Country Living Series

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Choking back my reaction

I'm sure everyone has heard about the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. These are the charming individuals who, for reasons of obscure gratification, have taken it upon themselves to travel the country and picket the funerals of soldiers with signs such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and other delightful slogans.

Understandably, the father of a dead Marine took these turds to court, and the case moved all the way up to the Supreme Court. Surprisingly - because no one has denied their preference to see the members of the Westboro Baptist Church put into a trash compactor and squished into little cubes - the Supreme Court upheld the church's actions as free speech protected under the First Amendment.

At first I was outraged that the Supreme Court could support this Church's actions. But after discussing it with a cooler head than mine (namely, my husband's), he pointed out that the Supreme Court took the proper course of action.

The First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly are not restricted only to those groups or individuals we "approve" of. I do not use the term "rights" lightly. I am fully aware that True Rights derive from our Creator - and as such, apply to everyone, including the Westboro Baptist Church.

As long as the Westboro Baptist Church assembles peaceably and does not engage in violence, unfortunately they, too, are (and should be) protected by the First Amendment.

However I strongly support the vigilante actions of such wonderful groups as the Patriot Guard Riders who seek to protect the dignity of mourners against the Westboro Baptist Church's demonstrations.

So what do you think about this Supreme Court decision? Did it do the right thing or not?


  1. I think the SC made the right decision- WB has the right to peaceably assemble on public lands.

    And I agree that a peaceful counterprotest is the best way to 'combat' the WB.

  2. At first I was surprised by the Supreme Court's decision, but after a little thought I realized it was the only correct decision they could reach. The ruling is not at all support for the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, it is intead support for the First Amendment.

    The Westboro Baptist Church claims their vile and outrageous protests are in support of the Bible and they are anti-homosexuality. My questions to them are: Why not protest at the funerals of homosexuals and others whom the Bible warns against? Why single out the military? Why not protest at the campaign headquarters of the politicians who repealed "don't ask, don't tell?" IOW, isn't their anger misplaced?

    I think the whole thing is a deception. I sense there is more to this "church" than we have been led to believe. Perhaps a front for radicla Islam? Or is that too much of a stretch? I will now don my tinfoil hat and await the posting of the comments from the more middle of the road readers.

    Anonymous Patriot

  3. I must agree. As the wife of a military man who has served in Iraq, the actions of the group turn my stomach. Actually, just as a human being they turn my stomach.

    However, God will judge them for their actions. Free speech means they just get to display on a daily how ignorant and hateful they are. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Better to let them air out their hate in public and let people see what it really looks like.

  4. I guess they did the right thing with the first ammendment, but couldn't the jerks (the Westboro Baptist Church) be charged with something else like verbal assault? What I really wish would happen to them is to (you can guess).

    I've seen pictures of the jerks on TV, and I feel sorry for the kid's they make stand with them.

  5. I groan as I admit this, but I agree with your hubby. If it were my right to peaceful protest that was in question, I would want the Supreme Court to recognize my right; therefore, I have to admit that those creeps have the same rights.

    God bless the Patriot Guard.

  6. Oh, and God bless the Supreme Court, too. We need them, and we need Him to guide them.

  7. Their protests may be legal, but they are immoral and unethical. There are teams of lawyers helping prevent the "cruel and unusual" treatment of criminals by the state, yet the cruel and unusual actions of this "church" against law-abiding citizens is perfectly ok. I'm personally not shocked by the supreme court, they stopped following the constitution long before this.

  8. Good for the Supreme Court, they actually upheld the constitution . . . for once.

  9. The Supreme Court defended ALL of our Constitutional 1st Amendment Rights in this ruling.

    This is why it is so important to teach your children well the difference between Legal Rights and Moral Right.

    Ecclesiastes 3:17 I thought in my heart, "God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.
    "There is a Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven."


  10. I can't remember who said it, but I've heard that the thing about defending liberty is you spend most of your time defending scumbags like the WBC. It's worth it in the long run, I guess, if we really believe what we preach. It's not right for the government to intervene in a case like this, and the existence of the Patriot Guard Riders shows that it's not necessary either.

  11. Unfortunately they deserve the protection of the First Amendment. Just because we don't like what they have to say it doesn't mean they don't have the right to say it.

  12. Hubby may be right (ok, so he is), but the WBC is an abomination, and I really wish they would quit besmirching the name Baptist! They don't resemble any Baptist I know, and I know quite a few!! :-)

    Bless the Patriot Guard Riders!! And I will proudly stand with the PGR if their protection is ever needed in my neck of the woods!!! I have seen news reports where whole communities have come together to protect families of fallen soldiers - to the point that WBC can't even get close to the church or funeral procession!! Nothing like having something like the WBC to ignite and unify the people!! God realy does take bad things and use them for His good!!! We just have to be willing to be His tools, to stand up to groups like WBC, legally and non-violently.

  13. There are two things to look at in particular here. First is that we no longer use courts the way they were set up to work. Originally they were courts to dispense justice. Then they became courts of law. Now they are courts to settle disputes.

    Second is who these WB people are. They are not a church in the sense that you and I know as a church. They are only a church in the legal sense. The "church" is mainly made up of lawyers. What they do is get permits to demonstrate or just go picket, and then they wait to sue the pants off any entity that tells them they can't. They are just in it for the money.

  14. Free speech does not protect bullying, libel, slander, hate-mongering, etc.

    Yes, they have the right to say what they want, but there are also constraints to what you are allowed to say in public. These constraints are often enforced at the municipal, or perhaps state level depending on where they are being used.

  15. Too bad the press simply won't stop covering them. All WBC wants is an audience. If they didn't have one, how long would they continue to harass families? Silly thought though as the mainstream media will never refuse a chance to turn heads. And sadly, when the WBC attacks fallen soldiers' families, heads turn because it's hard to believe someone could really be that thoughtless and cruel.

    As much as my husband disagrees with their actions, he does, as all soldiers do (like Michelle's husband), defend their right to spew their filth.

    On the soldier theme...A.McSp: thank you for your kind words & prayers. It's taken until Day 3 for me to be able to thank you without crying! My little guy is doing very well; thanks for asking.


  16. I just hope that some of the "patriotic" homosexuals that the mainstream news keeps telling us want to serve openly in the military because they "love" the military so much will decide they want to exercise their first amendment rights and attend (or demonstrate in front of) any service/activity/funeral that Westboro Baptist Church has.

  17. Hows the old saying go? I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it? Or something to that effect? What happens when the majority of sheeple decide that what we say here is wrong, needing to be censored? Should they have the right to shut us up? You censor one group, you open a Pandora's box to censor anybody and everybody. That is ultimately part of what the KIA died thinking they were defending. Let God deal with Westboro.

    Surprisingly, the Supreme Court of the US made the right decision this time around.

  18. I guess I'll be the one once again to present a different perspective.

    Yes, I agree that the SCOTUS came to the right decision about that church's right to protest military funerals.

    But, that's not the greater issue here. Justice is being meted out unfairly, and the SCOTUS is unholding a double standard.

    There are many jurisdictions throughout the United States where real Christians are not allowed to stand on the public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood facility and witness to women entering or leaving.

    There are plenty of jurisdictions throughout the United States where real Christians are not allowed to assemble on the outskirts of public homosexual events to witness to the people there.

    Are their free speech rights being violated, just like the WB church? You bet.

    Is the SCOTUS standing up for these Christians' right to free speech. No way.

    What's the difference. The liberaligentsia hates the military. They will side with anybody who goes along with their point of view.

    The liberaligentsia loves abortion and the homosexual agenda. They will fight tooth and claw with anybody who tries to talk women out of abortion or homosexuals out of their lifestyle.

    Double standard? No kidding!

    The WB case was a hollow, shameful victory for the 1st Amendment.


  19. The constitution does not grant us “rights”…it guarantees that "rights" endowed by our creator are preserved.

  20. As a Baptist, I am insulted that the words Baptist and Church are in anyway associated with this group. I do agree with the "freedom of speech" decision but only because I don't want everyone elses freedoms denied. Would the ruling have been the same if they protested outside a Mosque? Probably not, it would have been hate speech and taken care of. These folks in this group that protests are wacky.

  21. Much as my heart agrees with you, Patrice, this is one of those cases where having the Right to do something means you have the right to do it, even if it isn't the right thing to do.

    Bill Smith

  22. As a Navy Wife of a man who served 30 years, a Mother of a Son and a Daughter now serving on Active Duty, as well as a a Navy Veteran myself, of course my first reaction what like outrage! However, as a Social Studies teacher, who cherished and taught the U.S. Constitution as it should be taught, my cooler emotions prevailed. I totally agree with what the reader Dave posted. Real Christians are not able to practice their faith without persecution.

    The only comfort that I have is this. The day one of those members of Westboro Baptist Church goes to meet his/her Creator and stand before His judgment will be the day that I and hopefully all good people will travel to Kansas and stand before Westboro Baptist Church and give them back a dose of their own medicine. I know that sound less than Christianly, but in instances such as this, good people cannot stand idly by and allow for the essence of the First Amendment to be perverted or the memory of those who serve or died to protect our freedoms to be in vain!

  23. Dave has a very valid point which I would like to add too.

    The first amendment was not in spirit written to allow disruptions or intrusions or immoral speech. Yet we cannot allow the government to be the judge of what bounds may and maynot be crossed. That can lead to tyranny. The founders left it up to the people to enforce morality using a Constitution based on Christian values. When Christian values are disregarded than the Constitution no longer works properly as we are not "One Nation Under God".

    The true breakdown comes due to the militarization of law enforcement and the "felonizing" (I just made that word up) of actions that were once thought as justified. In 1811 I have no doubt the SCOTUS would have ruled exactly as the SCOTUS did today in 2011 but in 1811 good Christian men would have tarred and feathered these freaks at the first rude and inappropriate outcry. Any like minded action today will bring certain prison time and basically end the life of the defender. Actions once thought of as no harm no foul are now tantamount to attempted murder, especially if the "victim" is a member of a protected class.

    Of course liberals and progressives think Christian values are tyrannical and attempt to use the Constitution against it to protect their godless ways. This creates a moral rift since disregarding the base from which the Constitution was built on renders it valueless as a guide for legal behavior.

    I wish I had the words to really do this point justice but I did my best.

  24. Yes Patrice, your hubby was right (shoot, I hate when that happens too!! LOL). I loathe everything this group stands for. A Church?, don't think so, but then I don't get to write the rules, so if they say they're a Church, I guess they're a Church.
    I don't think Anonymous Patriot's suspensions are such a stretch either. By the way, Anonymous Patriot, if you're to the right of Dr. Michael Savage, are you still "middle of the road"? Just wondered! HaHa

  25. I have to agree with your husband, what this church is doing is wrong and unbiblical, but they should and do have a right acording to our Constitution to make fools of themselves.

  26. The gross and hurtful method of their message notwithstanding, I see value as a Christian in discussing in an academic and respectuflly spiritual manner whether or not our national sins are indeed an impetus for God's judgement. It's an historical fact in the Bible. Is there any reason it couldn't be happening now? In Biblical times, the innocent died right alongside the guilty when God enacted His judgement. I absolutely do not excuse their behavior, but nor should we outrightly ignore their underlying message.

    ---Subject Break---

    Banning speech is a vary dangerous and slippery slope. We tend to want to stifle the people who say things we don't like; however, a law (or SCOTUS case) passed today in our favor could easily be turned around to crush us tomorrow.

    Speaking as a member of our fine Armed Forces, I believe it is a beautiful, poetic irony that the church members protest and mock the very man who spilled his blood to protect their free speech. May it always be so.

    That being said...Rock on Patriot Riders!!

  27. Husband of the BossMarch 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    It's nice to have so many people agreeing with me. (You'd be surprised how often that doesn't happen.)

    However, I also recognize and agree with those who point out that there can be and often is a difference between legally right and morally correct. During the times of slavery here in the US many folks broke the law to assist slaves to reach freedom. They did so in the full knowledge that what they were doing was not only illegal but carried very heavy penalties.

    God grant us the desire to live lawfully, the wisdom to live morally, and the strength to act on the latter when the former is wrong. And may the Lord give us as well the fortitude to accept the consequences of our just actions.

  28. those folks will get theirs in the the meantime, perhaps funerals and burials should be in "private" graveyards like we have here in the south...just takes getting permission from the county to be buried in your backyard.. another way these folks might be stopped is financially- with the devaluing of the dollar,and prices of everything going outta sight, maybe they will quit traveling the country and stay put...of course, i would like to know who is funding them.

  29. Patrice, I am a Viet Nam combat veteran who abhors the things this group does. However, I feel more strongly about our Constitutional guarantees. I believe that the court came to the proper conclusion.
    Thanks for all you do.

  30. As a veteran, I feel the anguish. I have noticed FOX news and several others no longer calling them Baptist church, but nutjobs and radicals.

    I am having problems understanding why the mourners don't use the same defense. I can say whatever I want, its my right, but I cannot force you to listen. You can walk away. People speaking at their child's funeral cannot walk away. Is it now legal to have someone interrupt your rights and make you listen to their free speech?

    The Westboro mosque, commune, or whatever they are, have no more rights than the folks attending the funeral.

  31. I've never been impressed with our Supreme Court. Especially with its liberal members. In the past, peaceful church groups (of which I once participated) gathered near abortion clinics to try to keep women from killing their unborn babies, and we were forced to leave. Now, this hateful Topeka Kansas group is being protected by their 1st Amendment rights? I'm sorry, but this smells to high heaven to me!

    I've heard it said freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom to holler "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Inciting a riot is no joke. What if this Topeka Kansas church group began saying things against Mohammed and Islam? Would they be permitted to continue? Would the Supreme Court declare they were only exercising their 1st Amendment rights? I DON'T THINK SO! As a matter of fact, I KNOW they wouldn't.

    Time and time again, peaceful Christians are driven from public property because someone is "offended" by their message. I constantly read about this at WorldNetDaily. Well, do they think this Topeka Kansas group ISN'T offending anyone? I'm sorry, Patrice, but I disagree with your husband. There is far too much preferential treatment toward whacko, hateful groups nowadays, while good people are mistreated and even thrown in jail. --Debbie

  32. Great post, and very true. Hubby and I have talked about this so many times. While this group's hate is just....disgusting, they must be able to assert their speech in any way they want to. It doesn't make it easy to swallow, but its just the truth. All it takes is one decision from the courts to not let a group like this protest, and guess opens the door to everyone else's group or church to not have freedom of speech. Personal freedoms and the Constitution are heading down a slippery slope of late. Once those rights are is just about impossible to ever get them back. As for those who think that intruding on a funeral is aggressive....well, it is certainly disgusting and horrible, and well, I just can't say enough horrible things about it, HOWEVER....we, as a free people, should be able to say whatever we want, whenever we want in this country, no matter who likes it or who doesn't. Too bad the Constitution didn't give rules of etiquette and respect to go along with the Amendments!! The fact is, however, that it didn't, and if you don't want the government making little rules about YOUR speech and opinions..then you cannot possibly support a decision to inhibit rights concerning another's speech and opinions. period. I will now say that I have never seen such a sickening, trashy group as that "church" if that is what they want to call themselves. Shame on them!!! --S

  33. The First Amendment is a double edged sword. It will cut you with reasoning and action afforded to an opposite point of view. Another great example is the spew voiced by liberals/leftist/socialists or to roll it up into one the mantra of the modern democratic party. However the fork in the road between legal rights and the moral high ground dictates that the right that has this so called church to voice opinion and venom is interfering with the rights of the individuals who are respecting the dead via funeral rites. I am a Libertarian and believe that as long as one party does not injure another said party, by physical, financial,emotional etc. action than it is fine. However in this case they are injuring the said party who is holding funeral rites. Another huge tear in the the fabric of our society and nation that only common sense can mend. However common sense is in very short supply nowadays and we will soon be paying for our lack of judicial application of it soon. God help us all when this experiment in freedom self destructs.

    Had Enuff

  34. I'll call this comment, FREE SPEECH FOR SOME

    I agree with the Court's decision. I just wish it applied to every American. Phil Lawler says it best:

    "I want to comment on the way one media outlet (CNN) described the central issue.

    The justices were being asked to address how far states and private entities such as cemeteries and churches can go to justify picket-free zones and the use of "floating buffers" to silence or restrict the speech or movements of demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights in a funeral setting.

    The mention of picket-free zones, and buffer zones, immediately made me think of the laws preventing pro-lifers from coming near the doors of abortion clinics. In my own home state of Massachusetts, the “buffer zone” legislation makes it technically illegal for a pro-life activist even to walk down the sidewalk in front of an abortuary—although any other citizen is free to do so. Somehow this legislation has, to date, survived legal challenges. I don’t understand..."

    The full post can be seen at


  35. I despise the WBC. But I believe that for once, the SCOTUS made the correct decision.

    I would like to see some Patriot Guard type protesters parked in front of the homes of every member of the Westboro "Church" with signs detailing that the homeowners are WBC members who protest at the funerals of veterans. I think everyone should know who they are and where they live, so that they have to spend their ill-gotten gains on their own security.

    Xa Lynn

  36. Xa Lynn, everybody knows exactly where they live: They live in a walled compound and don't let anybody in.

  37. By the way, my daughter's boyfriend's father died in November in Iraq, KIA. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors. I had a Google search running on his name, collecting the references to him as a memorial to pass along to his sons, and sure enough, one search turned up the Westboro announcement of the protest they planned to hold at his funeral. But at Arlington, they are used to those people, and handle them very deftly. Westboro did indeed come, but the family of the deceased was not even aware of it, so faithfully were they protected and shielded from having to see the protests. I was very glad he was buried at Arlington.

  38. Patrice, I have to agree with your hushand's inital reaction. While what they do is vile, it is protect. "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." I blogged about it yesterday

    Check it out if you wish


  39. Nice post. The whole scene is upsetting. I had a response for you, but it got so long and out of control I decided to blog it myself. Rather than choke your comments, if you're interested, I can send you to my blog. I'd love for you to read it. :)

  40. I wanted to get this down on paper (virtual paper) before I loose the feeling. I have not yet read any of the above comments, so bear with me.

    As a former Marine I can not stand the thought of these traitors protesting any service members funeral. Every time I see their story mentioned the Marine in me wishes hunting traitors was legal but the God fearing man knows such actions are not justified.

    With that said, the Supreme courts decision was the right one. If we allow the court to decide what is acceptable speech, despite it's propensity to cause disgust and mental anguish, then we open the door for any form of government to rush in and limit what ever they may deem offensive speech or protest.

    The best recourse we have against fools who act as traitors is to overwhelm them with exhibitions of pride for our fallen, such as the example set by the Patriot Guard.

    Now again, the Marine and Patriot inside me would not cry if God were to burn them to the ground but that's up to him not me. It's also up to him whether he answers my prayers or not.

    I keep it simple...Dear God, please let these traitors who carry out despicable acts in your name be removed from our country by any means you deem worthy.

    Now if that is by fire or deportation I don't care. the end result is the same.

    God bless the families of all who have suffered.
    And Semper Fi

  41. "There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke

    These reprehensible excuses for human beings have the first part down. The second part is moot because there is no conswquences to their actions. May the Gods bBless the Patriots Guards actions in their protection of a fallen service member's final dignity. I have a friend in that guard and appreciate all he does! Of the Troops, For the Troops Brother Bill!. But I also agree with the Supreme Court. A little bit of censorship is like being a little bit pregnant. I disagree with cesorship in any way shape or form even when I strongly diagree with the message.


  42. The Supreme Court was right - I have not read the decision so their reasoning might stink, but here's my thinking on the issue.

    Your rights are only as secure as you make sure that your neighbor's rights are. This is the Golden Rule - sideways.

    The problem is with the Progressive movement and several of their (successful) efforts over the last century:
    - Political Correctness
    - The breakdown of the traditional family
    - The weakening of churches
    - The active exclusion of God from public life.

    There is a commonplace that says that polite people do not discuss religion or politics.


    Real people do. I am certain that the Founders did.

    Our discourse has been neutered.

    We must be "kind" and "nice". These words have become meaningless. We are afraid to use "hard" words, but have no difficulty running to obscene speech.

    The Westboro people whould have faced angry neighbors in direct confrontation decades ago for their (to say the least) boorish behavior. The locals would not have stood for it. They would have taken "corrective action".

    Consider that Jared, the lunatic, who shot up that meet and great in Arizona. He was a known lunatic, but everybody kept making space for him, excuses for him and letting him continue - elsewhere. Decades ago the local gun store probably would have known that he's a lunatic and refuse to sell him a weapon. Or, a neighbor would see him with a weapon and take it away from him as one would relieve a small child of a carving knife.

    We have lost that local nature. We have lost local action. America has in a very real way has lost its soul.

    People need to take their lives back into their own hands.

    Yes, I said it. Take your life in your hands.

    Whose hands (other than the Lord's) would you place you life in?

    If people are incapable of regulating their own lives, what bit of magical thinking is it that says that thought you cannot be trusted to run your life some impersonal droid at a distance can be?

    Take your life in your hands.

    It'll be okay.


  43. It is ridiculous to try and turn this in to "the Supreme Court is against Christians". Many of these brave men and women who we have buried are Jews, Hebrews, Muslims and Buddhists. Some were not even American citizens but still fought for our way of life. They all took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America." The Justices took that same oath and they defended it, no matter their personal feelings towards either side. It is easy to defend the Constitution when one agrees with it, however it takes a Patriot to defend it when it goes against their personal beliefs.

  44. I haven't read the full analysis, but I understand there was an omission of a key piece of evidence which, had it been properly submitted by the applicant's attorneys, would have changed the context of what the Court was being asked to do. Coulda shoulda woulda, perhaps, but we got what we got and it is what it is. These things happen for a reason.

    I agree we're less harmed as a nation and certainly as Christians by the despicable conduct of WBC than by a ruling by SCOTUS against them that would have shoved us over the edge of the censorship cliff and down the slippery slope of rights forever lost to the law of good intentions and unintended consequences.

    My hope is we'll see this sad day give rise to a big surge in strength and expanded support of the Patriot Guard, and that a new steel-spined resolve to mute the venomous bile of WBC will be lifted up to envelope and shield our grieving military families in their tender time of need.

    I pray for a great, forceful new movement of strong, faithful American patriots that will so overwhelm and outnumber the WBC as to make it invisible and inaudible whenever and whereever it raises its ugly serpent-like head.

    And in the meantime, I thank Our Father for His Eternal Faithfulness, knowing His Mercy is unfailing and His Justice cannot be denied. I ask, if it be in His Will, that He take His swift vengeance on these who strive to inflict suffering on the already grieving families of our fallen warriors, and that the same fury of righteous indignation Jesus unleashed in the Temple at Jerusalem be unleashed on these purveyors of pain and blasphemers of God's Holy Word.
    And I ask it in Yeshua's Precious Name.

  45. As crazy as this sounds consider throwing pies at them. Back in the 1970's. Madalyn Murray Ohair appeared in Albuquerque to speak about atheism and a local guy threw a pie into her face. Though he was jailed, she threw such a fit that it apparently had the desired effect of humiliating her to the point of speechlessness. So, wear hoodies that obscure your face, and have some fun...