The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
Should protests at funerals be made illegal?
Friday, May 21st, 2010
For many years now I have been completely pissed off by the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. The group consists mostly of members of the Phelps family (which is ridiculously large). It is a tragedy that someone demented as Phelps is able to even have children, but that is a whole other issue.
I completely support the First Amendment and as much as I hate this group - I don't want to take their rights away from them.
However, this group has crossed a line by holding disruptive protests at funerals. It especially angers me when they disrupt funerals of our fallen soldiers. It is through the sacrifices made by our veterans that enables them to have free speech. There is a time and place for everything, and a funeral is not an appropriate place to hold a protest.
Let's say the most evil person in the world dies. However horrible a person may have been, the funeral isn't being held for them - it is for their family and friends. A protest isn't hurting the "bad" person - it is only traumatizing the family. Even a serial killer has a mother, father, siblings, etc.
Is protesting a funeral illegal? No it isn't. The reason why is because NO ONE in their right might would stoop so low as to do something like this. The Phelps family have crossed the line, and I think it is time for a federal law to prohibit demonstrations from being held at funerals.
This so-called church only spews hate, and the Baptists are quick to point out that Westboro is acting independently.
The father of a marine sued this group for disrupting the soldiers funeral, and was awarded millions of dollars. Of course, the church has appealed the case so the family hasn't actually received any money. The case has worked it's way through the courts, and the Supreme Court has now agreed to hear this case.
Until a law can be passed, there was a group of kids really made me proud: In Long Beach, the Wilson High students gathered around these folks and simply drowned them out with their own shouts and noise. It didn't take long for the group to get back in their van and get the hell out of there.
This group is going to be holding a protest at Ronnie James Dio's funeral at Forest Lawn. If you are in the area - stop by and make some noise!
Here is my question to you: If I can get legislation introduced, would you be willing to help me make it a federal law? How should the Supreme Court rule on this case? Who's first amendment rights should have priority - the protesters or the families?
I would really appreciate your comments. They have a web site, but I'm not going to help give this group any publicity by publishing it. I've blogged about this group many times in the past, here is a link for more info:
-- Gary Wright II