Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Right to Be a Supreme Asshole

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church today, saying they had a right to picket funerals. As much as it pains me to say it, this is the right decision. Fred Phelps and his followers are amongst the worst sort of scum. Their hate-filled rants against homosexuals, Jews, Catholics deserve all the scorn that can be mustered. The First Amendment gives them the right to spread their filth, however, and restrictions of that right need to be done very, very carefully. We don't let people falsely shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater because it could lead to harm. Members of the WBC were far enough away from the funeral from which this (most recent) lawsuit ensued that their actions were not considered stalking or harassment. They should be allowed to do what they do because restricting their speech is a slippery slope that we should not start down.

The best thing to be done about things like this is to exercise one's own free speech and counter-protest. Excellent examples of this can be found here.

No comments: