A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 04, 2011

Freedom of Speech 8, Common Sense and Decency 1

The world is certainly upside down this week with strange and weird events transpiring that I never thought would happen. Example: ongoing conflict and unrest between the people of Libya and their delusional leader who vows to stay in power no matter what. Another example: an entire race exonerated by a global religious leader for a crime for which they should never have been condemned in the first place. And this: pizza shop owners victimized by a rival businessman using rodents to drive away their customers. Now the topper: liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans coming together as one voice in the spirit of bipartisanship to condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to inflict emotional distress on Americans mourning the loss of their sons and daughters in war.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has referred to these church members as “loons”. Sarah Palin has twittered a statement expressing outrage at the ruling’s conquest over decency. On the arguably liberal side, the Southern Poverty Law Center has placed the church on their list of “hate groups”. I find myself agreeing with all of these assessments.

Me in agreement with conservatives on an issue! What is the world coming to? Go figure!

(Okay, truth be told I haven’t been feeling myself the last few days. I don’t know what exactly happened, but I can trace it back to a possibly underheated stromboli I ate...for breakfast a few days ago. Now you know...I eat greasy, Italian food for my first meal of the day!)

Regardless, I would still share the conservatives' outrage at this ruling, diarrhea or no.

The ruling is a victory for Wichita’s Westboro Baptist Church, which has gained a national reputation protesting at the funerals for soldiers killed in Iran and Afghanistan. One soldier’s family chose to sue the church for emotional distress, and later saw their original financial award cut in half before it went to the Supreme Court. That court’s vote — by a margin outlined in the title above — canceled the award altogether. And, oh by the way, the court also basically approved the church’s right to spew their hateful rhetoric wherever they choose.

The Westboro Baptists — who are very different from many other Baptist groups which the denomination takes great pains to point out — hate homosexuals. They also hate Jews. They claim that God hates both of these groups and America as a whole because the United States has not condemned homosexuals. Oh, let’s face facts: the Westboro Baptists hate everyone who does not claim to be a Westboro Baptist.

For anyone reading this and who may not be familiar with Christianity, we should point out that the Westboro Baptists do not represent Christ's teachings as much as they believe they do. For many practicing Christians, the overall motto of the faithful can be summed up in the mathematical equation: God = Love. Obviously, the Westboro congregants never got this memo. Either that or they’re just plain lousy at math.

Actually, I wasn’t that surprised by the ruling: how else could the Supreme Court rule. We can legislate the rights of the people to speak their minds and leave it to them to use their own wisdom and judgment to express their views without hurting others. Unfortunately, not everyone demonstrates that they are wise or indeed have any sense of judgment at all, as in the case with the Westboro Baptists.

I have written about Reverend Phelps and his flock several times. Okay, truth be told, one of those entries was in the form of a prayer beseeching God Almighty to whack them with extreme prejudice. God has chosen not to answer my prayers. Perhaps that in itself is a sign that we as a people who are wiser than the bigoted jerks have to find other ways to deal with their prejudice.

The problem is so many different solutions would just bring us down to their level. We could respond with equally violent rhetoric or acts the next time they protest. Concentration camps are too good for them and besides, as a solution, it’s a bit too fascist. There is no ideal way to deal with these jerks because the rest of us all know (or want to believe) that we are better than that!

So the church will survive financially to preach another day. Hopefully, they will see this incident as a sign that they should, perhaps, change their message and talk about Christ’s love instead of giving him a black eye. Don’t hold your breaths! The Westboro Baptists have already vowed to “quadruple” their protests of military funerals in light of their Supreme Court victory.

Truly, the world is upside down...

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to reflect tolerance wherever you can.)


Anonymous Janey said...

I absoultely support the Supreme Court's decision in favor of Fred Phelps. For back in 1981, he and his "church" members began picketing at the funerals of AIDS victims, bearing the same "God Hates Fags" posters they use at soldiers' funerals. There was no public outcry; there were no lawsuits; a few expressed their dismay but the public response was muted. But when Phelps began to do the exact same thing at soldiers' funeral, suddenly there was public outrage. If Phelps had the constitutional right to picket at the funeral of an AIDS victim, then he most certainly has the right to picket at the funeral of a dead soldier. I never thought I'd be writing in support of Fred Phelps, but the Supreme Court (except Alito, who once again allowed his religous bias to overide his judicial duty) got this one RIGHT!

March 5, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

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