Thursday, March 3, 2011

Speech is Powerful.

My last blog entry was made when I first became aware of the self-righteous and insensitive Westboro fanatics (I was a little late to the so-called party). Maybe my head-shaking astonishment when facing the reality of this group's hateful actions is what silenced me - I don't know.

And to refresh your memory, the Westboro "church" speaks out, especially at the funeral services for fallen soldiers, to publicize their belief that God hates the United States because of its tolerance of homosexuality. Their sense of heavenly entitlement is stunning.

This week the Supreme Court delivered their absolutely correct decision regarding the Right to Free Speech in our country. However, it doesn't change the fact that although we can litigate rights, we can't litigate kindness, sensitivity, tolerance, respect and common sense and decency.

In the words of Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr:
“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

If a narcissistic person or group  chooses to "speak" from a self-serving, self-righteous and self-appointed place, they have the right to do so, even when it offends or further breaks the hearts of grieving parents who are burying their courageous son  - a Marine, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder -who was killed in Iraq, or causes added anguish to already tormented friends and family attending the funeral.

As confusing as this might seem on the surface, the 7-1 decision by the Supreme Court is rock solid at its core. Our freedom of speech  allows discussion, debate, the sharing of ideas. And ideas change the world. We can only hope that an idea will change the hearts of the Westboro "church" members and their leader.

Tough times call for tough decisions. But in spite of what seems obvious, this wasn't one of those tough decisions. I am sorry for those who weren't allowed to grieve or bury their dead in peace. But they should find solace in the integrity of their actions and the courage of the son they buried. I am sorry for those who feel entitled through self-dictated, erroneous actions taken in the name of a God who would never stoop to such levels.

This is not about a Supreme Court judgment, it's about unrighteous judgment.

The real lesson isn't about free speech. The lesson is about love. And love is an action.

The actions of the Westboro Baptist "church" have nothing to do with love.

Yet another thing that can't be litigated.

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