The Haters win a Case, and I am Glad 20090630

(11:00AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The Supreme Court found in favor of the nutcase haters from the Westboro Baptist Church and its fundamentalist (and fundamentally unhinged) founder, Fred Phelps.  This is a difficult post to write, but we that love the First Amendment must honor this proper decision.

These folks are, in my opinion, fundamentally hatred filled and also love the spotlight.  But, as much as it grieves me, they have their right to spew their toxic bile.

Look, many right wingers consider the members of these communities to “spill toxic bile”, and I would appreciate it if the Supreme COurt would come through for us.  I believe that we are a bit more reserved, but, in some flame war in which I have been involved, am not completely convinced.

The bottom line is that this group, like any group, has the right to state their piece.  I abhor their piece, but if they can not state theirs, how far is yours, mine, or anyone’s protected?

I do not remember the Patriot who said it, am sure that someone here will, but the gist of the quote was, “Sir, I disagree with your words.  But I will defend to my the death your right to state them.”

That is what we have here.  As I said, I abhor the Phelps’ message, but I reluctantly agree with their right to deliver it.  If not, then what?

I am sure that I will get lots of hide ratings for this, but I am a strong supporter for free speech.  If I get hidden, it is for a noble cause.  Once again, I abhor their message, and believe that folks who oppose them are equally within our rights to shout them down, hard.  I just feel very badly for the families of the ones being buried to have to listen to their evil nonsense.  But freedom of expression is pretty much a one way street.  One can not favor one expression over another without the whole thing becoming a political tool for whomever is in power.

I would be interested in comments.

Warmest regards,


Crossposted at


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  1. Evelyn Beatrice Hall attributed the quotation “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” to Voltaire, but the quotation is not to be found in any of Voltaire’s writings. More here, or do a search on the quotation and get much, much more.

    And I also agree, free speech includes things you disagree with and don’t want to hear. Part of the price of admission.

    But do I have a right to throw (really big) rocks at Phelps? Please?

    • pico on July 1, 2009 at 07:18

    I’m not sure why they thought this law would ever survive the courts, since it’s pretty clearly against the spirit of the first amendment in every respect.  There’s not even a strong argument for defending an exception, like imminent threat of violence, etc.

    • Joy B. on July 1, 2009 at 07:27

    …in the ultimate value of the First Amendment, and any idea’s free and fair competition in the marketplace of ideas. But if Phelps showed up at my funeral,  I trust my free-speaking and free-spirited friends would leave him crippled. Or at least so hoarse from begging them to stop that he’d have to skip the funeral of some Gold Star parent’s son/daughter the next day.

    • Viet71 on July 1, 2009 at 15:34

    Expose these vermin to the sun.

    It’s the best disinfectant.

  2. them for the most heinous of us as if they were the most sainted. It is the only way we keep our rights.

    More importantly the Framers knew the best remedy for unacceptable speech was not restriction but more speech, they believed the people allowed to hear all views would choose correctly more often than not.  

  3. the Phelps’s crowd of ‘free speakers’ in pens like they do for the demonstrators at the Democratic Conventions? not being flippant but why is this not trespassing or harassment? Can’t the bereaved funeral families get restraining orders? I have to smoke my ciggies ten feet away from the doors of businesses isn’t there a way legally to put some distance between these creeps and the places that they target?  

  4.… (pdf)

    The Supremes didn’t actually issuue a ruling, rather they declined to take up Missouri’s appeal of the 8th Circuit’s block of enforcemernt of the Statute pending a final ruling in the lower courts.

  5. There is anyone that isn’t familiar with the background:

     By CHRIS BLANK, Associated Press Writer Chris Blank, Associated Press Writer   – Mon Jun 29, 2:46 pm ET

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider Missouri’s appeal of a court order barring the state from enforcing a law restricting protests near funerals.

    State lawmakers in 2006 enacted two new laws creating buffer zones between demonstrators and funerals and processions. The legislation targets a Topeka, Kan., church whose members have picketed outside the funerals of people killed during the Iraq war, stating that they believe soldiers are dying as divine punishment because the United States harbors homosexuals.

    Taken at face value, it appears the church members are using the unfortunate deaths of American troops in an attempt to advance their agenda of hate against that which they find … what’s the word? … “ungodly”? As if they might pretend to second guess the Almighty.

    I respectfully disagree with the court that apparently hates the troops, or the families of the slain soldiers.

    Rocks should be left on the ground, but tomatoes absolutely should be part of any counter demonstration where these arrogant self righteous assholes show up spewing their filthy right wing hatred.

    Or rotten eggs.

    Water balloons if it’s cold out.

    I might gently, respectfully, and without showing any malice towards them, lay a few rotting road-killed mammals on the area where they are standing. Skunks would be best, they’d feel at home with their own kind.

  6. and found a money quote from Winnipeg Canada:

    “Your freedom to swing your arm in the air ends when it touches the end of my nose,” he added. “What these people were going to do was hurtful, harmful and disruptive to the peace, order and good government that we guarantee to our citizens, so they have no place in this country.”

    The Canadians have it right. Set a pack of hungry wolves loose on them.

  7. Warmest regards,


  8. to a protest by the Phelpsians and others of their kind is to point and laugh.  Get others to point and laugh with you.  It doesn’t matter if it’s fake laughter, because the Phelpsians and their ilk won’t be able to tell the difference.  Just stand there, pointing and laughing, no matter how loud they get or how repugnant what they say is.

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