Sunday, March 12, 2006

Boundaries are good....or are they?

How far should the First Amendment go in protecting one's speech? Think about that before you answer. Is there a line? If so, where is it? Should there even be a line? Madison put this freedom first in the Bill of Rights for a reason. The freedom of expression, be it by speech, worship, press, assembly or petition for redress of grievances, is our most important and basic fundamental right. It is the foundation of liberty. It is freedom in its purest sense. Without it, no other right or liberty can flourish.

So is there a line? I think there is, but I dare not guess where it should lie. I believe it fluctuates with the sentiments of society. Most adults can think of an example of "acceptable speech" today and can remember some time when that same speech was unacceptable. The trend has been for the "line" to move in the direction of more freedom with less constraints. But does that line ever move in the opposite direction?

Take this for example. My heart and gut tell me that these people need their asses kicked...and well! Hell, I'd volunteer. But my mind cautions me and says that restricting this speech, however ridiculously venomous or offensive it may be, sets a dangerous precedent and the only direction to move from there is backwards. Backwards is not a direction I'm interested in going.

I think fighting fire with fire is best. The actions of the Patriot Guard Riders is most commendable. If it is the right of the Westboro Baptists to show up and defame a fallen veteran at his funeral, then it is the right of the Patriot Guard to show up in greater numbers and in a peaceful manner, shield the family of the deceased from their hateful rhetoric. This is a triumphant example of liberty. And were I unfortunate enough to find myself at the funeral of a family member who had given their life in defence of my freedoms, I would be so moved by the solidarity and Patriotic presence of the numerous bikers with their banners and flags that if I noticed at all the venom spitting hate mongers situated behind them, it would overshadow the anger they invoked. But that's just me. What about you?

One last point. In light of recent comments I made over at The Shade, I'd like to make good on one of my statements. I condemn the actions of these "Baptists" as being misrepresentative of my faith. Nothing in the Bible condones telling complete strangers at a CHRISTIAN FUNERAL that they are going to hell. They say "God hates Fags." They are wrong. God hates no one. God hates the sin, and loves the sinner and he commands us to do the same. Shame on the Phelps clan for their fanatical and twisted representation of Christianity....See, "anonymous"...I call a spade a spade even when they claim to do it in the name of God.