dave Gardner?
Chuck and Babe? LIttle David sitting in the shade of the Pyramid?
 
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Annie

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Free speech is imperative both on public property and in the media. Basically 'Westboro Church' is made up of the Phelps family, inbred all it appears. Christian? Hardly by the message that Christ sent.

Still they do have rights, yet so do funeral homes and patrons of their services. I've read over the past years how some motorcyclists have aided the families:

Anti-gay church sparks free-speech fight - Life- msnbc.com

Most towns have quite a turnout for funerals of our fallen soldiers. No reason that people cannot block view of the idiots from the grieving family. Flags should do so, nicely.

If I had family I'd be sure to request the media not give coverage to the inbred Phelps cacklers. However, I'd not get involved in any interaction with the loons.
 

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Fuck off. You know jack shit about me. rdean posted a perfectly reasonable question. While rdean and I may disagree passionately about many things, I treat threads with the respect they deserve. Pity I can't say the same about you, assclown.
THERE's the CG I am coming to know and love - I feel much better now.

FYI, the correct expression is "You DON'T know jack shit."

Peace and love. :D
 

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Westboro is a bunch of liberal loons out there to embarrass the right and be jerkasses to soldiers at one and the same time.

It is just one family who were notorious for being ACLU goons before they decided to pull this stunt. They have no more knowledge of Christianity than a mollusk. They are the evil side of the great spaghetti monster. They deserve no respect as a religion. They are merely lefty goons enjoying thuggery for its own sake.

Anyone has an absolute right to free speech, but these guys aren't into free speech. they are just into deliberate pain and humiliation. They don't care about the war, they don't care about Leviticus. They care about emotional pain. They are sadists. They should pay the damages.
honey, calling the westboro psychos 'liberal' is pretty sad. seriously....not even in the realm of reality.
 
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Fuck off. You know jack shit about me. rdean posted a perfectly reasonable question. While rdean and I may disagree passionately about many things, I treat threads with the respect they deserve. Pity I can't say the same about you, assclown.
THERE's the CG I am coming to know and love - I feel much better now.

FYI, the correct expression is "You DON'T know jack shit."

Peace and love. :D
No, I meant what I said. Fucking moron.
 

boedicca

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Freedom stops when it infringes upon the right of others.

In this case, the right of the family to honor and mourn their loved ones trumps the freedom of the protestors to speak out against gay rights. The latter have plenty of other forums to express their freedom of speech. The family will bury their fallen soldier only once.
 
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Westboro is a bunch of liberal loons out there to embarrass the right and be jerkasses to soldiers at one and the same time.

It is just one family who were notorious for being ACLU goons before they decided to pull this stunt. They have no more knowledge of Christianity than a mollusk. They are the evil side of the great spaghetti monster. They deserve no respect as a religion. They are merely lefty goons enjoying thuggery for its own sake.

Anyone has an absolute right to free speech, but these guys aren't into free speech. they are just into deliberate pain and humiliation. They don't care about the war, they don't care about Leviticus. They care about emotional pain. They are sadists. They should pay the damages.
honey, calling the westboro psychos 'liberal' is pretty sad. seriously....not even in the realm of reality.
Read up on them. They are a disgusting horrible piece of work, and I think their 'liberalism' of 20 years ago was as much a scam as their religiosity is now. But that is who they are and were. They are mostly into orchestrating emotional pain.

I think the Masses doctrine Rdean noted earlier is a crock (The damn theater was on fire, after all) but I don't think deliberate sadism is protected speech.
 

Annie

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Westboro is a bunch of liberal loons out there to embarrass the right and be jerkasses to soldiers at one and the same time.

It is just one family who were notorious for being ACLU goons before they decided to pull this stunt. They have no more knowledge of Christianity than a mollusk. They are the evil side of the great spaghetti monster. They deserve no respect as a religion. They are merely lefty goons enjoying thuggery for its own sake.

Anyone has an absolute right to free speech, but these guys aren't into free speech. they are just into deliberate pain and humiliation. They don't care about the war, they don't care about Leviticus. They care about emotional pain. They are sadists. They should pay the damages.
honey, calling the westboro psychos 'liberal' is pretty sad. seriously....not even in the realm of reality.
Read up on them. They are a disgusting horrible piece of work, and I think their 'liberalism' of 20 years ago was as much a scam as their religiosity is now. But that is who they are and were. They are mostly into orchestrating emotional pain.

I think the Masses doctrine Rdean noted earlier is a crock (The damn theater was on fire, after all) but I don't think deliberate sadism is protected speech.
You're earlier post made me hunt a bit. He's run for office more than a few times, always as a Democrat-last time in 90's. He always lost. Seems he was a significant civil rights attorney, though in all other ways was very much a Klucker. Hates Jews, gays, Catholics, Irish, Swedes, ....
 

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