a personal collission of coffee, christ, and culture

A “Win” for Westboro

So, just checked my twitter timeline to see the news and happenings and found an interesting tweet by NPR: “Supreme Court Sides with Westboro Church on Funeral Protests.” My mouth fell to the floor and my mind starting churning. I read the article and my heart began hurting; my eyes started watering.

According to the article, the case was a landslide victory for Westboro: 8-1. Seriously. You read that right. 8 for and 1 against.

The reasons for the courts decision were many: free speech was adequately observed within a public space, without disrupting the funeral, with the help of law enforcement, without using personalized attacks, and in a calm and peaceful way.

The lone dissenter stated that the church “launched a malevolent attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability,” of which more can be seen here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/03/02/134194791/supreme-court-sides-with-westboro-church-on-funeral-protests

This truly is a prickly situation. Now, based off of discussion I have had with many people, the overall view toward Westboro Baptist is dislike. Hate would probably be a more accurate term. Everyone, save for a select few, seem to be on the same page about these folks. What they do is said to be terrible. Many would even say inexcusable. It seems devoid of care, concern, respect, sympathy, empathy, and understanding. There is no patience for others in their actions. There is a tremendous amount of ill will present.

I read about this case a long time ago and have been interested to see the outcome. I somehow knew it would not be triumphant. But now we are in a situation in which a precedent has been set. Can anyone try them again on these charges? Not sure. Allowance has been given. Its hairy.

Henceforth, the rules have been laid down. Given, its nothing that was not known. If I recall there is a collection of lawyers in the Westboro congregation. I am confident there is a fair amount of intelligence there. But its difficult to imagine anything being done about this from here on out.

But you know, it just makes me hurt. Yea, these protests will continue just as they always have. I have been following these folks for 6 years or so. They make me sad. They make my heart swell. Hate is horrendous. Whether physical, verbal, psychological, emotional, spiritual, or sexual, its horrendous. And I wish something could be done about it. Just to stop it.

“God hates fags.” That is a sign that is prominently displayed at the protests. In my mind you are bringing one of the most unacceptable terms into a public view with all kinds of people present. Its infringing on a person’s sense of security and safety when you do this. I mean, just think about it. You are taking a public, safe space and turning it into a hostile one with the flip of a switch. I think of the parents with children in the vicinity who are charged with explaining such a complicated, and hurt-filled, idea to their children. Heck, I think of the families of the funeral. Its an attack on them. Doesn’t intention even matter anymore? Yea someone may do action “A” or “B,” but when these actions or organized as to explicitly correlate with a funeral… I mean…

That is what I don’t get. I also have a vested interest in these folks because they represent me to an extent. They are a church, of which I attend and work at. They are a baptist church, of which I…wait for it… attend and work at. They are reformed in their theology, of which I also am. They claim love for Jesus I am sure.

It is such a tough, complicated scenario, one that has no easy answers. According to our nations highest court, they are protected… perhaps even allowed.

To see these folks… well it just hurts.


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