Free speech wins one

As much as I despise Fred Phelps and everything he stands for, and as much as it galls me to have to agree with him about ANYTHING, it’s pretty clear to me that the Supreme Court got this one right; free speech isn’t really free if we can’t agree that speech we hate is also protected.

In the spirit of my own free speech, though, I have a message for Phelps and his “church”:

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About Erik

Husband, father, biblioholic, singer, drummer, Pagan, UU
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7 Responses to Free speech wins one

  1. Aletheia says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the morning laugh. :)

  2. Feral Boy says:

    Fine, they can say what they want … but then they should have to deal with the consequences of that speech. Aren’t there “hate speech” laws on the books already, or harassment laws? I know if I did the like at work I would not be there long. Perhaps slander … the fact that the soldier most likely was not gay to start with (and from what I have heard, these folk don’t care if they were or not) should be grounds for a suit of some kind. Work with the tools you have … but, yeah, ridicule is often the best weapon :)

  3. Erik says:

    Their point was not that this particular soldier was or was not gay, but that *all* our dead soldiers are a punishment from God for not outlawing homosexuality (or something like that)…

    In this particular case, I believe it was determined (whether by the Supremes or a lower court I don’t remember) that harassment laws did not apply because they were over a certain distance away – and hate speech laws mostly come into play where you can prove specific incitement, not just general inflammatory speech (i.e., “God hates fags” doesn’t qualify, but “Gods says fags should die” might, and “God says to kill those fags over there” – pretty definitely).

    Kullervo is a lawyer, maybe he can provide some actual legal knowledge if he happens to read this thread…)

  4. Feral Boy says:

    Perhaps “the devil using the bible” might work then:

    1 Peter 2:12 Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers, they will have to recognize your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming.

    Mark 12: 30-31 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[a] This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    Matthew 18: 21-22 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

    and many more … Who will be the shield-bearers?

  5. Erik says:

    Wouldn’t help… they obviously select which parts of the Bible they want to pay attention to…

  6. Feral Boy says:

    Cafeteria Christianity, a common illness

  7. Kullervo says:

    Aren’t there “hate speech” laws on the books already, or harassment laws? I know if I did the like at work I would not be there long.

    Big, big difference between “what they will fire you for at work” and “what the government can legally outlaw or restrict.”

    Work with the tools you have … but, yeah, ridicule is often the best weapon :)

    Not in this case though. The problem here is that Phelps’s mob is insular and deliberately provocative. They deliberately seek out social opprobrium, so no amount of pressure or ostracism will push them into changing. They’re already ostracized. They want notoriety.

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