Friday, September 3, 2010
Yesterday, a federal judge overturned Nebraska’s ban on flag burning and mutilation, once again clearing the path for the disgusting Westboro Baptist Church to protest military funerals because of their belief that soldier deaths are a punishment from God for our nation’s tolerance of homosexuality. Prepare your pickets signs, kids!
The law was challenged by Megan Phelps-Roper, a member of the church, on the basis that it violated her right to free speech. U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf ruled the 1977 Nebraska law inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court decisions which rule flag desecration an essential part of the constitutional promise of free speech. Judge Kopf said that as long as Westboro Baptist Church members desecrate the flag in a peaceful manner and setting, the Nebraska law cannot be applied, officially reassuring assholes across the nation.
I fully respect the decision of the court on this one, because I love free speech as much as the next liberal blog writer. However, like a proud and decent American, I hate to see the troops disrespected. It is one thing to disrespect the flag. It is another thing entirely to taint the memory of what is already a depressing day in the lives of a deceased’s loved ones.
While Nebraska cannot prevent the Westboro community from desecrating the flag, I think Nebraska, and every other state for that matter, should have a part in making sure that a funeral is not desecrated. I fail to see how protesting a funeral is peaceful, especially when the protesters espouse messages of hate and revenge while carrying signs that say “Thank God for Maimed Soldiers”.
Yes, I realize they are not throwing rocks or carrying guns, but are they hostile, disgraceful and disruptive? I would say most definitely. Their activities are not in the spirit of peace, which I guess many people would say does not meant they are not peaceful and therefore my logic is flawed, but that’s enough for me, and 48 states and the District of Columbia.
In June, a brief was submitted to the Supreme Court in support of a father who sued anti-gay protestors who picketed his son’s funeral, signed by every state except Virginia and Maine. In the brief sponsored by the Kansas attorney general, the states assert that there is a compelling interest in protecting the sanctity of funerals. In the case proceedings, the presiding judge told jurors that there are limits to the First Amendment protection of free speech, including vulgar, offensive or shocking statements, and that the jurors must decide if the speech of the Westboro Baptist Church is so offensive to any reasonable person that is should not be afforded First Amendment protection.
Sure, I know we can’t stop bigots from espousing their opinions and poisoning the minds of half the nation, but why shouldn’t we have to allow them to do so in a place where their already objectionable antics are made more vile? We shouldn’t. The rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church, in my humble opinion, is the most offensive thing I have ever heard, in the most inappropriate and shocking setting. I think Fred Phelps and his followers have exhausted their free speech rights at this point.
Westboro Baptists, desecrate the flag all you want, but please, do it somewhere else. Preferably at least 500 meters from any funeral home and/or cemetery. If you cannot do that, well, I hope Lady Gaga starts protesting your funerals.
Fulfilling yet another promise, President Barack Obama has pulled out the last remaining combat troops from Iraq. Now Republicans are complaining that President Obama and the Democrats have not given enough credit to the accomplishments of George W. Bush. And they are absolutely right. So now, on behalf of all Democrats (if I may be so bold), give full credit for the Iraq War to George W. Bush and the Republicans.
I give them full credit for fabricating intelligence about doomsday weapons in order to lead us to war.
I give them full credit for creating a war without finishing the one we started originally, which stretched our military so thin that Osama Bin Laden was able to escape justice.
I give them full credit for creating a stronghold for Al-Qaeda and Iranian extremists in a country previously devoid of both these elements.
I give them full credit for Baghdad only having five hours of power a day despite being the capital of a country that sits on top of a massive amount of energy resources.
I give them full credit for spending over a trillion tax payer dollars.
Most of all, I give them full credit for the 4,403 dead American soldiers, 318 dead international coalition soldiers, and estimated 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.
So Lefty's calmed down a little bit over the summer, but rest assured because as of midnight September 2nd 2010, we are BACK and we are ready to grow. Last year Lefty's established itself as a progressive media force at Notre Dame and across Indiana. With more than 70,000 hits (most of those were accumulated in 3 months) we have proven the potential for this blog.
My name is Chris Rhodenbaugh and I'm the new Senior Editor of the blog. Returning Notre Dame students and past readers of the blog likely know me, but for those of you that don't, I am a senior Political Science major, and am minoring in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service at the University of Notre Dame (bio is on staff page).
I have experienced nothing in my life more exhilarating and rewarding than organizing people in the pursuit of social justice, this year I'm bringing that energy to Lefty's in full force.
Writing intelligently, spreading information and expressing opinions are essential to changing the priorities of the country we all love and that is why Lefty's Last Cry exists. This is a website owned by young people and driven by our ideas about politics and the future of Notre Dame, Indiana, and the United States. Join the team!!!
Henry Vasquez (112)
Chris Rhodenbaugh (37)
Eileen Lynch (26)
Gordon Stanton (25)
Andrea Watts (24)
Christian Myers (19)
Tim Ryan (15)
Kelly Smith (9)
Nick DeBoer (7)
Colfax Lodge (6)
Logan Souder (5)
Sarah Furman (5)
Colleen Lowry (5)
Rabi Abonour (4)
Thomas Wachtel (4)
Luke Horvath (3)
Caitlin Worm (3)
Sarah Jones (3)
Liz Furman (3)
Kevin Casimer (3)
Jackie Emmanuel (3)
Bristol Palin (2)
Eddie VanBogaert (2)
Mike Uehlein (2)
Sara Bega (1)
CRL 22 (1)
Chris Babcock (1)
Jess Mahon (1)
Hannah Greggs (1)