Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Above is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is alleged to protect ‘freedom of speech’ and other freedoms.
I recently posted about the 19 hotshot firefighters who lost their lives fighting a fire in Northern Arizona. A tragic, horrible loss to the families, the community and the profession.
Their funerals were last week.
The Westboro Baptist Church reported they planned to protest the funeral processions. They seem to show up at every public tragedy, pleading their case that God is killing us because as a Nation we don’t ban same-sex marriage.
One of my regular readers posted a comment hoping they get their asses kicked.
While I find their interpretation of the Bible to be vile and repugnant, there are larger questions.
How is a congregation of reportedly 50 people able to continually travel the Nation, spreading their intolerance and hate? Where is their funding coming from?
And there is another question. Do the folks who wish these folks ill have the same feelings about the Occupy Wall Street protestors? You know, the ones who caused thousands of dollars damage in dozens of cities and defecated on police patrol cars? And were rapists and drug abusers? How about the Tea Party?
Or the folks peacefully protesting the Zimmerman verdict? (As for the violent ones, there are laws…)
The point of this post is not to single out the Westboro folks, or my one commenter. It’s to make a point.
The First Amendment, like the other nine, was designed not just to reaffirm our rights as individual citizens with whom we agree. It’s to reaffirm the rights of the vile, the putrid, the disgusting – people we wouldn’t let into our town if we had the choice.
The putrid have a right to their opinion, as long as they don’t violate any laws in so expressing it. Wishing them violence is akin to Spike Lee wishing Charlton Heston was shot with a .44 Special revolver, like Son of Sam used. Mr. Lee did just that. He had an opinion.
Opinions are like @$$holes. Everyone has one. I would smile if the Westboro folks were convinced violently to leave the funeral processions. Or if something nasty happened to Spike Lee.
But that wouldn’t be right, either the violence or my smile.