defending scummy people

Posted in Gay rights at 4:30 pm by ducky

Recently, there was a large judgment against the Westboro Baptist Church for protesting at the funeral of a Marine. Their protest was typical for them: linking homosexuality to everything that could possibly be wrong in the world.

WBC is completely, totally, completely repugnant to me, but I cannot support the judgment. If we start putting limits on who can say what where, that is a very scary slippery slope. Even if free speech by The Bad Guys is only limited a little, it means that The Good Guys will also have to face limits.

Suppose, for a second, that Robert Mugabe died and the US government put on a state funeral for him. Mugabe is just about as close as you can get to pure evil in my book, and it would be completely, totally inappropriate for the US government to celebrate his life. I would absolutely travel thousands of miles to protest at such a funeral. I would be incensed if I were not allowed to protest at his funeral.

Rights are so annoying. For them to work for you, you have to also let them work for the people who revolt you. 🙁

Comments »

  1. knapjack said,

    November 5, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Ah, interesting.

    Because, in general, I find protesting at anyone’s funeral reprehensible (good or evil), I tended to favor this judgment not because the UBC are complete imbeciles (how do they know we’re not being punished for being gluttons?) but because they weren’t protesting the dead. They were protesting something else at what I would consider an inappropriate venue. We often restrict free speech (yelling fire in the theater is the common example, but slander is another), and I though I don’t favor restricting content I do think some restrictions on venue might be acceptable, such as this.

    But, given your example, where you’re protesting the dead, that could be considered the correct venue. And, if (God forbid) the UBC were protesting at the funerals of the gay enlisted I would have to say let it ride.

  2. knapjack said,

    November 5, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Uh, make that the WBC. Sorry, gang. 😀

  3. ducky said,

    November 5, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Heh, I was wondering what my university had done to be complete imbeciles! 😉

    Knapjack, you said that protesting the dead was perhaps the right venue, but that depends upon content, not venue. It would be easy for WBC to say “I’m protesting the evil that the dead soldier did by not killing homosexuals” or something like that. Given both freedom of speech and freedom of religion, it would be hard to argue that mine was okay and theirs was not. 🙁

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