Westboro Church, which claims to be Christian and and Baptist while carrying signs wishing death on US Servicemen and homosexuals, has won an 8-1 decision in the US Supreme Court. This case began when a grieving father tried to hold a Christian funeral for his son, a military man killed in combat. Members of the Westboro Church showed up with signs with slurs about “Fags” and servicemen burning in Hell. That the deceased wasn’t gay doesn’t enter in to the situation.
What the Supreme Court has done is to give the go-ahead to protestors to disrupt private ceremonies, such as funerals. It will also serve to give cover to groups who wish to inflict emotional harm on the familes of US servicemen, as well as the familes who want to bury a loved one who is gay.
The right to assemble and the right to free speech are protected in the First Amendment. Common sense dictates that those rights are not absolute. For example, we don’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, and we don’t give voice to death threats. Lawyers and “intellectuals” will justify this ruling with all kinds of terminology and phrases that are NOT found in the constitution, which is a shame.
The US Constitution was a brief document (easily read in one sitting) and written plainly enough that any man can know his rights and the limits of those right. Since the time of our founding, a class of citizens (we’ll call them attorneys) has risen up. That class, limited to one vocation, entirely inhabits and owns one branch of the US government. It would take a near miracle for any citizen not trained to be “lawyer” to become a federal judge or a justice, much less a state or local level justice. Further, a look at a second branch (the legislature) presents us with a great number of lawyers out of proportion to other vocations found in a cross section of our country.
In creating a construct in which to write and to interpret the law, the lawyers seem to have gotten away from the basics of law. We have laws that our founders would never have approved of, rights (such as the right to kill a child in a mother’s womb) that our founders would have fought vigerously against, and laws that take the hard earned money from citizens and waste it to a degree that would get a private corporation’s board thrown into prison.
Our founders would have approved of a cultish group of family members protesting against the government. Clearly, our founding fathers would have thrown protestors into stocks if those protestors had intruded on the private ceremony of a fallen US Serviceman. We have a class of citizens, attorneys, who have so insulated themselves with the study of “law” that they’ve forgotten what the law and its rules really are.
There will be intellectual debates introducing legal concepts and other heady, ivory tower rhetoric to justify the decision. At the end of the day though, one thing is clear. So-called “free speech” now authorizes people to invade the private lives of ordinary citizens. Whether this is grieving military families or the children of business executives hidning in their homes while union protestors trample the yard and make threats (we’ve seen this recently), this attitude will not serve our nation well.
It is sad that we can restrict the free speech of political campaigns (McCain-Feingold) and the Internet (Fairness Doctrine), but we can’t protect a father trying to privately protect the sanctity of the celebration of his son’s life.
The slippery slope to Gemorrah just got steeper.