Make It Illegal to Protest at Military Funerals

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    Apr 10, 2010 4:06 PM GMT
    http://www.demonstrationformilitaryfunerals.webs.com/

    Help us organize support for any law, amendment, or court decision that makes it illegal to protest at funerals.

    One cult in particular has been protesting numerous funerals, including the funerals of fallen soldiers, for the past 20 years. This cult is called the Westboro Baptist Church.

    Recently, attention has been magnified on this issue due to a certain event. The WBC, doing what they usually do, was picketing at Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's funeral, holding signs saying despicable things, like Thank God for Dead Soldiers. LCpl. Snyder's family and friends, already grieving from the loss of someone close to them, were forced to listen to protesters screaming profanities as they tried to conduct a wake.

    Lance Cpl. Snyder's father, Al Snyder, proceeded to sue the WBC for emotional distress. At first, Snyder won $5,000,000 when a Jury declared he was justified in his suit, but the WBC appealed.

    The WBC won its appeal, and the court ordered Al Snyder to pay $16,000 in legal fees to the cult which dishonored the memory of his fallen son.

    Any true American would realize that this is a complete outrage. All the members of this group stand together in our belief that new laws should be provided federally prohibiting any group from protesting at a funeral.

    The case is pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the WBC on the grounds of protected First Amendment speech, we will press for a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    Depending on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in this upcoming case, expect a demonstration in a City near you.

    The day for the demonstration will be Memorial day 2010 so lets get this going!!!

    Sign up on the event page and leave a comment on the state you will be demonstrating!!!
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:01 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidI do understand your viewpoint on this, however, I believe these protests are a protected form of speech (even though it is viewed by many as unpopular and hateful).

    Our freedom of speech rights are in place to protect BOTH popular speech as well as unpopular speech (especially unpopular speech).

    Inciting hate is not, and should not, be protected.
    If a hate group went around protesting black people's funerals screaming "God hates niggers" they would be thrown in jail faster than they can say it twice.

    Gays (or in WBC's words: 'fags') should have that same protection.
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:10 PM GMT
    A number of states did pass such laws, but the courts have been striking them down under the 1st Amendment. I don't think the speech itself could be prevented, but there may be some argument that establishing permissible distances between protestors and funeral goers could be Constitutional. The courts have allowed other restrictions on protests, such as getting a permit beforehand, so I don't see why a physical distance between them and the mourners would be unconstitutional. Like being several counties over... icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:22 PM GMT
    I had just been reading this online discussion about the topic at hand on this link:http://www.libdemvoice.org/the-saturday-debate-freedom-of-speech-should-have-no-limits-18102.html
    Interesting thoughts posted at the bottom of the page there.
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:25 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said

    Our freedom of speech rights are in place to protect BOTH popular speech as well as unpopular speech (especially unpopular speech).



    I agree 100%.
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:30 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Inciting hate is not, and should not, be protected.


    For a good reading about this:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio

    QUOTE:"The Brandenburg test was the Court's last major statement on what government may do about inflammatory speech that seeks to incite others to lawless action. It resolved the debate between those who urged greater government control of speech for reasons of security and those who favored allowing as much speech as possible and relying on the marketplace of ideas to reach a favorable result, leaving the law in a state along the lines of that which Justices Louis Brandeis, and, post-Schenck, Oliver Wendell Holmes advocated in several dissents and concurrences during the late 1910s and early 1920s. As of 2009, the Brandenburg test is still the standard used for evaluating attempts to punish inflammatory speech, and it has not been seriously challenged since it was laid down in 1969. Very few cases have actually reached the Court during the past decades that would test the outer limits of Brandenburg, so the test remains largely unqualified." END QUOTE
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    Apr 10, 2010 5:41 PM GMT
    I agree with Red_Vespa.
    Let the states set the restrictions/procedures to obtaining a permit to assemble.

    I cannot support an amendment to the constitution barring this, as there are already laws to deal with it

    Now, then..as to the lawsuit that WBC won. What we need are more judges/courts that have the balls to say them "Um, no. YOU started this, you brought it on yourself. Now go away."
    I think it is very sad that he has to pay the legal fees of WBC, especially when they dishonored his son, but that is the way our system is set up. Loser pays.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Apr 10, 2010 6:22 PM GMT
    I also cannot support any amendment to the Constitution that restricts free speech and the right to protest because this could lead to a slippery slope like situation where any type of speech or protest could be lawfully restricted or even prohibited. At the same token, I do support certain restrictions like getting a permit to protest and in the case of funerals being legally required to stay a certain distance from the funeral itself and to not make a nuisance and commit any acts of harrassment. I am hoping that the US Supreme Court does overturn this horrendous ruling and tell that ignorant, hateful Westboro Baptist Church exactly where to head and to start paying up the damages ordered by the jury in the original ruling. The WBC also needs to learn that with rights comes responsibilities and protesting in public is like any right, you are responsible for your actions if your actions influence or impact other people in any shape, way, or form.
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    Apr 10, 2010 11:00 PM GMT
    I also agree with Red Vespa here. Though I find WBC to be a horrid collection of inbred lunatics, the "free speech zones" that we saw during the Bush administration make me hesitant to support any restrictions. Perhaps putting a certain distance between ONLY funerals would be appropriate, but even that makes me nervous. There are many places were tyrants are revered by certain segments of the population and were protesting a funeral would be appropriate. I think it is incumbent on as a citizens to shame WBC and others who use the funerals of soldiers as a staging ground for their hate. And the media is always complicit because if they refused to cover WBC's antics, they would cease.
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    Apr 11, 2010 12:45 PM GMT
    hardonguy said
    The case is pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the WBC on the grounds of protected First Amendment speech, we will press for a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.


    The U.S. Constitution is an amazing document that has flexibly withstood unfathomable changes from the time it was crafted until today. I have complete confidence in the content and the process to maintain this record of our guiding principles.

    The Supreme Court of the United States is perhaps one of the most stable and venerable institutions in our nation. I have faith that they will interpret the U.S. Constitution as per their responsibilities.

    Like you, I despise protests at military funerals. I live on the slopes of the Punchbowl Cemetary of the Pacific. It is the "Arlington" for those who gave their life in the Pacific to protect what our U.S. Constitution stands for. I'm not sure how you stand on the burning of a U.S. flag as a means of protest, but I also detest that manner of protest.

    As despicable and deplorable as those acts of protest are in my eyes, and despite my loathing and complete loss of respect for any person who chooses to protest using those actions, I will defend those repulsive forms of free speech with my life. At this time, these methods of expressing ideas are protected by the First Amendment of our beautiful and resilient U.S. Constitution.

    And for a reason.

    When we begin to say that we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression except....., we begin to slowly erode away our civil liberties on a dangerous and slippery slope into totalitarianism and fascism.

    It is our ability to tolerate such ugly forms of free speech that keeps our constitution and our civil liberties intact, keeps America strong, and makes America that much more of a shining example of hope to all other nations.

    I can understand feel the anger, frustration, outrage and sorrow that many feel when they witness such vile but protected speech.

    But let us not be fooled into unwittingly destroying that which we are protecting. It is when we are fooled. When we erode our civil liberties in response to the ugly, that is truly when the enemy has won.


    Aloha and Be Well!

    Alan