US Hate Church Tests Limits of Free Speech

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US Hate Church Tests Limits of Free Speech

 

By Washington correspondent Kim Landers, staff

Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago

Westboro Baptist Church supporters

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court. (AFP: Chip Somodevilla )

The United States Supreme Court is testing whether the right to free speech protects a religious group that pickets the funerals of American soldiers.

The Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas says US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are punishment for the immorality of Americans, including tolerance of homosexuality.

Members of the church hammer home their message by protesting at the funerals of American soldiers, carrying banners with slogans like "Thank God for dead soldiers", "God hates your feelings", "Fags doom nations" and "Pray for more dead kids".

Members of the church carried the same signs as they protested on the steps of the US Supreme Court overnight.

Inside, the court was hearing an emotional case between the father of a US Marine killed in Iraq and the church, whose members picketed his son's funeral four years ago.

Margie Phelps, the daughter of church leader Reverend Fred Phelps, said that even if some people find the church's actions distasteful and repugnant, freedom of expression is protected under the First Amendment.

"There's no line that can be drawn here without shutting down a lot of speech," she told the court.

But Albert Snyder said the church took away his one chance to bury his son Matthew in peace.

"Speaking as a father, the Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church conduct was so extreme it went beyond all possible bounds of basic human decency ... it can be regarded as utterly intolerable in a civilised nation," he said.

"I hope that they realise that isn't just a case about speech," Albert Snyder's lawyer Sean Summers said.

"It's about harassment, targeted harassment at a private person's funeral."

Ms Phelps argues that America's war deaths are divine punishment because the US tolerates homosexuals.

"God is cursing America - it is a curse for your young men and women to be coming home in body bags," she said.

"If you want that to stop, stop sinning."

Albert Snyder sued the church for causing mental suffering and was awarded $11 million by a jury, a figure that a judge then reduced to $5 million.

An appeals court then scrapped the compensation altogether, ruling that while the church's actions were "distasteful and repugnant," they fell under First Amendment protections.

During the legal argument, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the question was whether the First Amendment must tolerate "exploiting this bereaved family".

The court's decision will not be announced for months.

Whatever the outcome, the church members are vowing not to change their ways.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/07/3031715.htm?section=justin

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Groan

 

Free speech. It has some serious downsides.

 

Edit: In fact I think this is a distillation of what most christians and muslims really believe. Humans are evil and deserve to die. God actively punishes us for the sin of accepting gays by killing our young people.

When we die we will all go to hell. Yep. Sounds familiar to me.  Then there's that kid in the picture with the hell sign. What hope does that poor bastard have? 

Your average christian waters down their quiet internal stance when talking to us on these boards but you can't believe jesus needed to die to save your skinny arse without tarring the rest of us with the same freaky brush.

Freedom of worship is something I am slowly becoming firmly opposed to. These doctrines are nothing but hate crimes. We need to wake up and demand this insane stuff be outlawed under civil law.

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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It's pretty obvious they are

It's pretty obvious they are bunch of phonies that are just being as obnoxious as they legally can be to get their 15 minutes.

The press is obliged to play along with their game.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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I believe it was

I believe it was TheAmazingAtheist who once said that freedom of speech means that sometimes incredible assholes win.

 

 

I agree, but I would rather have the assholes win, than those with good ideas lose.

 

 

 


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Quote:Congress shall make no

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

There is no law being contested here.  There is no issue of free speech.  The question is, was the father and his family harassed at the funeral of this young man?  The original case was a civil award for personal harassment.  I may sue anyone I want for harassment - including my boss, my co-workers, my husband (boy that would be funny), my neighbors and so on.  They may have posted signs on their property saying I was this or that or something offensive and I have the right to sue them for harassment.

The church wackos can say what they want, they can protest what they want, but if it is personal, the person they are harassing can sue their ass.  And the church members went after this guy personally.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can spout off what you want, when you want.  The 1st amendment clearly states, "make no law".  And there is no criminal law here - just a civil suit.

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cj wrote:Quote:Congress

cj wrote:

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

There is no law being contested here.  There is no issue of free speech.  The question is, was the father and his family harassed at the funeral of this young man?  The original case was a civil award for personal harassment.  I may sue anyone I want for harassment - including my boss, my co-workers, my husband (boy that would be funny), my neighbors and so on.  They may have posted signs on their property saying I was this or that or something offensive and I have the right to sue them for harassment.

The church wackos can say what they want, they can protest what they want, but if it is personal, the person they are harassing can sue their ass.  And the church members went after this guy personally.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can spout off what you want, when you want.  The 1st amendment clearly states, "make no law".  And there is no criminal law here - just a civil suit.

I had a feeling that was the case when I first read the headline. The question I have is how close are they to the actual funeral procession when they do their picketing and can they actually legally be within earshot of the procession? If they are really far so as to not be able to interrupt the actual the burying etc, then I don't really see any problem with them spreading there stupid message since apparently no one is listening anyway.


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funknotik wrote:cj

funknotik wrote:

cj wrote:

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

There is no law being contested here.  There is no issue of free speech.  The question is, was the father and his family harassed at the funeral of this young man?  The original case was a civil award for personal harassment.  I may sue anyone I want for harassment - including my boss, my co-workers, my husband (boy that would be funny), my neighbors and so on.  They may have posted signs on their property saying I was this or that or something offensive and I have the right to sue them for harassment.

The church wackos can say what they want, they can protest what they want, but if it is personal, the person they are harassing can sue their ass.  And the church members went after this guy personally.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can spout off what you want, when you want.  The 1st amendment clearly states, "make no law".  And there is no criminal law here - just a civil suit.

I had a feeling that was the case when I first read the headline. The question I have is how close are they to the actual funeral procession when they do their picketing and can they actually legally be within earshot of the procession? If they are really far so as to not be able to interrupt the actual the burying etc, then I don't really see any problem with them spreading there stupid message since apparently no one is listening anyway.

The church did get a permit from the police to hold the protest so ultimately that is what will probably force the Supreme Court to either punt it or rule in the church's favor. It isn't harassment if you get permission from the police to hold the protest at a specific location and you are protesting. And yes, you can spout off whatever you want. The government can control to some extent where and when protests can be held but cannot control what is said at a protest. You can't sue someone for the message they have at a protest. There is no difference between a criminal penalty or a civil penalty. Either one is a punishment. Now, if you don't have a permit to protest and you go to a funeral and start spouting off and the family asks you to leave but you stay a harassment case can be made. 

Really the solution is simple. Government simply needs to create a policy that permits for protests won't be issued within hearing distance of a funeral. Some states have already passed laws to that effect. Problem solved and no potentially negative side effects to free speech. 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

funknotik wrote:

cj wrote:

Quote:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

There is no law being contested here.  There is no issue of free speech.  The question is, was the father and his family harassed at the funeral of this young man?  The original case was a civil award for personal harassment.  I may sue anyone I want for harassment - including my boss, my co-workers, my husband (boy that would be funny), my neighbors and so on.  They may have posted signs on their property saying I was this or that or something offensive and I have the right to sue them for harassment.

The church wackos can say what they want, they can protest what they want, but if it is personal, the person they are harassing can sue their ass.  And the church members went after this guy personally.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can spout off what you want, when you want.  The 1st amendment clearly states, "make no law".  And there is no criminal law here - just a civil suit.

I had a feeling that was the case when I first read the headline. The question I have is how close are they to the actual funeral procession when they do their picketing and can they actually legally be within earshot of the procession? If they are really far so as to not be able to interrupt the actual the burying etc, then I don't really see any problem with them spreading there stupid message since apparently no one is listening anyway.

The church did get a permit from the police to hold the protest so ultimately that is what will probably force the Supreme Court to either punt it or rule in the church's favor. It isn't harassment if you get permission from the police to hold the protest at a specific location and you are protesting. And yes, you can spout off whatever you want. The government can control to some extent where and when protests can be held but cannot control what is said at a protest. You can't sue someone for the message they have at a protest. There is no difference between a criminal penalty or a civil penalty. Either one is a punishment. Now, if you don't have a permit to protest and you go to a funeral and start spouting off and the family asks you to leave but you stay a harassment case can be made. 

Really the solution is simple. Government simply needs to create a policy that permits for protests won't be issued within hearing distance of a funeral. Some states have already passed laws to that effect. Problem solved and no potentially negative side effects to free speech. 

I have to say I agree with Beyond Saving here.  My opinion is simple, you can spout off whatever nonsense that can come off the tip of your tongue so long as you acknowledge the consequences.  These people have the right to be their and spread their drivel, just like the family has the right to bury their loved one in peace if they want.  Allowing the protest out of earshot of the bereaved is the best option to stop more misery and pain for the family.

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Don't we view all Christians

Don't we view all Christians like the Westboro Baptist Church?


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JesusNEVERexisted

JesusNEVERexisted wrote:

Don't we view all Christians like the Westboro Baptist Church?

Guilty as charged, damn I'm supposed to not say stuff like this out loud.

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If a thief says to a victim

If a thief says to a victim give me your money or I'll hurt you, he goes to jail. If a pastor says to someone give me your money or god will hurt you, it's protected religious speech.

If men tell women to have sex or I'll hurt you, we call it rape. If men tell women to have or not have sex or god will hurt you, we call it religion.

If someone threatens a gay person with violence, he is charged with a hate crime. If someone threatens a gay person with violence from god, it is protected speech.

So personal threats are permitted as long as it is qualified with god.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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If an atheist says, "All

If an atheist says, "All religious should die" does that mean the atheist is actually going to go kill religious people? O

I have no choice but to protect these assholes.

Dont give me this politically correct crap that government should force everyone to only say nice things about you.

If these jackasses are not violating private property, if they are not violating noise laws, and if they are not violating the physical motion of others, then they have the right to be dicks.

If the atheists here pulling this "hate speech" crap want to shoot themselves in the foot, trying to silence these bigots will have the opposite affect.

Atheists are outnumbered in this country. How many times have we said "religion is dangerous"? Do you want the believing majority, who constitute our law makers and law enforcement deciding for you what you can or cannot say?

The only thing either side can agree on is that no matter what we say or how offensive something someone might say to us or how hurtful it may be, the only laws any civil person can agree on is not physically harming someone, and not advocating harm to someone.

Otherwise if any atheist wants politically correct "hate speech laws" this very website could and would be silenced because some Christian called it "hate speech".

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone started civilization" Freud.

I think these bigots are sick in what they do. But as I said, if they are not trespassing, if they are not violating noise laws, if they are not impeding the motions of others, and they are not getting violent with others, then they have every right to do so. Without giving them that protection, I could potentially lose my right to bitch about them.

It is short term thinking to try to force people to only say nice things about you. The long term damage in trying to set up taboos is that the government you live under may not agree with what you say. Political landscapes change and social norms change and lawmakers change and those in power may not agree with what you say.

I warn the well intended atheists here who want humanity to get along, it is not your intent, but your tactic I object to. You don't silence others via government, you use the same open market of free speech. You use the same right to bitch that they do. You don't legislate morality and you don't demand people like each other. The only think you can do is say to anyone is don't physically harm others.

And if the lawyers for these bigots are doing their job, they will and should win. I would suggest the well intended watch "The People vs Larry Flint" before we suggest government enforce blasphemy laws, which is the same ilk as "hate speech".

If I myself want the right to say "The Pope is a penis wearing asshat who's policies give people disease because he advocates no use of condoms" You cannot tell me there would not be Catholics that would demand a law demanding I cant say that.

Ireland has recently had buyers remorse after they tried blasphemy laws, and some very smart ATHEISTS posted "blasphemy" from famous historical figures. Now that country is regretting its taboo laws.

I myself do not want to be told who the fuck I have to like and what I can or cannot say about them. I will obey common law in that I cant physically harm them.

This court if it is doing it's job will protect them as they should.

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EXC wrote:If a thief says

EXC wrote:

If a thief says to a victim give me your money or I'll hurt you, he goes to jail. If a pastor says to someone give me your money or god will hurt you, it's protected religious speech.

If men tell women to have sex or I'll hurt you, we call it rape. If men tell women to have or not have sex or god will hurt you, we call it religion.

If someone threatens a gay person with violence, he is charged with a hate crime. If someone threatens a gay person with violence from god, it is protected speech.

So personal threats are permitted as long as it is qualified with god.

 

I already addressed this in my prior post, but you are messing with your own rights suggesting your well intended crap.

Atheists say things all the time that are seen as threats by believers, our very existence even without blasphemy is seen as a threat. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with your kumbia crap. You want to battle these bigots, you let them say it and then you use your own voice to ridicule them and blaspheme them.

I don't fear their hollow threats from their god so why should I give a fuck if they threaten me with their god? I have been equated to Hitler and Stalin and we've even had a President say we shouldn't be citizens. I don't give a fuck. I don't need you protecting me.

If someone is murdered because they are gay, how does that make them any less dead if they were robbed and murdered for their money? Is the robbery victim any less special because he wasn't gay?

You are messing with your own rights and you don't even realize it.

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I'll tell everyone right

I'll tell everyone right here right now, when I die, I don't give a shit what others say about me, I wont have that capability of caring. I don't give a shit what my detractors say about me now. And I would not want protesters banned from protesting my funeral, as long as they are obeying all laws.

How many people here were happy when Falwell died? How many people would love to see the Vatican go the way of the Pyramids?

WHAT our species needs to learn is that merely being offended or hurt by what others say is nothing compared to the REAL violence that no human wants. The best any of us can do is let the bitching happen and agree not to physically harm others.

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Brian37 wrote:I already

Brian37 wrote:

I already addressed this in my prior post, but you are messing with your own rights suggesting your well intended crap.

Atheists say things all the time that are seen as threats by believers, our very existence even without blasphemy is seen as a threat. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with your kumbia crap. You want to battle these bigots, you let them say it and then you use your own voice to ridicule them and blaspheme them.

I don't fear their hollow threats from their god so why should I give a fuck if they threaten me with their god? I have been equated to Hitler and Stalin and we've even had a President say we shouldn't be citizens. I don't give a fuck. I don't need you protecting me.

If someone is murdered because they are gay, how does that make them any less dead if they were robbed and murdered for their money? Is the robbery victim any less special because he wasn't gay?

You are messing with your own rights and you don't even realize it.

I disagree.

If the RRS claimed "send in money and we'll cure your cancer", the FDA should shut it down and punish the people running such a scam.

If an atheist said to women "we send someone to hurt you if you ever have sex with a theist", that person should be punished.

If atheist said "if you don't convert to atheism some powerful people will come to hurt you", that should not be protected speech.

They get away with running snake oil cure scams and threats of harm by claiming it's not them but god. If theists can use the word 'god' to run scams and intimidate people, can we use the word 'someone' to do the same thing?

If the constitution allows this speech under the guise of freedom, then the constitution needs to change. But so many Americans treat the constitution like it's a holy document.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:Brian37 wrote:I

EXC wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

I already addressed this in my prior post, but you are messing with your own rights suggesting your well intended crap.

Atheists say things all the time that are seen as threats by believers, our very existence even without blasphemy is seen as a threat. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with your kumbia crap. You want to battle these bigots, you let them say it and then you use your own voice to ridicule them and blaspheme them.

I don't fear their hollow threats from their god so why should I give a fuck if they threaten me with their god? I have been equated to Hitler and Stalin and we've even had a President say we shouldn't be citizens. I don't give a fuck. I don't need you protecting me.

If someone is murdered because they are gay, how does that make them any less dead if they were robbed and murdered for their money? Is the robbery victim any less special because he wasn't gay?

You are messing with your own rights and you don't even realize it.

I disagree.

If the RRS claimed "send in money and we'll cure your cancer", the FDA should shut it down and punish the people running such a scam.

If an atheist said to women "we send someone to hurt you if you ever have sex with a theist", that person should be punished.

If atheist said "if you don't convert to atheism some powerful people will come to hurt you", that should not be protected speech.

They get away with running snake oil cure scams and threats of harm by claiming it's not them but god. If theists can use the word 'god' to run scams and intimidate people, can we use the word 'someone' to do the same thing?

If the constitution allows this speech under the guise of freedom, then the constitution needs to change. But so many Americans treat the constitution like it's a holy document.

 

That's the problem.  All of those things should be considered free speech.  Whatever people say, it should be protected, whether it's true or not, or whether it can cause you emotional harm. Even if it leads to physical harm.  Speech is not the problem here. The problem is narrow minds that would fall for something along the lines of 'Convert or you'll be hurt'.  They have the right to say it, and you have the right to laugh at them.  My opinions are not popular at all in my family(many neo-conservatives of the Bush type), but I am still allowed to say even the most disrespectful thing I can think of.  Then they will respond in kind.

Now I find what Phelps and the Westboro followers are saying beyond any sort of decency, but they have that right. If they lose that right, like Brian37 says, it would not be a terrible leap of logic to see the right to blaspheme taken away.  It would be a terrible day to see what you or I say daily criminalized.

Also, when snake oil salesmen try to sucker you, it is YOUR job to not fall for it.  They have to right to be a dick and try to make money. We should teach our children to see the signs of scams and call bullshit as soon as they see it.  They are just trying to make money in a capitalist economy.

If an enterprising atheist wants to run scams like some theists do there shouldn't be anything stopping them. I see no problem with people saying 'if you don't convert to atheism some powerful people will come and hurt you'.  My problem would be with the person who would believe that statement outright.

The problem isn't the speech, it's how we interpret it and whether we give any value to what is being said.  Let the Phelps of the world spew their hate, and then counter them with reason.  Some people will fall for Phelps crap, and the ones that learn will either just walk away or counter rally against them.

That's the true beauty of America, we are free to be dicks to anybody we want, the line is clearly drawn at bodily harm, death, purposeful intent to riot.

 

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Apparently they had

Apparently they had scheduled a protest at a soldiers funeral in a small german community near where I live called "Windthorst".

However they cancelled the protest after the sheriff's department made it known that they "would not be able to offer them any protection".

Yea Texas is good for something I guess.

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Kevin Wilslef wrote:That's

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

That's the problem.  All of those things should be considered free speech.  Whatever people say, it should be protected, whether it's true or not, or whether it can cause you emotional harm.

 

So if someone comes up to your girlfriend and say "if you have a relationship with Kevin, someone will hurt you". This should be protected speech? It is not legal, it would be fighting words and a threat. Fighting words and threats of harm should not be legal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words

We have a huge problem in the country with bulling, a lot of it is just verbal, but it all needs to be harsh dealt with.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

The problem is narrow minds that would fall for something along the lines of 'Convert or you'll be hurt'. 

 

You may be able to see what a scam it is but not impressionable young people. It is a problem of teaching critical thinking in schools.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

 If they lose that right, like Brian37 says, it would not be a terrible leap of logic to see the right to blaspheme taken away.

 

If god is harmed by any false statements we make about him, he should be allowed to sue us in court. But in the law now, we are not treated equally:

Theists can say someone('god') will harm you if you become an atheist.

Atheists can not say 'someone' will harm you if you became a theist.

They are legally allowed to threaten with harm anyone that may think of converting. We can not(not that we would want to anyways).

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

  It would be a terrible day to see what you or I say daily criminalized.

 

Threats of harm already are criminalized. People get restraining orders all the time against people that verbally threaten them. But we've carved out and exception for religious threats.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

Also, when snake oil salesmen try to sucker you, it is YOUR job to not fall for it.  They have to right to be a dick and try to make money. We should teach our children to see the signs of scams and call bullshit as soon as they see it.  They are just trying to make money in a capitalist economy.

 

Ridiculous. Business can not function if we allow fraud. What about a car repairman that claims he can fix your breaks when he knows nothing. The law must punish fraud severely for an economy to function.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

If an enterprising atheist wants to run scams like some theists do there shouldn't be anything stopping them. I see no problem with people saying 'if you don't convert to atheism some powerful people will come and hurt you'.  My problem would be with the person who would believe that statement outright.

 

That's what happened in USSR. They did hurt people that didn't give up their religion. I have a big problem with that. There is no place in civilized society for threats of any kind. Not the kind of atheist society I would ever want.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

The problem isn't the speech, it's how we interpret it and whether we give any value to what is being said.  Let the Phelps of the world spew their hate, and then counter them with reason.  Some people will fall for Phelps crap, and the ones that learn will either just walk away or counter rally against them.

 

OK so you can see Phelps is a blowhard dick. But some impressionable teenager with gay desires may be fearful of coming out and pursuing a gay relationship because he thinks Christians will harass him, perhaps harm him god's name. Is that right? Threats may not affect you at all, but that is not true for a lot of people.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

That's the true beauty of America, we are free to be dicks to anybody we want, the line is clearly drawn at bodily harm, death, purposeful intent to riot.

So if someone came up to your girlfriend and said "if you have sex with Kevin, someone will harm you", those aren't fighting words? Suppose they wrote all over the Internet that you murdered someone or stole from your past employer, so you found it difficult to find a job because of these lies. Should that be protected speech?

I think the line must include threats of harm, liable and bulling including religious bullies.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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robj101 wrote:Apparently

robj101 wrote:

Apparently they had scheduled a protest at a soldiers funeral in a small german community near where I live called "Windthorst".

However they cancelled the protest after the sheriff's department made it known that they "would not be able to offer them any protection".

Yea Texas is good for something I guess.

An armed society is a polite one.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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 There is a difference

 There is a difference between a threat and a warning. If I said to you "you better not have sex with Kevin's girlfriend because he will kill you" you would never be able to win a lawsuit against me unless you could somehow prove that Kevin had sent me to tell you that. The religious person who says "if you don't believe in god you will go to hell" isn't issuing a personal threat. They are warning that god is going to hurt you. Now if a religious person says "if you don't believe in god I am going to kill you" now you have a threat. Although for practical purposes it is really difficult to sue someone over a threat. Generally, it is only successful in cases where physical violence was imminent or continued harassment.  If we were in a casual conversion and I said "I'm going to kill you" at most you could get a restraining order unless some other violence was involved or evidence that I was actually intending on killing you.   

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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EXC wrote:Kevin Wilslef

EXC wrote:

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

That's the problem.  All of those things should be considered free speech.  Whatever people say, it should be protected, whether it's true or not, or whether it can cause you emotional harm.

 

So if someone comes up to your girlfriend and say "if you have a relationship with Kevin, someone will hurt you". This should be protected speech? It is not legal, it would be fighting words and a threat. Fighting words and threats of harm should not be legal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words

We have a huge problem in the country with bulling, a lot of it is just verbal, but it all needs to be harsh dealt with.

Yes We have a huge problem with bullying. But this huge problem cannot be solved by telling people what they can and can't say.  I've been bullied before, and know how painful it was for me. I don't live in others, so I can't possibly know how they would feel, but a reasonable deduction would be the same feelings. It sucks.  Even then, in the midst of a very emotional time for me, I would have still fought for their right to berate me. My only wish is that I had actually had a repertoire to answer back at that point.

I also have had my fiancee's christian mother say that she didn't want her with me(especially after she learned I was an atheist). My fiancee says she is an agnostic, but their are times where I wonder whether she is a christian. She stayed with me because she loves me.  She would take the pain willingfully for me and I would for her. I know that this isn't like most of the world, but if we raise children to know that words are just words, and they may invoke anger in you, but a better person doesn't resort to violence over them, the world might be a slightly better place.  I don't mind being called names, I am a jerk to some and a friend to others. All that matters is if you let your emotions completely take over or stay rational.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

The problem is narrow minds that would fall for something along the lines of 'Convert or you'll be hurt'. 

 

You may be able to see what a scam it is but not impressionable young people. It is a problem of teaching critical thinking in schools.

I agree there, schools should teach how to see through scams and bullshit

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

 If they lose that right, like Brian37 says, it would not be a terrible leap of logic to see the right to blaspheme taken away.

 

If god is harmed by any false statements we make about him, he should be allowed to sue us in court. But in the law now, we are not treated equally:

Theists can say someone('god') will harm you if you become an atheist.

Atheists can not say 'someone' will harm you if you became a theist.

They are legally allowed to threaten with harm anyone that may think of converting. We can not(not that we would want to anyways).

It is shit that theists can threaten harm from god, but I still blaspheme and even in the most extreme circumstances would deny any and all gods.  They have the right to threaten me, and I take full advantage of my right to blaspheme them(which alot of religious people that I've talked with take personally and would complain that my speech is hate speech when I am just using my right to free speech as a tool to voice an opinion. Theirs is just as equal in my eyes even if i disagree with it.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

  It would be a terrible day to see what you or I say daily criminalized.

 

Threats of harm already are criminalized. People get restraining orders all the time against people that verbally threaten them. But we've carved out and exception for religious threats.

Point taken and conceded. I would know that I would want a restraining order against someone that threatened my life(and I seriously knew they would go through with it).

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

Also, when snake oil salesmen try to sucker you, it is YOUR job to not fall for it.  They have to right to be a dick and try to make money. We should teach our children to see the signs of scams and call bullshit as soon as they see it.  They are just trying to make money in a capitalist economy.

 

Ridiculous. Business can not function if we allow fraud. What about a car repairman that claims he can fix your breaks when he knows nothing. The law must punish fraud severely for an economy to function

If a consumer actually does his job and check the repairman and saw that other people had problems, the consumer can then go to someone that knows what to do.  Now I would be for full regulation so I wouldn't have to research anything, but as someone who knows there are people out to screw him to make money, it makes me actually look for people and products that actually are good.  Fraud is a problem, but could be taken care of(in my opinion), by an educated consumer and allowing the freedom to speak about bad service or hucksters so others will know and this snake-oil salesman will lose customers and therefore have to actually get a job that they can do.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

If an enterprising atheist wants to run scams like some theists do there shouldn't be anything stopping them. I see no problem with people saying 'if you don't convert to atheism some powerful people will come and hurt you'.  My problem would be with the person who would believe that statement outright.

 

That's what happened in USSR. They did hurt people that didn't give up their religion. I have a big problem with that. There is no place in civilized society for threats of any kind. Not the kind of atheist society I would ever want.

I draw the line between threat and action. I could walk around downtown Minneapolis saying I'll kill christians, but I have that right. When an action is then taken, that is where i believe the law should be drawn. We can't be pre-emptive all the time.  There are people that will say things and then commit actions(like the USSR and its blatant disregard of the right for people to believe in whatever they want).  People should have the right to threaten each other. I am threatened with hell, a torment that is supposed to be completely unbearable.  I just take it as their opinion and tell them there is no hell.  They may get angry and hurt me, but they have the right to threaten me and I have the right to verbally respond.  The breakdown comes when this persons beliefs are so clouded that they hurt or kill me, which is against the law and rightly so. I'm not so sure that a purely atheistic society would be utopia anyways, there are some that are pretty radical in their views on other topics.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

The problem isn't the speech, it's how we interpret it and whether we give any value to what is being said.  Let the Phelps of the world spew their hate, and then counter them with reason.  Some people will fall for Phelps crap, and the ones that learn will either just walk away or counter rally against them.

 

OK so you can see Phelps is a blowhard dick. But some impressionable teenager with gay desires may be fearful of coming out and pursuing a gay relationship because he thinks Christians will harass him, perhaps harm him god's name. Is that right? Threats may not affect you at all, but that is not true for a lot of people.

Yes, this is a problem for gay youth. Phelps and a lot of these nutty blowhards cause a lot of harm with their speech.  I still think he has the right to spout his vile diatribe.  I may accept being gay as something to not be ashamed of, but he doesn't think the same.  We should focus more on teaching children that there is nothing wrong with people that are gay, they are people. If you put a face, name, and family to someone, it makes them see this person as a human and makes it much more difficult to de-personalize and generalize. We should help the gay community, especially the ones that are troubled by these people. That said, Phelps still can be a dick in this society. I still hate him and all the things that he says, but I will defend his right to speak them. I also know full well that he wouldn't respect me in kind, but that is also free in this country.

Kevin Wilslef wrote:

That's the true beauty of America, we are free to be dicks to anybody we want, the line is clearly drawn at bodily harm, death, purposeful intent to riot.

So if someone came up to your girlfriend and said "if you have sex with Kevin, someone will harm you", those aren't fighting words? Suppose they wrote all over the Internet that you murdered someone or stole from your past employer, so you found it difficult to find a job because of these lies. Should that be protected speech?

I think the line must include threats of harm, liable and bulling including religious bullies.

The problem is how pre-emptive do you want to be. Where does the line get drawn?  I believe that where it is seems perfectly reasonable.  Bullying is a shitty fact of nature, but it happens.  If somebody verbally attacks somebody, I don't find it a crime. It is reprehensible, but not a crime. Bullying that involves violence should be against the law because that is causing a physical harm to the person.  I just can't bring myself to say things like shouting at someone or berating someone should be a crime.  Words are not violence, violence is.  I know full well that if I went outside in certain places and said something vile, people would physically attack me.  I have the right to be berbally vile, they don't have the right to hurt me physically for it.

I believe you examples are also free speech. It is considered slander, but they have the right to mock me, lie about me, or threaten me. I would still fight for their right to smear me.  If they don't have that right, then I don't have that right.  That is the simplistic way of saying what I think. The first amendment is necessary, and we should allow trolls to be trolls and assholes to be assholes, the line should be drawn at actions that cause physical harm to a person or any of their belongings. 

Rape, stealing, murder, and assault are rightly considered crimes because they cause physical harm to someone or their possessions. I think there is no real reason to throw words(no matter how disgusting) on that list.

All that I know, there was no god for me - Fear Factory - Resurrection
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Beyond Saving wrote: There

Beyond Saving wrote:

 There is a difference between a threat and a warning. If I said to you "you better not have sex with Kevin's girlfriend because he will kill you" you would never be able to win a lawsuit against me unless you could somehow prove that Kevin had sent me to tell you that. The religious person who says "if you don't believe in god you will go to hell" isn't issuing a personal threat. They are warning that god is going to hurt you. Now if a religious person says "if you don't believe in god I am going to kill you" now you have a threat. Although for practical purposes it is really difficult to sue someone over a threat. Generally, it is only successful in cases where physical violence was imminent or continued harassment.  If we were in a casual conversion and I said "I'm going to kill you" at most you could get a restraining order unless some other violence was involved or evidence that I was actually intending on killing you.   

I agree with this too.  I like having the right to say something, even if someone thinks that I could be threatening.  I just have a hard time with the idea of crimininalizing peoples words and opinions.  Like with these Westboro freaks, there have been times that I have read articles and seen documentaries(one that was aired on MSNBC, be damned if I can remember the title, and Fall From Grace) where I have literally felt the hate rise up in me where I wanted to cause these people harm.  I have the right to say that, I have the right to wish them harm concerning their opinions, but I also have to take my emotions out of the situation and say that they can picket these funerals and cause a huge stink. Our constitution allows for many great things, and I believe that the right to voicing an opinion, whether good or bad, hurtful or helpful, is a good thing.  I would hate to start down a hill that ends with only certain opinions and words being ok.

God hates Phelps

God bless dead Westboro church members.

These statements are hateful, but thankfully, I have the right to express them. For me, god doesn't exist, for them, these slogans would be war cries.  I'm glad I live in a country that allows these sort of statements so that I can say things like

God doesn't exist

The holy spirit doesn't exist

and that the faithful have wasted their entire lives praying for nothing.

End rant about my opinion of first amendment.

 

All that I know, there was no god for me - Fear Factory - Resurrection
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Yeah

Brian37 wrote:

If an atheist says, "All religious should die" does that mean the atheist is actually going to go kill religious people? O

I have no choice but to protect these assholes.

Dont give me this politically correct crap that government should force everyone to only say nice things about you.

If these jackasses are not violating private property, if they are not violating noise laws, and if they are not violating the physical motion of others, then they have the right to be dicks.

If the atheists here pulling this "hate speech" crap want to shoot themselves in the foot, trying to silence these bigots will have the opposite affect.

Atheists are outnumbered in this country. How many times have we said "religion is dangerous"? Do you want the believing majority, who constitute our law makers and law enforcement deciding for you what you can or cannot say?

The only thing either side can agree on is that no matter what we say or how offensive something someone might say to us or how hurtful it may be, the only laws any civil person can agree on is not physically harming someone, and not advocating harm to someone.

Otherwise if any atheist wants politically correct "hate speech laws" this very website could and would be silenced because some Christian called it "hate speech".

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone started civilization" Freud.

I think these bigots are sick in what they do. But as I said, if they are not trespassing, if they are not violating noise laws, if they are not impeding the motions of others, and they are not getting violent with others, then they have every right to do so. Without giving them that protection, I could potentially lose my right to bitch about them.

It is short term thinking to try to force people to only say nice things about you. The long term damage in trying to set up taboos is that the government you live under may not agree with what you say. Political landscapes change and social norms change and lawmakers change and those in power may not agree with what you say.

I warn the well intended atheists here who want humanity to get along, it is not your intent, but your tactic I object to. You don't silence others via government, you use the same open market of free speech. You use the same right to bitch that they do. You don't legislate morality and you don't demand people like each other. The only think you can do is say to anyone is don't physically harm others.

And if the lawyers for these bigots are doing their job, they will and should win. I would suggest the well intended watch "The People vs Larry Flint" before we suggest government enforce blasphemy laws, which is the same ilk as "hate speech".

If I myself want the right to say "The Pope is a penis wearing asshat who's policies give people disease because he advocates no use of condoms" You cannot tell me there would not be Catholics that would demand a law demanding I cant say that.

Ireland has recently had buyers remorse after they tried blasphemy laws, and some very smart ATHEISTS posted "blasphemy" from famous historical figures. Now that country is regretting its taboo laws.

I myself do not want to be told who the fuck I have to like and what I can or cannot say about them. I will obey common law in that I cant physically harm them.

This court if it is doing it's job will protect them as they should.

 

Free speech is more important than getting all wound up over something like this but I believe the divisive ideas being peddled by these nuts would be banned if they were not coming from a church. Why are churches exempt?

Doing this stuff - holding up these signs at some kid's funeral. It just show the profound lack of respect fundamentalist christians and muslims have for human life.

Anyway. I have to vent somewhere.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

If an atheist says, "All religious should die" does that mean the atheist is actually going to go kill religious people? O

I have no choice but to protect these assholes.

Dont give me this politically correct crap that government should force everyone to only say nice things about you.

If these jackasses are not violating private property, if they are not violating noise laws, and if they are not violating the physical motion of others, then they have the right to be dicks.

If the atheists here pulling this "hate speech" crap want to shoot themselves in the foot, trying to silence these bigots will have the opposite affect.

Atheists are outnumbered in this country. How many times have we said "religion is dangerous"? Do you want the believing majority, who constitute our law makers and law enforcement deciding for you what you can or cannot say?

The only thing either side can agree on is that no matter what we say or how offensive something someone might say to us or how hurtful it may be, the only laws any civil person can agree on is not physically harming someone, and not advocating harm to someone.

Otherwise if any atheist wants politically correct "hate speech laws" this very website could and would be silenced because some Christian called it "hate speech".

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone started civilization" Freud.

I think these bigots are sick in what they do. But as I said, if they are not trespassing, if they are not violating noise laws, if they are not impeding the motions of others, and they are not getting violent with others, then they have every right to do so. Without giving them that protection, I could potentially lose my right to bitch about them.

It is short term thinking to try to force people to only say nice things about you. The long term damage in trying to set up taboos is that the government you live under may not agree with what you say. Political landscapes change and social norms change and lawmakers change and those in power may not agree with what you say.

I warn the well intended atheists here who want humanity to get along, it is not your intent, but your tactic I object to. You don't silence others via government, you use the same open market of free speech. You use the same right to bitch that they do. You don't legislate morality and you don't demand people like each other. The only think you can do is say to anyone is don't physically harm others.

And if the lawyers for these bigots are doing their job, they will and should win. I would suggest the well intended watch "The People vs Larry Flint" before we suggest government enforce blasphemy laws, which is the same ilk as "hate speech".

If I myself want the right to say "The Pope is a penis wearing asshat who's policies give people disease because he advocates no use of condoms" You cannot tell me there would not be Catholics that would demand a law demanding I cant say that.

Ireland has recently had buyers remorse after they tried blasphemy laws, and some very smart ATHEISTS posted "blasphemy" from famous historical figures. Now that country is regretting its taboo laws.

I myself do not want to be told who the fuck I have to like and what I can or cannot say about them. I will obey common law in that I cant physically harm them.

This court if it is doing it's job will protect them as they should.

 

Free speech is more important than getting all wound up over something like this but I believe the divisive ideas being peddled by these nuts would be banned if they were not coming from a church. Why are churches exempt?

Doing this stuff - holding up these signs at some kid's funeral. It just show the profound lack of respect fundamentalist christians and muslims have for human life.

Anyway. I have to vent somewhere.

 

 

And what makes you think I advocate any taboo law. Just because it is a popular motif law makers use to get elected and or popular law people want, doesn't mean it is practical to a healthy open market of ideas long term.

So when Christopher Hitchens called Jerry Falwell a toad on national tv upon his death, are you suggesting Hitchens get fined and or arrested?

No one said you had to like these morons. No sane person is saying they are showing respect. I am saying by banning them doing that would have a negative long term affect on all citizens. Eventually the government may get to something you might want to say or do and ban it because they find it lacking respect. Do you think some Christians might say this website shows a lack of respect for religion?

Allowing others to say even cruel things about you, without harming them is what makes society civil. You cant force people to like you. You can only agree not to physically harm each other.

As long as these bigoted morons are obeying all property laws, noise laws, and are not physically violent, they have that right.

If you want laws banning them from doing that, you are potentially handing a loaded gun to a majority government who does not share the same label you do.

 

I you want to beat these morons, you use the same market of speech and same laws they live under and use your own voice and ridicule them and marginalize them so that no one will take them seriously. But if you want your own right to bitch, the only way to protect that is to even protect speech you find offensive. DONT shoot yourself in the foot with your good intent.

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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I broadly agree with you Brian

 

 

I just think god-people cross the line. Our disrespecting unproven religion is not the same thing as de-humanising other people with ad hom labels like 'sinner' and with stating openly or even believing in one's secret heart that other human beings deserve to be tortured terribly, forever. Christians and muslims are not normal and I believe the ideas they preach are hate crimes and should carry gaol time. 

I imagine most people here will not agree with me but I think that's because they haven't thought about it in the right way. Perhaps they have heard the christian or muslim message so often they are immune to the meaning of it. So let's change the subject slightly to reinvigorate our perspectives:

 

"I believe all people from Singapore are born evil. They are disgusting and immoral by default. They deserve to be tortured and they deserve to die. Their babies deserve to die. I will preach this message publically, in schools and the press. Anyone who disagrees with me also deserves be tortured and deserves to die. When their deserved punishment comes I will not intervene to help them."

 

How does the core of the christian doctrine sound now.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:I

Atheistextremist wrote:

I imagine most people here will not agree with me but I think that's because they haven't thought about it in the right way.

lol, I love that line. You should make it into your sig.

 

Atheistextremist wrote:

Perhaps they have heard the christian or muslim message so often they are immune to the meaning of it. So let's change the subject slightly to reinvigorate our perspectives:

 

"I believe all people from Singapore are born evil. They are disgusting and immoral by default. They deserve to be tortured and they deserve to die. Their babies deserve to die. I will preach this message publically, in schools and the press. Anyone who disagrees with me also deserves be tortured and deserves to die. When their deserved punishment comes I will not intervene to help them."

 

How does the core of the christian doctrine sound now.

As despicable as ever but I would still be against the government prohibiting you from saying it. I say Osama Bin Laden deserves to be tortured and suffer a slow painful death and I don't want the government to prohibit me from saying it. And I certainly don't care what people have to say about people in Singapore. I would even support your right to say the I deserve to be tortured and die. Again, there is a difference between saying "you are evil and deserve to be tortured and I hope you die" and "I am going to torture and kill you".  The former ought to be protected the latter shouldn't.

 

There was another incident recently where a member of the Black Panther Party said,

Shabazz wrote:

I hate white people – all of them! Every last iota of a cracker, I hate 'em," Shabazz shouts into a megaphone on a crowded sidewalk. "Through South Street with white, dirty, cracker whore [expletive] on our arms. And we call ourselves black men with African garb on.What the hell is wrong with you, black man? You [inaudible] with a white girl on your damn arm! You want freedom? You're gonna have to kill some crackers! You're gonna have to kill some of their babies! 

While this treads right on the line of inciting violence and Shabazz might have some liability if someone in his audience actually killed someone I don't think he should be thrown in jail simply based on what he said. Now he should have been thrown in jail and left to rot when he showed up at a polling place in a uniform with a club. What the Westboro church did was despicable in its own right but not as openly violent as Shabazz. But if we stop them from saying it, does that mean they aren't thinking it? Or whispering it in private? 

At least I know when Shabazz is around I should keep a hand on my .40 Think of it as a rattle snake. They give you plenty of warning that they are there and they are crazy. Compared to the Black Mamba or the Australian Brown snakes which are more aggressive and give little, if any warning. I much prefer the rattler which will usually warn me exactly where the danger is. You wouldn't cut the rattle off of a rattle snake because the bite could still kill you.

I'd rather know hear in public what these groups are thinking and then put their more moderate members in a position of having to choose between belonging to the group or being recognized as a crazy radical. It is much harder to belong to the Westboro church or the Black Panthers if everyone knows how crazy they are than if it was all kept quiet.

 

 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Beyond Saving wrote: There

Beyond Saving wrote:

 There is a difference between a threat and a warning. If I said to you "you better not have sex with Kevin's girlfriend because he will kill you" you would never be able to win a lawsuit against me unless you could somehow prove that Kevin had sent me to tell you that. The religious person who says "if you don't believe in god you will go to hell" isn't issuing a personal threat. They are warning that god is going to hurt you. Now if a religious person says "if you don't believe in god I am going to kill you" now you have a threat. Although for practical purposes it is really difficult to sue someone over a threat. Generally, it is only successful in cases where physical violence was imminent or continued harassment.  If we were in a casual conversion and I said "I'm going to kill you" at most you could get a restraining order unless some other violence was involved or evidence that I was actually intending on killing you.   

What religious groups do is similar to what drug gangs do to keep their members from leaving. If someone considers leaving a gang to try to have a normal life, a gang member will say something like "you and your family can only be safe if stay under the protection of our gang", harm will come from some mysterious entity. It's really a threat, but they cleverly present it as a warning to avoid potential legal problems. Religious groups can conveniently use 'god, devils and hell' to avoid making it technically a threat.

Even some opinions can be illegal. For example going around saying "I think someone needs to kill the president" would probably get you a visit from the secret service.

What Phelps is doing in saying "gays are responsible for dead soldiers" is essentially defamation. It's similar to the lynch mobs where someone would say "Negros are raping white women", then a mob would find a black dude to hang. I know technically you are right, the law would rule he is expressing his opinion and protect it. But some kooks would see it as fact.

Perhaps the courts should force him to qualify his speech with 'in my opinion'. There was a problem with investment advisors making statements like "IBM stock will double in 1 year". They were sued by investors for presenting this as fact and not their opinion. So now we have all these disclaimers about advise being opinions and not fact.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Even Ozzy is chiming in
OZZY OSBOURNE 'Disgusted' By WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH's Use Of 'Crazy Train' - Oct. 7, 2010
"I am sickened and disgusted by the use of 'Crazy Train' to promote messages of hate and evil by a 'church,'" singer Ozzy Osbourne said in response to news that Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church used lyrics from his song at events surrounding Tuesday's (October 6) Snyder v. Phelps Supreme Court hearing. An attorney — a daughter of the church’s founder, along with her sister — paraphrased lyrics from Osbourne's "Crazy Train" at a post-Supreme Court hearing press conference in Washington D.C.
 
The church is described by the Wall Street Journal as a "tiny Kansas church… [that] … preaches that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for American's tolerance of homosexuality and abortion." As Examiner.com noted of the church, "their flamboyant demonstrations at the funerals of non-gay service members, using the events to highlight their belief that military deaths overseas are justified punishment for U-S tolerance of homosexuality. ('You're Going to Hell,' 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' and 'God Hates You' are popular Westboro slogans.)."

In a June appearance on the nationally syndicated radio show "Rockline", Ozzy blasted the Westboro Baptist Church's protest of Ronnie James Dio's funeral. "I thought it was in such bad taste that those people had those banners about Ronnie James Dio. That's disgusting. They say that we're the anti-christ. Well, what makes them any better?"

 

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Meh

 

Yeah I see what everybody means about free speech. We have laws here against inciting hatred against another group of people. It's meant to stamp out racism but it applies to everyone, I'd have thought.

It's not so much saying stuff like this but teaching it - to minors. And forcing it on them using threats. What the fuck is that about?

If I was George Soros or something I'd be tempted to test the laws in the supreme court just to try and force a precedent.

 

 

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Quote:Yeah I see what

Quote:
Yeah I see what everybody means about free speech. We have laws here against inciting hatred against another group of people. It's meant to stamp out racism but it applies to everyone, I'd have thought.

Good intent is a cluster fuck long term.

It is nice that people want society to get along. But as individuals we, they, everyone, is different in their likes and dislikes and whom they like.  AND WE all bitch.

As I said, as much as this has good intent the downside is that the powers that be might get to some bitching you want to do and because of these well intended laws, silence you.

The laws that make society equal, are not of morality, but of common ground. The only common ground one has with people one might hate, is not wanting physical harm to come to oneself.

 

 

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Quote:What Phelps is doing

Quote:
What Phelps is doing in saying "gays are responsible for dead soldiers" is essentially defamation.

Ok, and by that standard I could sue his ilk kind for equating atheists with Hitler. However, I am a big boy, I don't need you, or anyone protecting me from such silly inane remarks. Maybe gays should treat him as the bat shit insane dinosaur he is.

Here is the problem, he is not addressing an individual, anymore than atheists could or should be sued by Priest for calling Catholic Priests molesters.

You cant say, "I get to determine what people get to say, but they cant silence me".  That is not how good common law works.

 If you don't want religion having taboo status, then you cant expect taboo status yourself. Otherwise EVERYONE in that society is at risk of their government being turned into thought police. And long term that taboo attitude can and will get to something you want to bitch about, then what do you do?

THINK LONG TERM, not bullshit utopia short term. Getting along is fine, but your tactic in playing thought police through government force is DANGEROUS.

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Brian37 wrote:Ok, and by

Brian37 wrote:

Ok, and by that standard I could sue his ilk kind for equating atheists with Hitler. However, I am a big boy, I don't need you, or anyone protecting me from such silly inane remarks. Maybe gays should treat him as the bat shit insane dinosaur he is.

You don't think this is comparable to shouting fire in crowded theater? I think what the courts have to judge is whether there is an intent to deceive or is this person expressing an opinion. Phelps is probably hoping someone will perform a violent act against gays(he's not brave enough to do it himself).

Brian37 wrote:

Here is the problem, he is not addressing an individual, anymore than atheists could or should be sued by Priest for calling Catholic Priests molesters.

Depends on if it is true or not. I think if we continually claimed Mormon elders molested children when there were no cases of this, we could be sued(there actually are cases though). If someone wrote all over the Internet members of the RRS had sexually harassed co-workers making it difficult to find a new job, why couldn't you sue them?

Brian37 wrote:

You cant say, "I get to determine what people get to say, but they cant silence me".  That is not how good common law works.

I think the law needs to change so that you have to put a disclaimer on all speech that is opinion but may be misunderstood as fact.

Brian37 wrote:

 If you don't want religion having taboo status, then you cant expect taboo status yourself. Otherwise EVERYONE in that society is at risk of their government being turned into thought police. And long term that taboo attitude can and will get to something you want to bitch about, then what do you do?

THINK LONG TERM, not bullshit utopia short term. Getting along is fine, but your tactic in playing thought police through government force is DANGEROUS.

It is not just thought what Phelps is doing, he is writing and screaming out defamations.

I understand the point. But what I object to is treating religion any different than any other business. If I stay in a hotel and it has bedbugs, I should be able to go on the Internet and post this report. If I send my kid to Catholic school and the priest tries to molest them, this should be posted as well.

The problem is democracy depends on an informed public. Also every economic purchase is based on information. You can't have people knowingly spreading factual lies when people depend on accurate information to make decisions. But we give religion an exemption.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Quote:It is not just thought

Quote:
It is not just thought what Phelps is doing, he is writing and screaming out defamations.

How? Saying hurtful mean things is not a crime.

Do you want the Falwell Family to have the ability to sue or have arrested Hitchens for what he said about Jerry Falwell upon his death?

No one is asking you to like what Phelps says, or not to respond to what he says or does. He is NOT defaming anyone because no sane person in their right mind thinks the soldiers are responsible. Just because it hurts the soldiers family's feelings, doesn't mean Phelps is breaking the law.

Your mentality will lead to the Christian majority deciding what "defamation" is. Are you willing to give up your right to offend people or hurt their feelings and hand those rights over to a majority that doesn't like you?

I'd rather these morons spew their bullshit so I can counter their bullshit with my own voice. I don't want my government playing thought police.

People vs Larry Flint, watch it.

 

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Brian37 wrote:Quote:It is

Brian37 wrote:

Quote:
It is not just thought what Phelps is doing, he is writing and screaming out defamations.

How? Saying hurtful mean things is not a crime.

Do you want the Falwell Family to have the ability to sue or have arrested Hitchens for what he said about Jerry Falwell upon his death?

No one is asking you to like what Phelps says, or not to respond to what he says or does. He is NOT defaming anyone because no sane person in their right mind thinks the soldiers are responsible. Just because it hurts the soldiers family's feelings, doesn't mean Phelps is breaking the law.

Your mentality will lead to the Christian majority deciding what "defamation" is. Are you willing to give up your right to offend people or hurt their feelings and hand those rights over to a majority that doesn't like you?

I'd rather these morons spew their bullshit so I can counter their bullshit with my own voice. I don't want my government playing thought police.

People vs Larry Flint, watch it.

 

I admit it. Once in a while I'd like to see Phelps and his church silenced before some serial gay basher thinks it would be cool to do what Fred says.

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Brian37 wrote:How? Saying

Brian37 wrote:

How? Saying hurtful mean things is not a crime.

He has said that gays are responsible for soldiers deaths.

Brian37 wrote:

Do you want the Falwell Family to have the ability to sue or have arrested Hitchens for what he said about Jerry Falwell upon his death?

I actually think he should have been forced to issue a diclaimor when he accused Falwell of being responsible for deaths in the Middle East. Same as Mr. Phelps.

Brian37 wrote:

Your mentality will lead to the Christian majority deciding what "defamation" is. Are you willing to give up your right to offend people or hurt their feelings and hand those rights over to a majority that doesn't like you?

After Peal Harbor, there was rumors that Japanesse-American spies were responsible and that they were loyal to the emporerer. So in a time of war, people would attack them and support their internment. The people that started and spread these rumors should have been stopped.

If the USA gets hit with WMDs, we may well see the same thing again unless there are laws against spreading false rumors.

If McDonalds was stating that Burger King's food was killing it's customers, should this be allowed? Why does religion get a free pass?

If a CEO of a daycare chain was covering up widespread molestation of by his employees, he'd go to jail. But the Pope is hailed by the politicians as a great moral leader. When do we stop giving religion special respect it does not deserve?

Brian37 wrote:

I'd rather these morons spew their bullshit so I can counter their bullshit with my own voice. I don't want my government playing thought police.

People vs Larry Flint, watch it.

Did Larry Flint accuse people of crimes they did not commit?

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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What crime has Phelps

What crime has Phelps committed? What crime has Phelps accused gays of?

All he says is "gays are going to burn in hell"

I have called religion dangerous and I have called the Pope a dictator.

Stop being a victim. NO ONE IS SPECIAL because of a label. Being hurt in life happens to EVERYONE. If someone gets murdered for money how would they be any less dead if they were murdered because of a jealous lover, or any less dead because they were Jewish, or Muslim, or atheist. DEAD IS DEAD.

You are basically saying that someone robbed and murdered is less of a human because they weren't murdered because they were gay.

And as far as "I want him stopped before someone decides to act on what he says"

OUR LAWS however are reactionary not based on presumption of guilt. The reason it has to be that way is because you don't want OUR government assuming that YOU as an atheist are going to commit acts of violence on believers merely because you hate what they claim and express that emotion. So the only time the government can or should step in, is when an act is commited. Anything before that is a presumption of guilt.

The only thing Phelps is guilty of is being a bigoted nutcase. Until he breaks the law, he has the same rights as you and I. Any presumption of guilt on government's part opens the door for YOU as well to get fucked over.

This is not about labels, this is about what type of government we live under.

 

 

 

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 In general I am going to

 

In general I am going to agree with Brian on this one. Sure, it is OK to hate the guy. But to start passing laws against him is not OK. Once you start passing laws about stuff, what are the consequences?

 

Take some of the laws we already have like that as case examples. Many legal scholars feel that Meagan's law is a bad piece of legislation. Sure, everyone supports the idea of keeping children safe but it creates a category of one thing where you do not ever stop “paying your debt to society” just because your jail sentence is done. Now that we have established that we can do that with one type of crime, can we apply the same principal to other crimes if we decide that they are horrible enough.

 

Add to that that regardless of how they felt, no legislator could ever vote in any way other than the default on something like that. After all, the next time they are up for reelection, any challenger would be able to make the claim that they voted against the damn thing.

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So, free-speechers

 

 

Is it ok to teach kids that minority groups deserve to die? Any minority groups. Let's select a group that's emotionally charged. Black folks. Should it be legal to tell kids black people are born evil and deserve to die?

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

Is it ok to teach kids that minority groups deserve to die? Any minority groups. Let's select a group that's emotionally charged. Black folks. Should it be legal to tell kids black people are born evil and deserve to die?

 

You're confusing "moral" with "right" Just because a message is immoral, doesn't mean that they can't say it.

 

Here's a goood youtube video by TheAmazingAtheist about freedom of speech using the example of the 9/11 mosque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Hi Captain

 

Thanks for this - yeah look, I think I am making the distinction well enough but it's just an issue I can't rationalise in my head. I can't convince myself demonising other people, and indoctrinating kids into a hate-based belief system is not a criminal act.

I could say so-and-so is a bastard, so-and-so is a twit, I could say I hate the Australian opposition leader's insistence on wearing budgie smugglers at the beach, but I couldn't say he was evil and deserved torture.

Surely there has to be a line drawn? No doubt in Europe in WW2 a lot of people though the anti-semitism going on was some sort of phase that meant nothing in reality. But that vilification did have a meaning.

Over time it created an atmosphere in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Spain where racial vilification was normalised.

I think vilification of unbelievers is normalised. I'm sure on fictional judgment day, the christians will sip their vintage krug and watch the demon-possessed herded into the fire.

You can hear it in their comments on this site: "Hell is not a matter for us to judge", "That is between you and god", "You have made your choices", "We cannot intervene".

What I am saying is that vilification is an active, not a passive force for harm. Maybe I'm being too emotional about it. 

Should free speech be the substrate on which a society is built. Yeah, it should. But it's not black and white and there are some areas that are troubling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brian and Answers

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

In general I am going to agree with Brian on this one. Sure, it is OK to hate the guy. But to start passing laws against him is not OK. Once you start passing laws about stuff, what are the consequences?

 

Look, no one is making a law or talking about making one.  No one.  The argument is about an award in a CIVIL suit.   Yeah, judicial precedence may or may not be set.  But that is not a law.  And this is not about a criminal case.

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Quote:You don't think this

Quote:
You don't think this is comparable to shouting fire in crowded theater? I think what the courts have to judge is whether there is an intent to deceive or is this person expressing an opinion. Phelps is probably hoping someone will perform a violent act against gays(he's not brave enough to do it himself).

This attitude is a preemptive presumption of guilt. Anytime anyone says hateful things about others, and we as a collective society will suffer by turning government into thought police.

And to CJ,

Lawsuits certainly are a different issue, but even in these cases it gives me a lip twitch when people suggest even these things.

Once you start screwing with people's expression of emotion, even the emotions we don't like, what people fail to realize is that the government, or the lawsuit, could be aimed at you, and what you want to say and express.

It has to be absolutely clear that someone is advocating emediate danger to someone else. It cannot simply be, " I wish you weren't alive" or "you are going to burn in hell" or "atheists are destroying America."

I think it is a very dangerous game for society to play "I get to decide whose feelings can't be hurt". What if you are not in the position of lawmaker, or police, or even civil court judge? What if the majority around you is offended merely by your existence? Do you really want to hand that kind of power over to people who don't like you?

What can be acted on are CLEAR THREATS,

FOR EXAMPLE ONLY:

"iI want you to kill my wife"

Or

"I want you to beat up my neighbor"

Or

"Go beat up that gay man"

Or

"Go beat up that atheist"

Those clearly advocate violence beyond expressing mere emotion. Since I want my right to call the Pope a dictator, I cant take away someone else's right to equate me to Hitler, no matter how much it offends the other.

 

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Quote:But it's not black and

Quote:
But it's not black and white and there are some areas that are troubling.

Free speech IS NOT black and white, certainly. You cant sell beer to 5 year olds. You cant sell adult porn to 5 year olds, or advertise those things in public schools.

But what those above are are not bans on beer or porn, anymore than speed limits are a ban on cars.

Speech CAN be regulated, which is not a violation of free speech. IT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT, time, place and context.

In the CONTEXT of Phelps, he has not slurred an individual by protesting the funerals. He is blaming OUR entire country, through it's entire military, for gays, which is stupid, and absurd, but merely his opinion, no matter how hateful he is being.

When the Pope visits America, I am most certainly sure even some liberal believers might want to protest his inane policies and cover ups. But he also has fans who would take your protests as being as bigoted and hateful as you call Phelps.

It is not a matter of them being right, it is a matter of what kind of laws our entire society live under. It is a dangerous game to ban speech, you can only regulate it.

The only common regulation that any side can agree on is not to harm others, but since all sides like to bitch, we have to allow those who dont like us, bitch. Having your feelings hurt, or hurting others feelings IS NOT A CRIME, What is a crime is physically harming others.

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There is also the issue of

There is also the issue of speech that is designed to molest people in a public place. People should have a right to enjoy public places. This is why we don't allow nudity in public or loud music in park or let people honk their horns in traffic. So people are in place they are legally allowed to be are being molested. I think this may be why the court rules his 'speech' is illegal. He made his point. Everyone knows what he wants to say. Any further speech is designed to molest and not to express an opinion. I think it could also be used to stop anti-abortion protesters from bothering workers and patients.

Could an atheist stand outside a church with signs saying 'religion is poison' or 'indoctrination is child abuse'? I would say only briefly, let people make their point. If they scream and yell and do it on a continuous basis, they need to be stopped. The court must decide between speech to express and opinion and speech to harass and intimidate people.

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EXC wrote:There is also the

EXC wrote:

There is also the issue of speech that is designed to molest people in a public place. People should have a right to enjoy public places. This is why we don't allow nudity in public or loud music in park or let people honk their horns in traffic. So people are in place they are legally allowed to be are being molested. I think this may be why the court rules his 'speech' is illegal. He made his point. Everyone knows what he wants to say. Any further speech is designed to molest and not to express an opinion. I think it could also be used to stop anti-abortion protesters from bothering workers and patients.

Could an atheist stand outside a church with signs saying 'religion is poison' or 'indoctrination is child abuse'? I would say only briefly, let people make their point. If they scream and yell and do it on a continuous basis, they need to be stopped. The court must decide between speech to express and opinion and speech to harass and intimidate people.

Since this issue has come up I decided to read the Appellate Court's decision (can't help it I'm a court nerd). The court that overturned the lawsuit took that into account. Phelps did notify to police of his protest and stuck to the distance restrictions requested by the local police. In fact if you read the appellate decision Snyder admits that he wasn't even aware of the protest happening until AFTER he got home from the funeral and turned on his tv. So for all purposes, the protest might as well have been held in another state. The court wrote in its opinion

Quote:

It was undisputed at trial that Defendants complied with local ordinances and police directions with respect to being a certain distance from the church. Furthermore, it was established at trial that Snyder did not actually see the signs until he saw a television program later that day with footage of the Phelps family at his son’s funeral.

 

Which is against the impression I received from media stories that make it sound like the protesters were standing in the middle of the cemetery. Just goes to show, you can't believe everything you hear from journalists. The whole decision is available at http://www.citmedialaw.org/sites/citmedialaw.org/files/2009-09-24-Snyder%20v.%20Phelps%20Appellate%20Decision.pdf 

 

I find the concurring judges opinion particularly interesting because he argues that the court doesn't even need to consider the First Amendment issue because the case could be overturned on the basis that no state law was broken by Phelps. He makes a convincing argument based on several references to precedent in state law but I am not familiar with Maryland law in this area at all so maybe a convincing counter argument could be made.   

 

It is quite clear the Phelps went out of his way to make sure he was complying with all state laws concerning the time and location of the protest. So the central question is can you sue someone holding a legal protest because you are offended by the message on the signs? To that, I say NO! 

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Chuckle

Beyond Saving wrote:


 

It is quite clear the Phelps went out of his way to make sure he was complying with all state laws concerning the time and location of the protest. So the central question is can you sue someone holding a legal protest because you are offended by the message on the signs? To that, I say NO! 

 

If the protest was so obscure as to be in another state, p'raps this pindick should have held it privately in the Westboro church hall. I agree with what you guys are saying but some one should take Phelps aside and stick their boot up his arse.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 

 

It is quite clear the Phelps went out of his way to make sure he was complying with all state laws concerning the time and location of the protest. So the central question is can you sue someone holding a legal protest because you are offended by the message on the signs? To that, I say NO! 

 

If the protest was so obscure as to be in another state, p'raps this pindick should have held it privately in the Westboro church hall. I agree with what you guys are saying but some one should take Phelps aside and stick their boot up his arse.

Agreed, do you want to be the holder or the kicker?

I just usually go with my own taste. If I like something, and it happens to be against the law, well, then I might have a problem.- Hunter S. Thompson


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Mmmmm

Beyond Saving wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 

 

It is quite clear the Phelps went out of his way to make sure he was complying with all state laws concerning the time and location of the protest. So the central question is can you sue someone holding a legal protest because you are offended by the message on the signs? To that, I say NO! 

 

If the protest was so obscure as to be in another state, p'raps this pindick should have held it privately in the Westboro church hall. I agree with what you guys are saying but some one should take Phelps aside and stick their boot up his arse.

Agreed, do you want to be the holder or the kicker?

 

taking turns ought to do it.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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I don't think the S.C. can,

I don't think the S.C. can, or for that matter *should* attenuate the WBBC's right to free speech... the only thing I can see them perhaps doing, is acknowledging that the grieving famies also have a right to bury their children in peace (not sure what statute they could claim though).... and require that the protests be done out of earshot.... There becomes a point where it can be considered verbal assault.... But I think this is already happening...

This happens all the time with other protests.... I remember a group of free speech advocates being coraled, and moved by NYC police over the Don Imus incident....while the Imus haters were allowed to protest and march all over Rockerfeller center....

What I wouldn't mind seeing however.... and the precident was set recently in the case of the adorable little Adolf Hitler Campbell....is Child services taking the children of these loons away for a while so that they can evaluate the negative impact being raised by these sociopaths has on their kids... That might shut them the hell up... After all... They *do* use the word "Hate" on their own signs, and it is  reasonable to equate teaching a child to hate with emotional abuse...


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 

 

It is quite clear the Phelps went out of his way to make sure he was complying with all state laws concerning the time and location of the protest. So the central question is can you sue someone holding a legal protest because you are offended by the message on the signs? To that, I say NO! 

 

If the protest was so obscure as to be in another state, p'raps this pindick should have held it privately in the Westboro church hall. I agree with what you guys are saying but some one should take Phelps aside and stick their boot up his arse.

 

Right, then their fans would want to stick a boot up your arse, and then your fans would want to stick a boot up their arse, ect ect ect, see where this is going?

"The first person to hurl an insult instead of a stone started civilization" Freud.

That is the best humans can get, any attempt to ban speech creates resentment. Whereas, if we all agree not to harm each other, no matter what is said, no one of any position has to fear their neighbor, or government.

Having feelings of wanting to kick someone's ass is normal, doing it in reality is as it should be, illegal. Expressing hate of someone is normal. But so is wanting to live without fear of physical harm. So let em bitch, so you can bitch back. Lets just all agree that we won't physically harm others.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Observer
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How would you outlaw them?

How would you outlaw them? Would you arrest people who tried to worship a god (or gods) who believed in stuff like hell? What would you suggest the government do if they did choose to outlaw the freedom of worship?