Look, I hate the Westboro Baptist Church idiots as much as anyone. Why they think their religion teaches them to preach hatred is beyond me.
But when people are posting things like this, I have to (sadly) disagree:
So Westboro “Baptist Church” showed up here in Texas at the memorial service in West for the first responders who lost their lives in the explosion. The Chief of Police promptly had all 20 or so of them arrested and put into holding cells (all the men in one and all the women in another) When they told him he couldn’t do that, he let them know HE could. Since he hadn’t officially charged them, he could hold them for 24 hours before he had to charge them or let them go! (plenty of time to hold the memorial service). I guess Westboro didn’t think it through too well… This is Texas. As quickly as we fry people down here, did they really think they would be allowed to show that kind of disrespect?? Their photos were also released to the other small towns surrounding West, where services would be denied to them. Sometimes you just have to admire the way we do things down here in Texas!
Nothing to admire here folks, just move along.
We are abandoning what it means to be an American in our blind hatred of these idiots.
While it is perfectly legal to have restrictions which are not “content based” (such as “No public protests within 500 yards of a funeral” or “No protests or speeches allowed in courtrooms while a trial is in progress”) it appears that is not the case here. The people are being arrested (assuming the above is true — I haven’t found confirmation yet) for the content of their speech. It’s what they are saying which is being punished and censored. If they had all shown up with signs saying “We support our heroes” no one would have said a word.
And that’s the problem.
The 1st amendment is meaningless if it doesn’t protect speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protecting.
So while I hate these Westboro cretins, I love the Constitution more. And therefore, they have to be allowed to protest.