There seems to be a bit of confusion here. When the WBC is brought up, people will cite Freedom of Speech to say they should be able to say the things
they say and do the things they do. But you see, that's not entirely true.
The text of the ammendment is:
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.
People don't really understand what Freedom of Speech means. It doesn't mean you can say anything you want anywhere you want to anyone you want. It
means that the government will not infringe on your right to do these things. However, it doesn't mean that private citizens have to "put up with
It says that congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. This means that there will be no laws passed saying people cannot share their
views. That's all the protection it gives.
From the US Courts: www.uscourts.gov...
Freedom of speech includes the right:
Not to speak (specifically, the right not to salute the flag).
Of students to wear black armbands to school to protest a war (“Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”).
To use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages.
To contribute money (under certain circumstances) to political campaigns.
To advertise commercial products and professional services (with some restrictions).
To engage in symbolic speech, e.g., burning the flag in protest.
However, there are things that freedom of speech does NOT include:
To incite actions that would harm others (e.g. “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
To make or distribute obscene materials.
To burn draft cards as an anti-war protest.
To permit students to print articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration.
Of students to make an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
Of students to advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event.
The actions that WBC partake in DOES harm others. It inflicts emotional and psychological damage on people who are mourning. It is extremely harmful.
Maybe not physically, but definitely emotionally and psychologically. In fact, that is their sole purpose in what they do, to inflict harm.
Now, aside of Congress not making any laws to abridge free speech, it does not say that you can say just anything you want any time you want, anywhere
you want. They cannot do these things on private property, they cannot do these things in certain public areas, they should not be allowed to do these
things for the sole purpose of causing harm. At some point in time, there will be more lawsuits and it will make it to the supreme court and these
people will be stopped. Unfortunately, people are hampered by emotion and they don't approach it in a manner that would allow them to be stopped.
With what the courts have already addressed, we see that WBC's words are considered political, not religous. Since they are political, this excludes
WBC from being considered a Church and any tax exempt status needs to be removed from them. After that is done, then the political nature can be
addressed. If they are not supportive of any given candidate for any given election, then they aren't being political, only harmful. When we get to
the point where we can address it without our emotions, then they can be stopped from the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
Stoping WBC would not hamper freedom of speech in any way that hasn't already been addressed. It would not curtail our rights as citizens, it will
not change anything about the laws or the freedoms that we have. All that needs to be done is for someone to take it to the courts specifically citing
WBC and having it addressed, then they can be stopped from doing what they do. When will this happen? When will they be addressed? When will they be
stopped from inflicting continued emotional damage on the citizens of our country?
Until then, if the funerals are held on private property surrounded by other private property with no "public access" WBC can NOT be there. They
have no rights to set foot on private property without an invitation and they can be arrested for trespassing if they do. If they are going to use
loopholes to spread their hatred, then we need to use loopholes to prevent them from it until it is addressed by the courts and they are stopped by
Furthermore, if they are on that private property and people feel threatened by their weapons (they're holding sticks that could be used for beating)
and are fearful for their lives, it is within their rights to defend themselves on that private property. If the WBC bunch is injured or worse, they
are at fault for being on private property with their "weapons" to start with.
It's time people do something about these horrible people who bend the law to suit their own agenda. They bend, they twist, the loophole around the
laws. The best response is to use their own game against them and shut them down with their very own tactics.