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Free speech does not trump life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Agnostic75, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Agnostic75

    Agnostic75 New Member

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    4,407
    Consider the following:

    The pathetic Westboro Baptist Church obviously does not understand what "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" mean.

    If free speech means "anything goes," then the Westboro Baptist Church would be free to picket the homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices, and picket any place that the justices goes for social activities. In addition, extreme harrassment could be used in politics and in many other venues.

    I recommend that the U.S. Supreme Court rule that each state decide for itself how to interpret free speech. That way, the people who are most affected by deplorable people like the Westboro Baptist Church will be able to interpret free speech for themselves.
     
  2. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon Staff Member Premium Member

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    Sure, and while we're at it we can let each state go back to deciding all other civil and human rights. I mean why should the federal government have a say in things like who is a citizen, who can be free, who can own a gun, who can be beaten by the police, who can worship the religion of their choice, who can vote.....

    Certain things fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. This is one of them.

    As for the Westboro Baptist Church - as much as I hate what they're doing, they should have the right to do it. We do not have the right be not be offended. The best way to stop them is to use your right to free speech, your right to assemble, and your right to protest and fight them at their own game.

    The Patriot Guard has the right idea. Get out there and use our rights to effect the change we want. Don't do it by revoking those rights.
     
    Kathryn likes this.
  3. jmvizanko

    jmvizanko Uber Tool

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    The best way to kill stupid and evil ideologies is to let them kill themselves, by letting them scream their BS as loud as they can. I say let them use their free speech to illustrate to the rest of us jus how insane people can be at the hand of faith in ancient books full of garbage ethical suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  4. stlekee

    stlekee Fool for Wisdom

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    The whole point of freedom of speech is that anyone can express opinions that are outside the mainstream of thought and not be punished for their speech. It means people can say things against the government, religion, society or aanything else and not face criminal / legal consequences. There are, however, still social and possibly financial consequences, such as being fired or ostracised from a group. Others can disagree and point out the problems in 'crack pot' ideas.
     
  5. Zadok

    Zadok Zadok

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    I believe in freedom of speech but I do not believe that we have the right to speak freely in all places. The question concerning the Westboro Baptist Church is not if they have the right to speech but where they have the right to exercise that speech.

    This is a most interesting paradox. On one hand is the issue of free speech and on the other hand is the right to peaceful assembly. It is my understanding that the legal definition of peaceful assembly is the right of a group to gather or assemble without harassment. Both of these rights have limitations. For example the KKK does not have the right to peaceful assembly at a NAACP meeting. This is because one is an infringement on the other’s rights.

    The Supreme Court ruling in this case is important. It will determine not just where a protest can take place (up to now it is considered a right on public property) but it will determine if the protest targets the rights of other individuals. This could determine that unions cannot create picket lines to harass scab workers from entering private company property – even if the picket lines are on public property. In essence this ruling could affect public demonstrations at or near any private or public establishment.

    It could mean that demonstrations against police cannot take place near a police station or where police are working. It could end demonstrations associated with national politics from taking place in Washington DC.

    I personally have mixed feelings. I tend to side with the right to peaceful assembly but when I realize the full implications I realize this strikes at the very core of most protests and thus a very important element of free speech. I think I can live with ether decision as long as ether decision does not lead to a trend to favor the freedom of assembly over freedom of speech or vice versa.

    Zadok
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  6. Skwim

    Skwim Well-Known Member

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    The Supreme Court does not assign rights. It's sole function is to interpret and apply law.


    Then you have misunderstood. The right has to do with assembling in a peaceful manner.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  7. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Sassypants Kitty Staff Member

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    I certainly hope it isn't banned. It's too much of a risk.

    "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself." Thomas Paine
     
  8. Zadok

    Zadok Zadok

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    I was considering the full extent of the law "To uninterrupted legal assemble without interference or undue disturbance."

    Zadok
     
  9. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Meow Mix. Outlawing dissidence is a slippery slope.
     
  10. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    That would be insane. Fortunately, the Supremes are extremely unlikely to make that kind of ruling.
     
  11. Skwim

    Skwim Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Searching around I failed to come up with any wording to that effect in the law. Got a source by chance?
     
  12. AxisMundi

    AxisMundi E Pluribus Unum!!!

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    The moment you infinges on a Constitutional Right is the moment you endanger the entire Bill of Rights. The same Free Speech right that permits these... "people"... to demonstrate on public property also permits counter demonstrations as well.

    Our Current replacment Motto and Pledge are a perfect example. Not only do we non-Abrahamics lack one decisive court decision mandating us as religions, there are court battles in progress ATM attempting to deny the building of Mosques on the basis that Islam isn't a religion.

    The PATRIOT Act is also an example, impinging on our Rights to Privacy, as found in the Fourth Amendment.

    I cannot disagree with you more on this issue. Where Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties and Rights are concerned, the US Constitution should always be held as the benchmark. It should never be up to the individual States.
     
    Smoke likes this.
  13. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    19,902
    QFT.

    Westboro Baptist Church isn't hurting anybody -- well, except maybe themselves. They're not violent. They're not infringing on anybody else's rights. Their sole offense is being offensive. I agree that they're offensive as hell. That is not a legitimate basis for depriving people of their civil liberties. Nobody has an inalienable right not to be offended.

    If the authorities can deprive the members of the Westboro Baptist Church of their civil liberties, nobody else's civil liberties are safe either.
     
  14. Yoshieslunchbox

    Yoshieslunchbox New Member

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    Actually, they can't speak anywhere they want. Private property rights come into play. You can't go onto private property (i.e. a church, cemetery or funeral home) without an owner's consent. Additionally, there are already legal local statues that dictate just how far away you have to be from those places to protest (usually around 100-500 feet), what you have to do to get an assembly permit, and exactly where they can be assured police protection.What's at stake is if government may censor speech based solely off its appeal.

    That's not true. The tort charges laid against them are for infliction of severe emotional distress, defamation, and libel. One of the main arguments for the libel and defamation claims is a posting that the WBC put on their website saying all sorts of ridiculous claims about the soldier's Roman Catholic religion and private values instilled in him by his parents. None of these things are true, but that doesn't exactly matter. Under the law, what matters is if members of the WBC actually believe them to be true. When the Phelps' moved this case to the supreme court they didn't content that these charges were false according to their definition. They were claimed that they had a right to say them under First Amendment protection. So the case is inherently going to affect what a person can and cannot say is posted on the internet.

    Without government interference. However, if you assemble in the public domain, any other person or group has the right to go out there and harass/heckle/shout at/block out/call you horrible things if they want.

    The KKK and the NAACP routinely do that to each other all the time.

    http://www.news4jax.com/news/22620856/detail.html
    http://www.aikenstandard.com/Local/0224KKK

    The KKK also went before the Court in 1977 to secure the right to march through a town with a large population of Holocaust survivors and was allowed to do so.

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=432&invol=43

    Ultimately it will determine if we can punish people for saying things we don't like. That's what Mr. Synder said was his goal in the first place - to bankrupt the WBC. If this goes through we can all hop on our sleds for a trip down the slippery slope.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2010
  15. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Living Dead Girl

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    Religion:
    Ask me when I'm dead.
    I think some sort of decency act is needed. Nothing too special, just explicity forbidding protest withing some considerable distance from the funeral home, the roads that will be taken from funeral home to cemetery if applicable, and the cemetery.
    Free speech is awesome, but only someone who is evil would deny the right to bury their child, loved one, family member, or friend in peace. Yes, such protest should be outlawed. They are extremely tacky, so rude and disrespectful that we need a new term for them, and if not outlawed then the family of the deceased should have every right to sue the offending party for all applicable expenses, and every last dime they can get.
    If they have a problem with the war, take it up at the court house. The parent's of the fallen soldiers are in enough grief without that ******** telling them their child is burning in hell.
     
  16. Yoshieslunchbox

    Yoshieslunchbox New Member

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    That's already a local law almost everywhere in America.

    That's been declared unconstitutional by lower courts because it sets up a rolling barrier to free speech that is to vague to understand, and almost impossible to comply with.
     
  17. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Living Dead Girl

    Messages:
    20,809
    Religion:
    Ask me when I'm dead.
    Let's see, since some crowds get loud; No protesting within 1 mile of a funeral home, within the path that will be taken from the funeral home to cemetery, and absolutely no protesting at the cemetery. That is very explicit, easy to follow, and far enough away that people won't be bothered by hatred and venom spewing protesters. This way they can still protest, and those present at the funeral can mourn and offer sympathies in peace, and the burial can be peaceful.
    Or, rather than blanks during the gun volleys, they can fire live ammo at protesters, and then protest there funerals since they were being extremely unAmerican by protesting a soldier's funeral. Ok not really, but it would make people think twice before protesting in such a way.
     
  18. Yoshieslunchbox

    Yoshieslunchbox New Member

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  19. Yoshieslunchbox

    Yoshieslunchbox New Member

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    That's still censors speech protected by the First Ammendment, creates a rolling barrier to speech that the courts have already ruled is unconstitutional, and nobody is protesting at the cemetery grounds, they protest on public land outside of it.
     
  20. Yoshieslunchbox

    Yoshieslunchbox New Member

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    Also, I wasn't aware that being morally distasteful made you a criminal.
     
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