Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Westboro Baptist Church protesters are protected under our Constitution’s First Amendment, and therefore allowed to demonstrate at funerals of soldiers.
I have mixed feelings about this development.
Let me start by saying that I think the court made the right decision … And kudos to them for doing so in such a heated case that will no doubt bring outrage against them. Like them or hate them, agree or disagree, these protesters have the right to speak and assemble just like the rest of us. The court made a very clear and accurate ruling.
Let me put it another way: The justices upheld the law that they and our U.S. soldiers have sworn to protect. And the protesters are utilizing their rights as citizens under the same law.
But why the protesters would choose to so vehemently disrespect fallen soldiers and their families is beyond me. The people they are hurting most are the ones who paid the ultimate price to give them the right to be jerks. The irony makes me sick.
But it is not the U.S. Supreme Court’s job to protect people’s feelings. It is their job to protect people’s rights under the law. Today they did right.
I hope these protesters take the cue from the court to do right also. They should not (nor should we) confuse their right to do something with the right thing to do.
In America we are blessed to have many freedoms. The kicker of course is cases like this, when we are required to extend those freedoms to all our citizens, not just the ones we agree with or like.
As a Christian, American, and member of humanity, I do not, can not, approve of Westboro’s message or tactics. I think they are a disrespectful disgrace (and that’s putting it mildly) to all religions, all American citizens, and all that we should strive for together as the human race. As Christians we are commanded to lift each other up, believers and non-believers alike. We are commanded to love … And not only love our families, but to love all and be a servant to all of humanity. To show the love Christ has for us by loving and serving others.
Westboro, in my opinion, is doing the opposite of all those things. They incite and spread hate.
To hurt another person unnecessarily and without provocation, particularly in a time of already great grief, is worse than the homosexuality they profess to be assembling against.
These church members would be doing a greater service by offering support and kindness to the families of these soldiers. To say that their time and money would be better spent elsewhere is an understatement. They would be heard more clearly if they approached people with love, not hate. To hold a certain view or belief is one thing, but assembling peacefully to promote that belief versus forcing it into the forefront in a hateful way is something completely different. This can be said of church members and homosexuals alike.
At least Gay Pride parades and events are joyful and focused on love. They are celebrations of life. That puts them closer to God’s plan than these protesters currently are, as far as I can see.
And so, the Court has ruled (rightly) that Westboro has the right to protest at funerals. That doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
Westboro, let’s spread the Word through love, as we’re commanded to do. The Court has ruled in favor of your rights. Please take some responsibility and start using your rights to do the right thing.