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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Despicable but.......

From the Washington Post-

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas church group that protests at military funerals nationwide filed suit in federal court, saying a Missouri law banning such picketing infringes on religious freedom and free speech.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on behalf of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, which has outraged mourning communities by picketing service members' funerals with signs condemning homosexuality.

The church and the Rev. Fred Phelps say God is allowing troops, coal miners and others to be killed because the United States tolerates gay men and lesbians.

Missouri lawmakers were spurred to action after members of the church protested in St. Joseph, Mo., last August at the funeral of Army Spec. Edward L. Myers.

The law bans picketing and protests "in front of or about" any location where a funeral is held, from an hour before it begins until an hour after it ends. Offenders can face fines and jail time.
I don't like Fred Phelps one bit. He is a former knucklehead winner. That said I have to take a contrarian opinion from some of my fellow bloggers. Captain's Quarters, Greta at Hooah Wife, Adam, Stop the ACLU, have all blogged about how onerous they think the ACLU's coming to Phelps' defense is.

Sorry but TFM won't join in.

There is a first ammendment in this country. It guarantees freedom of speech and assembly. I dislike Phelps, but he and his followers have a right to do their protests. My fellow bloggers are forgetting the first ammendment. It is a practice us bloggers fall too often into, I've done it too. Without the first ammendment, our own speech wouldn't be protected from those who disagree with us.

Not to pick on Ed at CQ, but his stance on the ACLU to me is not consistent with his prior posts here and here. The ACLU is just coming to support anyone's first ammendment rights

Who is to say what speech and assembly is right. Phelps is not creating a danger in what he does. Its not a matter of yelling fire in a crowded building. So he has a right to do what he wants.

This is about the first ammendment. Plus aren't we all sick of the Nanny state?

Update- Professor Volokh wrote a article for NR Online. There he cites specific case law on limiting protests. I suggest all of you read it.

The Professor concludes-

I'm not sure what legislatures should do about funeral picketing. I strongly sympathize with the desire to shield the grieving, especially given how cruel and contemptible many of the funeral picketers have been; I also think little would be lost to public debate if funeral picketing is banned. On the other hand, I do worry about the slippery-slope risks from any new exception to free-speech principles. In any case, though, I've tried to explain above what First Amendment law is now, whether or not that's the way it should be.
This is a slippery slope. When it comes to the first ammendment, I prefer to side on freedom.

Open Post- Right Wing Nation, Outside the Beltway,

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