Westboro Baptist Church Is Right

Last year I attracted a lot of hate mail by writing Soldier Funeral Protests and Why I Reluctantly Side With Westboro Baptist Church.

Well, Clare County, Michigan deputies Calvin Woodcock and Lawrence Kahsin get the ass-hat award for proving me 100% right.

Michigan rushed to pass an unconstitutional “funeral disruption” statute in order to keep Westboro Baptist Church out of business in the rust belt. Then, during the funeral of Corporal Todd Motley, two petty little nazis decided to apply the law to suppress political speech that they didn’t like

They didn’t arrest anyone from Westboro. They arrested Lewis and Jean Lowden, actual mourners at the funeral. The Lowdens were friends of the Motley family. Jean Lowden had been one of his high school teachers. They were invited to the funeral.

But, they had a home-made sign on their van that criticized former dipshit-in-chief, George W. Bush.

No one complained about the sign. These were family friends, not loudmouthed bigots with bullhorns. Mrs. Lowden had taught Corporal Motley in high school, while Mr. Motley took him fishing as a child. In fact, it seems that the only people offended at all were Clare County deputies Calvin Woodcock and Lawrence Kahsin, who disrupted the procession by pulling the Lowdens over and jailing them for a day. (source)

Now do the morons who supported the anti-Westboro laws see where the fuck I was coming from? Probably not.

12 Responses to Westboro Baptist Church Is Right

  1. John Squire says:

    Well, it’s not like anti-Westboro laws are the only reason jackbooted thugs can come up with to suppress speech and conduct they don’t like.

  2. Well, of course. We all agree with that, I think.

    But, if you read the article, you’ll see that the Lowdens didn’t interrupt the funeral — the two ass-hat cops did.

  3. Atticus says:

    So some hick cops misapplied the law. So what? Cops trump up charges and abuse laws all the time. That makes the cops wrong, but it doesn’t make the laws wrong.

  4. Yes, but the law itself is wrong. Its bad enough when we have good laws abused by dirty cops. But, when we have dirty laws, the dirty cops have a field day.

  5. Clint says:

    Are graveyards public property? I wouldn’t think so. Why are trespassing laws not enough to keep this from happening?

  6. If they are standing on the graveyard, and the graveyard is private property, the trespassing laws are enough. But, the Westboro assholes then just stand at the entry to the graveyard, or wherever the line might be.

    I completely agree that Westboro must be fought at every single funeral they show up to. That’s why I joined the Patriot Guard.

    But, if some assholes from Kansas provoke assholes in the legislature to pass laws, that shouldn’t mean that either set of assholes get to control my constitutional rights.

  7. Terrie says:

    There’s also the angel wings that many counter protetors wear. They surround the Westboro people and the wings block them from view. Nicely poetic.

    But, yeah, the answer to bad speech is always more speech, not blocking speech.

  8. That is a beautiful gesture. I love it. I guess that I’m just not the “angel wings” kind of guy.

    But, I’d be willing to give someone a ride to a Westboro counter protest on the back of my motorcycle!

  9. blueollie says:

    Many laws with good intentions turn out to be bad laws.

  10. jfischer1975 says:

    Clearly the law recognizes the special emotional circumstances inherent in the death of a loved one. For example, there is no proof of damages required to sustain a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress when the claim arises from the mishandling of a relative’s dead body.

    For the sake of argument, how substantial must the government’s interest be to support a time/place/manner statute that moves protesters away from an ongoing funeral service?

  11. […] Speech The Legal Satyricon gives an example of a well intentioned law that backfired; one almost always goes wrong when one attempts to limit free […]

  12. Mekhong Kurt says:

    I’m going to open myself up to flaming, most likely, but I’ll try to present a view without either getting scorched or offending others.

    Yes, the cops were jerks in the first degree. As one who worked a brief while in law enforcement and a much longer while in security (interacting closely with police daily, most of whom were fine officers) makes that fact pain me all the more.

    Yet I have to wonder about the appropriateness of the protest — at a funeral. Even if every single person there agreed with the sentiment. My questioning of the appropriateness in no way justifies the policemen’s action — I hope they were disciplined. They could have waited at the edge of the property, at the very least, and not disrupted the service.

    Which brings me to a policeman’s right to his own views. Sure, he (and she) have that right. But that right doesn’t extend to enforcing their views and prejudices on others from behind a badge and beside a gun. Period.

    Did the Lowdens have the agreement of every single person there, in advance, to protest — especially that of the family and minister? If not, their protest was presumptuous. But the question of appropriate setting remains, agreement or no agreement.

    I have a whole lot of trouble with the war in Iraq myself, but were a friend or relative of mine to die in the line of duty there, I can’t imagine showing up at the funeral to protest. (Lucky for me, I’ve not had to confront that — yet, anyway.) I would be there to honor the individual as a friend or relative, and as a person who died in service to the country. And to provide any solace I might be able to render to other friends and family.

    Isn’t that what funerals are for???

    By the way, I would feel precisely the same had someone shown up *supporting* the war (someone besides the cops, I mean, who apparently do).

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