“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Ammendment has been a hot topic lately, as the Supreme Court recently decided that the Freedom of Speech clause protects people like the Westboro Baptist “Church” in their decision to picket the funerals of children and soldiers killed in action.
As someone who has many family members in various branches of the armed forces and has buried a cousin killed in Iraq, I find it disgusting that our Bill of Rights could allow something so horrible. As a former jounalism student, I understand that no court in the country is going to rule in favor of violating anyone’s First Ammendment right. Unfortunately, as long as their protests remain “peaceful” there is nothing that can be done to stop them, any more than you could stop any other form of protest.
But what about the family’s right to privacy you ask? The First Ammendment is First for a reason. Our founding fathers felt this was one of the most important things to be included in the Bill of Rights. They wanted to make sure that at no time could anyone infringe on anyone else’s freedom of religion or speech. The result being that whenever the First Ammendment comes into conflict with another ammendment, the First will win out almost every time. While most of the time we are grateful that these freedoms are protected so diligently, at times like this it’s extremely frustrating trying to understand how our government could allow such a thing to happen.
Make no mistake, I despise this so-called church just as much as the rest of the country (at least, everyone who is not a member of the insanity), and I truly wish there were a way to stop them, but with the First Ammendment on their side, there’s not a lot we can do but sit back and pray they screw up so they can be prosecuted without its protection.
One thing we can actively do is support and protect that families who are targeted by these people. And maybe if the media would stop giving them so much attention, they would eventually fade away. They’re mostly doing this for the attention. If the entire world turned its back on them, ignored them and showed them that we’re not going to let them affect us anymore, eventually their fanaticism would fade.
Of course, I keep saying the same thing about Charlie Sheen but so far the media (and America as a whole) is too fascinated watching the train wreck he calls his life to understand that maybe if he wasn’t getting all this attention he would just retreat back into his crazy life. The media and attention just adds fuel to the fire.
What Americans can’t seem to understand is that these people, whether they are members of Westboro Baptist, Charlie Sheen or some other crazy person, only have the power that we give them. And since we gave it to them we can just as easily take it away.
And I’m begging, please America, take it away.