Ah, the problem with freedom is that it's too free. As a Hitler youth once said, "We love Hitler. He makes us free from freedom." Speaking of Hitler, here's some people he surely would've enjoyed not drinking and slamming minorities with. The Supreme Court just OK'd the anti-gay picketing at funerals of dead soldiers by extremist groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church.
The father of a dead Marine had sued members of Westboro Baptist Church for picketing outside his son's funeral with signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers," "You're going to Hell," "God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11" and so on.
According to Rev. Fred Phelps, the crazed piece of shit that runs Westboro Baptist Church, soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's way of punishing the US for tolerating homosexuality.
The marine's father, Albert Snyder filed a lawsuit for intentionally causing emotional distress. Initially he won $11 million, further brought down to $5 million, before the case went to the Supreme Court where it was thrown out on the grounds that our Constitution protects the church members from liability.
I'm not gonna lie - I wouldn't wanna be the guy deliberating this case. And I can just hear the cries of "slippery slope" if he had judged the other way.
I think the Phelpses (the church is mostly just family members - scraping the bottom of the gene pool) should be air-lifted into Iraq and Afghanistan, put into combat situations with their dumb shit signs and slogans and then see how they feel about the tragic deaths of young kids in uniform.
However, since I don't see that being a verdict anytime soon, I find myself reluctantly agreeing with the judge.
Unless picketers or preachers or nut-jobs advocate violence or insight rioting, freedom of speech should be upheld. I only wish it would be upheld more globally - for example, here in LA, where you can now go to jail for protesting - considered disturbing the peace (trust me, there's no peace in LA anyway).
Unfortunately, I don't live anywhere near where these ignorant, soulless crusaders are, but if I did, I'd go out there and yell right back at 'em.
If they can constitutionally stand there, so can we. It might even turn into a nice little soiree for the right and left. Regardless of where you stand on the wars overseas, you can stand together against those brain damaged yahoos.
For example, I am vehemently anti-war, but I bow my head at each mention of another dead soldier. I remember putting name tags on "Arlington West," a symbolic graveyard in the sand of Santa Barbara, a cross for each dead soldier, their names rubber banded to the cross. I broke down half way through - average age, 19.
I would be the loudest, most obnoxious protester at those funerals. I would plant myself in front of them, occupy their simple minded hate with contradictory verses from their own damn bible, bring signs that were bigger, louder, brighter.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Freedom of speech might not be around much longer, while it is, enjoy it. Do Something.