If you're a skeptic like me, you may even doubt the existence of that cute little Jewish kid, J.C. However, let's meander into the realm of fairy tales and wonderlands for a minute. Let's say Jesus was here right now and we could ask him what he'd do in certain situations. For example, what would he say at the funeral of a fallen soldier. Would he:
a) bless his soul and thank him for his selfless sacrifice
b) say a few nice words and then head over to the pond and make some wine
c) ask his dad to get him in for free at the door
d) console the mourners and tell them he's in a much better place than the middle east
e) none of the above. instead he'd hold up a sign thanking his dad for murdering the soldier and saying it's because he was fighting for a country that was pro-homos.
You may not be a guru at multiple choice questions but I think most people that aren't sociopaths could agree it's not "e." Consequently, most of you aren't Pastor Fred Phelps and company who protested at the funeral of a dead marine, celebrating his death as Gods way of punishing the US and homosexuality. No really, it's true.
The Supreme Court met today to discuss a possible "line" being drawn regarding freedom of speech and the inevitable emotional distress and invasion of privacy inherent in Phelps' pyscho babble.
And so the sticky conversation ensues of how you can control free speech without hindering the law itself. If it's the cause of emotional distress, that isn't concrete enough. How does one gauge that? Even Larry Flynt commented on this case, harkening back to his own case involving freedom of speech. He said although some instances of free speech come from despicable intentions, if you have freedom of speech, it's freedom of all speech, from all viewpoints, no matter how depraved or despicable.
Lawyers for the church argued that it was a public funeral and therefore they had every right to be there. Lawyers for the father of the fallen marine argued that they were only there to cause harm and spread hatred, that it wasn't a matter of free speech, but a matter of invasion of privacy, psychological harm and inhuman hectoring. The Supreme Court is expected to settle on a ruling in the coming months. If you ask me, either way, it's a loss. If the Supreme Court sides with the father (like most of me wants it to), you've begun to encroach on the rights of citizens that aren't complete fucking unbalanced psychopaths. While I agree that this guy and his family (which by the way is who the members of the church are) are more in line to go to hell than any homosexual or soldier that I've ever met, I can't help but feel a little irked by the thought of amending the right to speak your mind, no matter how sick it is.
The question arises tho as to the line between freedom of speech and allowing militant, hateful groups to spread their messages to the masses. The same question popped up when discussing extremist Islamist groups preaching the destruction of America and the western world. Ed Husain wrote a book called The Islamist where he recounts his days as an extremist and his path away from it. He says it's a disgrace that England (where he was born and raised) allows these groups to preach the destruction of the very communities they live in. His stance is basically, if you have that big of a problem, move. Of course, these groups usually feel they should stay because the place they are in is in particular need of their services, their messages, their warnings. So, they stay. And they continue to picket outside funerals for fallen soldiers, jeering at his death. And unless the supreme court says anything about it, they'll continue to stay. The right to bury your child in peace is not an ammendment, nor is the right to throw people out of the country for hating you. Until action is taken or threats are made, they can keep on keepin' on.
So, even though a huge part of me would love to see these bastards muzzled for life, I doubt it will happen and even should happen. I don't usually buy into slippery slope theories but as our rights have been fretted away over the past few years, I am no supporter of taking away more.
The only thing I can suggest is that next time, a group of gays, and atheists bring bigger signs, yell louder and make out wearing upside down crosses in front of these loony tunes.