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Originally posted by tncryptogal
The one thing I have not seen here is mention of the fact this church used this fallen soldier's name in a hate filled tirade on their site. That has to at least count for slander or liable. How can that be considered "free speech"?
Also, if violence does ensue at one of these protests, what they are saying about the fallen would clearly be defined and categorized as "fighting words".
morality varies from individual to individual by nature and should Not be legislated. The right to hold and profess whichever morals you like is one of our freedoms, so long as it doesn't directly lead to some guy killing people.
Hate crimes (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or political affiliation.
"Hate crime" generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).
Originally posted by nithaiah
Something I've noticed in this thread is that quite a few people have somehow misequated "morality" (whatever the 'ell that means...) as trumping law of the land. This seems to me a bit of a major problem, as morality varies from individual to individual by nature and should Not be legislated. The right to hold and profess whichever morals you like is one of our freedoms, so long as it doesn't directly lead to some guy killing people.
I disagree with the Phelps clan and everything that they say. They are a hate group, and I consider their existence a blight upon the earth. I would not be saddened if the whole lot were wiped out in a fiery bus crash. I would be saddened if someone murdered them, because I think throwing your life away on garbage is an unfortunate choice.
However, I think that taking away their right to protest within a reasonable distance of a mostly public funeral service would do a disservice to the funerals that could and should conceivably be protested. Using a different WBC funeral protest example, Michael Jackson. Had a different group turned out and protested instead the massive waste of Angeleno taxpayer cash on funeral security and shutting down of vital roads for an existentially bankrupt celebrity's funeral, to which the public were Not invited... would you say those people were in the moral wrong?
Again, it comes down to your perspective. The WBC folk 99% stay within their rights. Depending on the locale, their speech could be called obscenity, but since the other f-word doesn't appear to even be censored on here, the general public opinion on the word still seems to be out. They stand with their toes on the very last micron of the line, but so far they have kept their filth clean. I imagine that the lawyers are in the family both for internal legal counsel about what they can and cannot do within the law, and to retaliate strongly against (what we consider good) people who cross the line against them. And from their perspective, they are right. And though I disagree with their perspective, I would die for their right to hold it, and to tritely express that sentiment.
The reasons behind our founding fathers' philosophy included the willingness to fight for the individual's right to be individual, or the group's right to collectively hold the same nerve jangling ideals and exercise them within the broad extent of the law. They came from England, which at that point had a pretty lousy track record of kicking the dog out of people who went against the grain. There are limitations, such as anything which would reasonably lead to violence or life threatening public disruption. But so far Phelps & Co. haven't done that either.
Though WBC stand for vile things, it's not them or their stance I'm defending. It's the legal right for such Technically Peaceful groups to exist, whatever their philosophy, angle, or morality. If Phelps & Co. were taken down, that leaves open other fringe groups for takedown as well, including ones near and dear to whatever your leanings are. I absolutely do not blame SCOTUS for erring on the side of the 1st Amendment. Setting that precedent would be a slippery slope.