Free Speech |
And Society |
Ariel Kincaid |
Media and American Culture
The freedoms that the United States prides itself on came at a cost, and it continues to require a sacrifice from those members of the military and their families to protect the country. A controversy regarding the freedom of speech that has been covered recently by the media is the protests that the Westboro Baptist Church performs outside of military funerals. According to Fama (2012), “The church links the deaths of service members to America’s acceptance of gays and has a webpage full of press releases highlighting the picketing schedule of military service member ...view middle of the document...
According to Laviana (2012),
The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 … will impose new restrictions on funeral protesters by increasing the quiet time before and after military funerals, and increasing the size of the buffer zone between protesters and the entrance to a funeral. (para. 4)
These new restrictions will allow for funeral goers to not be blocked from going to or leaving the funeral or having protestors interrupting the proceedings of the funeral while still allowing for the Westboro Baptist Church and other groups to exercise their freedom of speech.
The grounds for the final Supreme Court ruling of 8-1 in favor of the church are that this church has the right to protest at military funerals and that banning them from doing so would violate their First Amendment rights. According to Ross (2011), “A majority of justices ruled that these fundamental rights outweigh the concerns of grieving family members who would rather not deal with what they say are obnoxious protesters from the Kansas church” (para. 2). It basically boils down to the fact that the protestors from this church have the right to voice their opinion in a public place, even if they are upsetting and unpopular.
I do agree with the outcome for a number of reasons. I think that one of the things about living in the United States is that we have to respect everyone’s freedoms or be a hypocrite. I do find that the actions of this church group are horrible, but it would be unfair of the courts to rule that only the members of this particular church are unable to exercise their freedom of speech in protesting something while other groups are still allowed to protest controversial issues. For instance, abortion clinics are protested often by groups in this controversial issue, but are not stopped from doing so completely. Every group or individual should be allowed to voice their opinion, but they should not be able to infringe on the rights of others as they are exercising their freedoms. I find that having...