Most probably have heard about the 8-1 Supreme Court Decision Today that ruled the Westboro Baptist Church’s picketing of military funerals is protected speech under the constitution.
In many ways I am torn between two viewpoints on this decision. As a combat veteran (multiple Afghanistan deployments) I think it is absolutely disgusting that these people choose to picket at the funerals of our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Regardless of your thoughts on gays in the military, the war, or the military in general there is no reason to make a tragic and sad situation even worse for family members. Unfortunately I have been to several military funerals since 9/11 – I would never want to see these people anywhere near a cemetery on such a somber occasion.
On the other hand, I do believe that just about ALL speech should be protected under the constitution. I know that the left in this country is just waiting for the opportunity to start down the slippery-slope of banning certain types of speech. First to go would be talk radio, followed by the ability of organizations such as the TEA Party to assemble, followed by an all-out assault on the rest of our values and beliefs.
As disgusting as this type of speech is – and as nutty as these Westboro Baptists are – I believe that the Supreme Court made the right decision. Frankly I think that the fact these nutcases are still walking around with their ridiculous signs speaks volumes about military members and their families. I know that if I ever ran across these guys degrading a fallen soldier being put to rest I might not have taken the legal-system route to try to stop them.
Luckily these idiots are just a very small group and there are all sorts of respectable veterans organizations and charities that volunteer their time to disrupt the protesters and protect the dignity of those being laid to rest.