"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Thursday, March 3, 2011


In the wake of the US Supreme Court decision affirming Westboro Baptist ‘Church” members’ right under the First Amendment’s provision for freedom of speech  to demonstrate against homosexuality at  funerals of fallen soldiers, it occurs to me to speculate about a couple things.  The congregation of this church, incidentally, consists primarily of a grandfather, his children, and his grandchildren.   It is an independent church rather than part of the mainstream Baptist conventions.

1.  Has it ever occurred to those “church” members that the same Constitutional rights that allow them to carry on their onerous, hate-filled campaign also guarantees the rights of those they vilify to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or, that those very soldiers whose funerals they disrupt, lost their lives, after swearing allegiance to and vowing to protect this country and its Constitution, in an attempt to provide others with those same human rights?

2.  Considering that most extreme hatreds arise from personal issues that foment such beliefs, what is the basis of hatreds so deep that those so-called church members would show a total lack of compassion for a fallen soldier and would disregard the emotional distress of grieving parents, relatives, and friends who were paying their final farewells?

Sometimes it goes against the sensibilities of a people to concede the Westboro Baptist Church congregation’s freedom of speech when used in such a hurtful way, but that same amendment guarantees me the right to speak out against them. 


  1. Well said, fortunately AND unfortunately you're right.

  2. Indeed, Gully. But where it all gets interesting (and completely insane) is that only some freedoms of expression are allowed.

    For example, let's suppose a group of nudists wanted to take their clothes off at a Westbro Baptist Church service. Would the Supreme Court uphold their right to do so? I don't think so. And what would make such an action unacceptable to the good Judges? The fact that those Judges would consider the sight of ordinary human bits and pieces potentially offensive – but only to people who hadn't gone looking for them in 'acceptable' places like internet porn sites (or Las Vegas maybe).

    And yet, in the example you've mentioned, the mourners certainly haven't sought out what is undoubtedly an offensive intrusion into their sensibilities.

    So we have a situation where what's deemed to be 'offensive' is ultimately determined by the views of a bunch of insulated conservatives who believe that they can measure such things.

    As for what might be the basis of the Westbro Baptists's hatred of homosexuality, I find it hard to shake the idea that most hatred is born of fear, and most fear is born of denial.

  3. As to your last paragraph, Fig, exactly what I've been thinking. Or, as the fellow said, "Me thinks thou dost protest too much." It could be, however, that said fear arises from being victimized.

    As for showing up nude at a "church" service, wouldn't that be a hoot? Of course, as the esteemed Supreme Court justice said in a famed pornography case, he couldn't define pornography but "I know it when I see it." I think the so-called Baptists are exhibiting pornography in its worst example when demonstrating at funerals.