BC: Works cited | Banks,Addle M. "Is Phelps a Role Model on Free Speech Issues?" The Christian Century 128.7 (2011):18. Student Edition.Web. 19 May 2011 | Gallagher, Johnathan. "Hate Speech Should Not be Regulated". Civil Liberties. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. Sand Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 25 May 2011 | "Introduction to Censorship: Current Controversies". Censorship Ed. Julia Bauder. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. Current Controversies. Gale. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 25 May 2011. | McCollun, Sean. "Can You Outlaw Hate?" Scholastic Update. 14 December 1998: 15. Student Addition. Web/ 18 May 2011 | "The Outtake". Esquire. October 2005:58. Student Addition. Web. 18 May 2011
FC: Funeral Picketing Crosses the Limit
2: Are you proud of the rights that we as Americans are entitled to? Are you proud that there are soldiers on the front line defending our many rights, including our freedom of speech? Many people are thankful for such rights, but where do the limits stand within these rights? Does picketing the funeral of these very soldiers and voicing your perhaps harsh opinion cross these boundaries? With the powers of free speech, a small congregation known as Westboro Baptist Church based out of Topeka, Kansas, picket the funerals of soldiers, homosexuals, and public supporters of these citizens. They picket these funerals all across America, so many funerals in fact, that they are notorious for their bold signs and speeches that clearly state their opinion. Westboro Baptist Church, commonly known as WBC has gathered and formed strict opinions based on it's member's interpretations of the Bible. Though every American citizen is entitled to the right of free speech that enables this, I believe that funeral picketing should be illegal because it crosses the thin line of freedom of speech and shows no respect to fellow citizens.
4: Funeral picketing crosses the thin line of freedom of speech. | WBC has been to court on numerous occasions due to citizens' efforts to put a ban on the picketing of funerals, but all of the courts have agreed and ruled that WBC has the right to picket within 300 feet of funerals because of American's given rights to freedom of speech as stated in the U.S. Constitution (Banks). | Many people argue that freedom of speech is not absolute, in other words, you have the right to your own opinion, and you may voice it, but how you voice you opinion has it's boundaries ("introduction to Censorship").
5: Freedom of speech is a right that we are entitled to as Americans, but all rights have their limits. | funeral picketing is usually geared toward specific groups (homosexuals and soldiers in the case of WBC) that receive a lot of public scrutiny as is.
6: Funeral Picketing Shows No Respect to Fellow Citizens | WBC is fueled by media attention, even if that means hurting the feelings of the fallen soldiers' families ("The Outtake."). | When these funerals are picketed, it shows a lack of respect to the fallen heroes who fought for the right of this very freedom to speak your mind as you wish.
7: When @21 year old Matthew Shepard died as a result of a gay hate crime (Shepard was openly gay) , WBC "rejoiced" and proudly displayed signs of hate at Shepard's funeral (McCollum). | Acts such as these cause people pain and anger, which often times leads to violence.
8: Opposing Viewpoints | "Objective Criticism of religion is a human right" - Jahangir. All people have the basic rights to object to any idea they ways (Gallagher). | Not allowing funeral picketing,which is a form of free speech, may limit the peoples' voice, resulting in a totalitarian society (Gallagher). | Americans have the right to believe what they wish, and may voice it in any way as long as it does not violate any codes of law (Gallagher).
9: So What does this mean? | Everyone's beliefs are to be respected in my opinion, but i believe that a person's particular beliefs should be demonstrated in ways that do not condone hate. Funeral picketing is a demonstration of disrespect to the deceased and the family of the deceased. Funeral picketing encourages hate and exceeds the boundaries of our given rights, therefore i strongly believe it should be illegal. This affects not just a person, not just a family, but instead, a whole community, nation even, that has to witness disrespect to citizens. Everyone has a limit, to which they tolerate events, and in the event of funeral picketing, this limit is crossed,torn, and left to make us speak out against such inhumanity.