New law counters Westboro protests

New law counters Westboro protests

Congress took action where the Supreme Court didn’t to curb Westbooro Baptist Church’s followers from protesting the funerals of fallen troops and veterans.

President Obama signed into law Monday the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act that includes language aimed at protecting service members funerals. The church based in Kansas is best known for staging protests at service members funerals to protest the service of homosexuals in the military.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled the First Amendment protected Westboro’s right to protest the funerals. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that “as a nation we have chosen … to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

Sen. Olympia Snow, R-Maine, introduced legislation three months following the Court’s ruling that gives the government the right to further protect the funerals.  The act argues that ensuring fallen troops have respectful burials is important to maintaining a strong military and protecting national security.

The new law extends bans on picketing funeral services of troops and veterans from 150 feet to 300 feet, and prohibits protests from being conducted up to two hours before and after a funeral. Previously the ban was for an hour before and after.

Violations are punishable by a fine and up to a year in jail.

“The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground, and obviously we all defend our Constitution and the First Amendment and free speech,” Obama said at the White House ceremony Monday. “But we also believe that when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.”

The other half of the law dictates the medical care for the thousands of service members and families afflicted with illnesses from ingesting contaminated water at  Camp Lejeune, N.C. between 1957 and 1987. Read more here about the fight families have sustained for Congress to acknowledge the effect the water has had on up to one million troops and their family members.

– Bryant Jordan

Join the Conversation

I am completely in favor of the protections that this law extends.

However I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and it occurs to me that these people might be exercising their 1st Amendment rights to be complete wastes of potential.

Yes, what they are saying is complete and utter horse puckey. However it is their right as an American to be that piece of shit that we will all use as an example of what our children should not be when they grow up.

I think Congress is trying to do the right thing here, but wouldn’t it be easier to…somehow, I don’t know, erect privacy walls around soldiers’ funerals, or tents if the crowd is small enough? Something. I know, I know, that costs money, but I just think it’s a slippery slope when we start curbing the Bill of Rights, even when we have good intentions.

Besides, the Westboro Church can always sue, the Supreme Court could easily overturn this law.

That’s what the Patriot Guard Riders are for. To erect a wall of American flags around our fallen heroes and their families so they can bury their loved one in honored and dignified peace.
A Patriot Guard Rider

i am definitely concerned that the Supreme Court will just overturn this law the same way it has ruled before, and on top of that it will overturn the benefits for the families of Camp Lejeune. i don’t like the Westboro Church more than any other rational person, but i fear this will result in nothing.

There is a reasonable chance this law will be upheld. Speech is restricted all the time under what are called “time, place and manner” restrictions. As long as they are viewpoint-neutral, you can regulate a lot of conduct. It’s why cities can require permits for marches or force abortion protesters to stay hundreds of feet away from clinics.

The biggest problem is that the law is obviously meant to prohibit the Westboro crazies, but judges may wink and nod at that given the facial neutrality (I’m a lawyer btw).

You shouldn’t be worried about the benefits. A law like that would only be overturned if it was unconstitutional, and there is no constitutional problem with it. It’s well within the spending power, and doesn’t violate any prohibitions.

The law itself is largely irrelevant, it only doubles the restrictions already in place. However, as seen in recent weeks, when enough people also exercise their own right to free speech and don’t allow the Westboro protesters anywhere near the funeral by sheer numbers… A much better solution than relying on the Supreme court, or laughably, congress to do it for us.

The sad part of all things Westboro is that they have been taking action. Until recently, with the exception of the Patriot Guard, few people have taken action of their own to demonstrate that Westboro is wrong in their opinion of our troops. I hope that this trend is now ending and encourage everyone to show support with their body and actions rather than words or rhetoric.

Congress doing something good for once? Odd.

But considering how the Supreme Court (wrongly) overturned the Stolen Valor act, they could do the same here.

They are not being prevented from expressing their views — they are merely not being allowed to take over a forum someone else has created.

Supreme Court did the right thing in regards to the Stole Valor Act. You can’t just punish someone for lying about who they are just for the sake of pretending they were important. You can still go after people for fraud if they use they’re lies to gain something financially that’s a different ballpark and very easy to nail someone to the wall for ;)

It’s a shame we have to have stupid laws like this, because some people lack decency.

“Congress doing something good for once?” At least you didn’t say “right.” This is another government power grab for control over individual liberties…WBC is reprehensible in implying an individual Sailor, Soldier, Airman or Marine’s death is good. Doing it at the funeral is even lower. RINO Snowe is showing her progressive (totalitarian) tendencies in this legislation which is even lower than WBC due to it’s incidious nature…

Shaming these people used to be enough. Now some stupid politician feels a need to make a law doing what society was dealing with well enough on its own.

The 1st only allows for the peaceful assembly of people to address greivences against the govt — These funnerals are not the govt and this group is in no way peaceful (arrest and fine the heck out of all of them), freedom of speech was to protect the people and churches from being charged with sedition and hanged for speaking badly about the govt the way the brittish used to frequently do.

Thank you for your support & showing those ignorant, hateful “Christians” that what they are protesting against are the very people who give thier lives so that they can express thier views. God Bless you & our troops. 101st Screaming Eagles…“AIR ASSAULT!”

WRONG. The repeal of DADT was the result of a federal court decision, the appeal of which the conservative-dominated SCOTUS refused to hear. It wouldn’t matter who was running the country — DADT was at that point DOA — and imposed on you (with lots of love no doubt :-P), in part, by the conservatives on the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration and DoD simply decided that it was better to repeal DADT on a schedule of their own making — instead of one imposed by the courts.

I don’ see how the Westbrook Baptist Church can call themselves “Christians”. True Christians are taught to pray for the sinner, not to “throw” stones.

You cannot expect logic from someone who opposes critical thinking.

they began their BS while DATD was still in effect. They protested funerals because the US government AT LARGE “supported” homo rights; the military at the time didn’t support gay rights, anyway.


True Christians… Is that Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Universalist, or Catholic? It’s actually the same question of why all Muslims don’t denounce terrorists who kill in Gods name. It is because we let them do so.

While the power of prayer is a powerful thing, all too many people use it as an excuse to not actually get involved and show others how to live as a Christian might. Westboro needs role models, not anger and hate.

Humans are group creatures, when they see enough people living like what a christian should be like, they’ll then desire to be part of the group as well, it’s hardwired into the brain. It’s just that most people simply talk about it instead of doing it, and groups like Westboro are the result, it’s our shame, not theirs. We as a christian society have kicked them to the curb and failed to show them the love that they obviously crave.

which court decision and appeal? in cases that SCOTUS heard, DADT was upheld. regardless of the litigation status, DADT Repeal Act of 2010 was only possible with political maneuvering by the President, and Democratic majorities in both houses, which included arm twisting of the SecDef & the generals. The schedule of their making (when Obama signed the bill into law) coincidentally occurred right before they lost their political power.

My solution to Westbooro Baptist Church is do what the Russians did back them, Up root the entire family and send them off to a Gulag or somewhere where deep in Alaska where they will never, ever be heard from again. Make it very hard for them to leave Alaska.

Why do that to Alaska, send them to flint michigan instead.

You have to be a total moron to spew out this kind of garbage. Does your initial “J” stand for jackass?

I suggest you actually read the 1st Amendment. It most certainly does not “only allows for the peaceful assembly of people to address greivences against the govt”

“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.”

In the English language, the use of “or” and “and” (see, used it right there) is used to show additional, different, and separate objects.

Send them to a place where the only way out is via boat and airplane and in a place where no one can hear them speak their mind

Their free speech is not being curtailed. The main issue with us in America today is we fail to understand that my rights as a citizen end where my fellow citizen’s rights begin. At that point, my duties as a citizen begin as well. Until we accept this fundamental concept we will continue to experience problems. The SCOTUS can also easily determine that they’re not being prevented from protesting; only delayed until the family members of our fallen Heroes complete exercising their right to bury them in piece and in a dignified manner. If these people were true believers they’d follow king Solomon’s advice; “there’s a time for everything”.

EM Hernandez,
SSG, US Army (Ret)

Thank you so much for enlightning us! This is what we need more of in America — “time, place and manner” restrictions.

Caution my fellow American. A civilized society relies on rules and restrictions to establish boundaries for those who don’t respect them instinctively. If there are no rules, the police can arrest those preventing the protestors from getting close to the ceremonies.

Had a copy of it right in front of me — also noting that this was included specificaly because it used to be against the law to speak out against the govt (the King of engalnd) with imprisonment or death (kak sedition), the part about religion is based on the fact of governments mandating religion in the old world which caused numerous clashes like in ireland. Notes of the Va ratification convention are online and all these aspects were covered in detail, It was never written to include protest against race– religion-sex– and so on, they had no ideal this would ever occur, it was just to keep people safe from speaking out against the govt without reprisal. If you read too much into anything you can justify it to mean the opposite of what it really did which is what politicians and lawyers do all the time.

EM Hernandez is dead on. Freedom of speech and of assembly are not limitless. And religion? Same thing. And calling this group religious or a church insults the very idea of God. Col J, you sound a lot like them. I don’t care what someone who laid his life down for me and my family looks like, talks like or acts like. I don’t care if he was a teenaged gangbanger. I appreciate the sacrifice. Period.

I know where your coming from, but if we send them to flint which has been taken over by muslims they will most likely be stoned to death the way another group was last month for being christians and speaking out.

The SCOTUS can always limit the boundaries of Free Speech. You are not allowed to yell FIRE in a crowded theater for example. All rights have limits. When GW Bush was President, there were “free speech zones” set up blocks away from any of his events. No one was allowed to protest within eye or ear shot of the POTUS. The rights of fallen soldiers seem to trump the rights of the Westboro bunch in my humble opinion.

This picketing of funerals of anyone is an act of disrespect for the dead and their survivors. Vicious and vehement behavior along with trespassing is an anti American act particularly at a military funeral which is treasonous.

I may get a lot of negative knocks for this one but here it goes. I am a veteran and I despise what this “Church” is doing but the first amendment to the Constitution does protect this and all unpopular speech. If we start legislating what is ok speech and what is not we are on treacherous ground.

Well said. “J“s head is tucked up nice and tight. Typical right wing BS. They are sad indeed.

Obviously, you have not served in the Military; nor do you have a close friend or relative that has served. Typical right wing bologna! So called conservatives like you, only see “(totalitarian) tendencies” when it relates to progressive values. Never mind restricting people’s right to choose, marry whomever they love, vote, etc. Just as long as I can scream freely at everyone I feel like.

EM Hernandez,
SSG, US Army (Ret)

Wrong Col. J… Phelps is a registered republican, you moron.

Westboro Church and radical islamics? Same thing…

Agree absolutely. Interesting note, the GOP convention in Tampa is hiring over 2000 security personnel and the city is relocating the “protest zones” far away from the convention. So if the GOP (Greed Over Patriotism), can do that, surely the Westboro psychos can be loaded up on their fairy bus and taken somewhere else to protest…

Why do people feel the need to argue over who’s got the best imaginary friend? Mithra bless us all.

Not sure If this would really make sense, but in reality they still have their First Amendment rights. The only thing that was done was tweak some of the provisions that are already in place, like the time they can protest and the distance they have to be. I could be wrong but that’s the take I get from it.

Maybe they could charge admission to funeral and only allow truly respectful mourners to attend (at no charge) Then charge an exorbitant price ($25,000?) per ticket for anybody else. So if you don’t have a ticket and you are on “designated” funeral service premises, you go to jail for trespassing and disorderly conduct. Kind of like keeping the riffraff out. There are ways to get around the Bill of Rights without damaging the Bill of Rights. It’s a shame that these Westboro idiots do this. They truly need to get a life and shut the —- up!

They still have there 1st amendment they sill have there freedom of speech
. They are just being told where they can speak it. nothing wrong with that. seams to me they could just curtail a trespassing order to solve the problem.

There is no way Fred Felps is a Democrat. He is too right wing for that. Right up your lying alley. You right wingers must really think people are more stupid than you. WOW!

First amendment? Freedom of speech? Everyone has their opinion and personal application towards a description of both. Take for instance the US Supreme Courts ruling on burning, desecration, mutilation or other forms of destruction of the Flag of the United States of America; “THAT’S FREEDOM OF SPEECH COVERED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT” .

Excuse me; Did I miss the paragraph describing the difference between action and speech?

Whoa whoaaaa, lets back track a little, I’ve attended about 4 dozen Military Funerals standing Flag Lines shielding Families from the Ungodly Few who seek cheap publicity.
The Rev Phelps and his Family, some of which have denounced him, several years ago had a goal (This Is Really Abstract) of protesting at Military Funerals because the Countries those Soldiers were fighting in and protecting had No laws against Homosexuality.
This has nothing to do with New Laws of the Armed Forces or the Old Don’t ask / Don’t tell. This is about a small group of people, who even the most far Right or far Left Protester would view as Stupid. Remember how it goes “Stupid is as Stupid Does”.
Simple, don’t give them Cheap Publicity. Kind of sad, I suggest we give them plane tickets (one way) to Iraq or Afghanistan to protest to those governments directly, anyone can join them.

Wasn’t buring the flag and stomping on it a sign of disrespect not to many years ago? If disrespecting our fallen brothers and sisters in arms isn’t a crock of s*** then I don’t know what is!

Along with the Freedom of Speech comes responsibility. You have gone beyond that freedom when you impede on the rights of others. Funerals should be off limits, I don’t care who’s funeral it is. I don’t care if it’s the most evil human being that has ever lived, a funeral is not the place to protest.

OK..there is free speech and then their is inciting a riot, creating a public nuisance and creating a public disturbance. I can spout all the hatred I want, but if it interefers with a private/public ceremony then my speech becomes harrassment, incitement and provication. Besides, the fact that the Westboro Baptists are made up of a clan of inbread idiots. who certainly do not even remotely represent the Christ I know. If anything this grop has presented it’s self as “Anti Christ.“
P.S. Do not show up at any military funeral I attend, or any Marine or Veteran Marine attends. It might get ugly.

I too signed up for and activly fought for the right to free speech. That does not mean every american has the right to yell granade or fire in a packed house! Or am I wrong

I too attend military funerals and stand flag lines in honor of brothers and sisters that took the same oath to defend as I did and, if necessary, pay the ultimate price. I will continue to stand the flag lines, escort my brothers and sisters to their final resting place and do all in my power to legally shield the families from this disrespect> I am a proud member of the PGR as are 300,000 others just like me. We attend by invitation only and honor those who served.

This church group is a DISGRACE to what Christianity really is about. How can ANYONE thank God for dead soldiers? This is insane. I am glad that they took this action, but hope it is not used to curtail other free speech.

Personally , I feel that while Westburro Church has the right to excersize their first amendment rights, the Honor guard,providing the 21 gun salute, the members of the service member, and those attending the funeral also have the right to exersize their 2nd amendment rights, Gentlemen select your targets.

Same comments as in previous issues with Westboro. Stupid is as Stupid does (someone else said this too). The problem is they go to funerals of our fallen, but how many of us have gone to one of theirs to cheer for their fallen. I don’t think they would appreciate it if we went to one of ‘theirs’ funeral and cheered and made jest about what they didn’t do for the country. If they don’t like it then make the supreme court become american and reverse their decision on the matter. Our entire justice dept has turned anti-american is the last ten years. I’ve seen more american freedoms taken away, stupid laws put into affect, and judges making up their own rules as they go. Theres not much we can do anymore that isn’t violating some local Ord, state law for Federal law or rule. Too many law makers against the population.

Alaska would have been more better and we can turn Alaska into America’s version of a Russian Gulag. That way people like Phelps would have no way of getting out and would have no way of spreading their hate.

I agree. They have a right to their own opinions as everyone else in America. I do not like what they represent and how evil they make the Christian religion. There have been no trespassing, because they do it on public land. I wonder if those church members just each other in their congregation too as badly as they judge others. I despise what they are doing, but they do have 1st Amendment rights.

You know the members were praising God for sending the shooter to the Batman Movie. Why can’t a shooter be chosen to go to their church and blast a few of them. What would they say then. Everyone should picket their funeral with signs that say” What goes around , comes around”.

I am glad Prez Obama signed this legislation into law. Now, it is not only odious behavior but it’s
the law! Have some respect for the fallen soldier even if they died for corporate greed. They did their
best with the best intentions.

You sating he’s a dem don’t maake it so. Dumbass

.….….….and made corporations “people.“
It is common sense to be respectful at funerals. This won’t be overturned.
England has had gay soldiers serve, gay marriage and safe and legal abortions since “forever.“
Religious nuts and the congressmen who represent them are scared to show some balls and do
the right thig..

There are some I might add who have shed their blood and deserve all that a greatful country has to bestow. Gen George Washington

Great one!

I live in Kansas and these idiots protested st a funeral of a whole family killed in a plane crash (none of them in the military at any time). What these idiots fail to realize is the fact that these military members funerals that they have protested at are dying to continur allowing them to have the ability to do this without reporcussions from lawful persecussion. I think the government should institute a permanent restraining order against these people calling for atleast 1000 ft distance between them and any funeral, and if they disregard the order then convict them and throw the book at them!!!!

I hope you have no children.……just sayin’


Respect for those who died in the line of duty, and those who grieve for them is simply showing a common decency. As a surviving combat veteran my heart sinks at the thought of anyone using their freedom of speech to denigrate those who died for it. The members of our armed forces believe in what they do, and deserve the respect of a grateful nation. To those who would disagree, I would say you have the right to turn away in silence. This too is a freedom afforded you by a “volunteer“armed force.
I ask the members of Westboro Baptist church if they would stand in silence while American service members shouted, and carried signs of protest regarding the actions of a lost congregation member? I think not. Remember shame is a mantle brought on ones self. Go home read your Bible, and perhaps God will forgive you. Personally, I will have to give it much consideration.

This is not about “speech.”

We can all do something. I am a proud member of the Patriot Guard Riders. Upon request from family, we stand flag lines at the funeral homes, escort the deseased to the cemetery and again, stand flag lines to buffer the family. We show honor and respect for our brothers and sisters that served this nation. Want to volunteer? google Patriot Guard Riders and look for us. We are presently 300,000 strong nationwide. Our motto is “Standing for those who stood for us. Join us please. Check us out.

Oh please. This is supposed to be an intelligent conversation.
This is not about “the military.” “Homos’ are not perverts and
they were here from the get go — not coinciding with Obama’s rise to
the Presidential Office. Good for Obama — signing that law into action.

The only “sin” here is the hateful actions of the (un)Christians.
A person isn’t sinful because of their sexual orientation.

Now, WHO is the right-winger?

Then it should be just fine to identify yourself as say a federal agent, Police officer or any other government official.

No one is saying that they cannot protest. All the law is saying is when and where it is legal. I see nothing wrong with that since there are other laws that do the exact same thing. Yes i agree Westboro protest are trash. They will just have to grin and bear it.

Google the PATRIOT GUARD RIDERS . We have something to say about the protest at veterans funerals.

The Westboro crowd aren’t exclusive to military funerals. They pick whatever will get them a headline and show up. I think they even went to one of the Arizona shooting victims funerals for no particular reason other than they could make a scene there.

ok congress repeat after me seek hyle seek hyle seek hyle

Correct jenika; this is about appropriateness!

EM Hernandez,
SSG, US Army (Ret

This “church” has nothing more than lost souls, looking for no more than money and publicity through lawsuits. Their goal — to push people past the breaking point and then crying “Poor me, give me money for people being mean to me”. How pathetic! I know I can look in the mirror in the morning and be proud of who I am, proud of serving my country and proud of everyone who lives life as Americans, with that same pride themselves. My best friends Father-In-Law is a member of the Patriot Guard and had his run in with the “church”. It seems what made the lady yelling in his face the maddest was when he told her “God Is Love”. Two things come to my mind in closing. First, what do their parents think? I doubt it’s “Look at my daughter on TV, I’m so proud of her and the way she conducts herself.” Second, what would Jesus say if he came back right now?

Who needs another meaningless law when we have the Patriot Guard Riders! We’ll take care of it ourselves!

The article has it wrong. The WBC isn’t protesting gays in the military at these funerals. They are protesting the fact that gays live in America, and our troops are defending their right to be gay. I’ve dealt with these idiots too many times at the funerals of our troops killed in action, and believe firmly that they should never be allowed to protest anywhere that the family of the fallen might have to see or hear them.
This bill does not in any way hamper their rights to free speech, it merely defines an area adjacent to a funeral where they may not be 2 hours before, during and 2 hours afterwards.

Another waste of time and money by the illustrious congress, senate and POTUS. The Supreme Court will protect their vile speech under the First Amendment. They can try to clothe it in any type of dressing they want, but it will still be a violation of protected speech.

And yes, their protests are vile and despicable.

I think that was Eclessiastics (spelled wrong).
King Solomen was the one who suggested he cut the baby in two.….…

I hope you have no children.….….….….……

The key is that the 1st says that Congress shall make no law…

it does not say that Kansas, or Alaska, or Florida shall make no law.

While this law is clearly unconstitutional just because congress made the law that abridges freedom of speech, fifty separate state laws would be constitutional.

I swore to support and defend the Constitution twelve times while I was in the Army. I thought that that made it important that I read and understand the Constitution. I read a portion every day, and I find it to be a simple document that anybody who is not in government can easily understand.

I think that those of us who served have the right to be buried with the same honor that we defended our nation and this new law falls short of that goal. The law should be 1000 ft & 5 hours. As for these groups my comments to them is if you never had the “GUTS” to defend this country stay in your church & stay away from our funerals. Your not invited, we don’t want you there. What the Supreme Court forgot about is our rights !!! Jim M. Vietnam 70–71 RVAH-1 —

When the POW’s returned from Hanoi after 8 years of confinement in utterly horrible tortured conditions, when asked about Jane Fonda and her actions which certainly border on criminal if not traitorous, one replied; “I can’t figure out if I want to “F” her or kill her, but I would go back for another 8 years to insure her right to speak out.”

Just because we may not believe in everyone’s speech, we do not have the right to limit that except in cases of and for public safety. The WBC certainly seems to love to incite verbal and physical abuse and thus, the implementation of restraints to protect the public from “mob rule” are appropriate in this case.

These “members” are all members of the same family. Not really Baptists, just a group of inbred, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging loudmouths that should follow the example set by the Heaven’s Gate cult.

I cant believe with all the problems this country is going through at this time, That a religous organization would be pushing such a evil and discrasfull point. How members of this church are vets. very few I would believe. My GOD have mercy on their soles, I can not.


Several procedures, acts, practices and laws that have been found unconstitutional (some several times– see “promulgation”) in the past have received new life under this particular SCOTUS. Constituionality doesn’t seem to be a recommendation or an obstacle to this group. I agree that Guest above shouldn’t have to be too worried, but close precedent and rampant poison pill (the opposite of pork?) politics suggest otherwise. If the benefit provision were ever going to get buried, this is a scenario that could see it done as response to yet another phantom threat that’s been revived or could see the light of day again in an act of political rationalization. But that’s just me getting maudlin with my worries. I hope it goes through, but I don’t know enough about the 1st Amendment implications of the rest of it to get wholly behind it. Or anything else I hear from D.C. Peace to the guardians.

And as the guest below me, a lawyer, states: ‘Speech is restricted all the time under what are called “time, place and manner” restrictions. As long as they are viewpoint-neutral, you can regulate a lot of conduct. It’s why cities can require permits for marches or force abortion protesters to stay hundreds of feet away from clinics.‘
So there are methods in place to deal with exactly this sort of behavior from Westborons. I guess what I’m missing too is why military funerals aren’t given the same sort of consideration any other MilOps are on military ground: A perimeter!

Excue me folks, I am just an ignorant fool, I don’t listen to or watch the news on tv. I just read the article and all your bantering. As I can see, not everyone agrees on right or wrong, left or right, up or down. Media brain washing has been complete, they made their goal to seperate us and build fences. If your sitting there thinking your absolutely right about your views and opinions, you are absolutely insane.

Do the math–how many sane, normal citizens want to go to the funerals of other citizens to make a protest?
Free speech has always had restraints and the restraints become legislation when people don’t restrain themselves.

The alternative is to allow civil suits with monetary judgments for “pain and suffering” by the families attending and to allow law enforcement to site them for disturbing the peace.

Ironically, we’re heading towards if its a gay funeral you can get them for a hate crime–everybody else has to suffer it I guess.

A person is sinful because they are born that way. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God showed His love for us, by giving His Son to die in our place, while we were still His enemies. Christ told his disciples in John 13 “they will know you are mine by your love for one another”. The Westboroans are not showing the love of Christ and I find their actions deplorable. However, as Believers, Jesus calls us to a high standard — His standard, which He lays out for us in His Word. A lot of people don’t like that standard, and unless you’ve chosen to call Jesus Savior you have no compulsion to follow it.

Yeah, and why is it most of us scream out dem or rep? Why can’t everyone just say” I am an AMERICAN and proud of it” There should be flags on houses, not feet. Songs sung at funerals, not hate filled banter. This people hide behind laws, police baracades, and sadly the constitution we swore to defend. Remember we also call each other brothers and sisters. We trained together, lived together, most fought and some died together side by side. If it was your funeral, or mine, respect should be given. Plain and simple.

Sorry, I forgot to add the second reason no one should be worried about the benefits: the fact that it is in the same act of congress as the funeral restrictions is irrelevant. Laws often combine totally separate things all in one package for various reasons. For that reason, courts will “sever” the unconstitutional provision from the constitutional ones so long as that is possible, or if the statute has a severability clause directing them to (as I’m certain this one does).

Even if the Court strikes down the funeral provisions, the benefits will be fine.

Well said. I believe also “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”

That was true until about 100 years ago, but the protections of the 1st Amendment (plus most of the Bill of Rights) have been incorporated against the states by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Reading the text of the document itself only scratches the surface of constitutional law. If you are truly interested in learning why and how the Constitution is interpreted the way it is, the bible of constitutional scholars is “Constitutional Law” by Edwin Chemerinsky (he’s liberal, but the book is neutral). It’s a dense read, but if you really want to be informed on the subject, that’s where you should go.

Negative, Dog Face.

This has nothing to do about 1st Amendment Rights. That is the biggest line of crap ever and should never have been an issue with regards to this whole charade and criminal stunt.

It’s about allowing a funeral process to have their own rights for a peaceful ceremony without the peace being purposefully disturbed with intent to disturb the public peace and ‘hate’ for one’s beliefs for a peaceful and private funeral!

Anyone purposefully blocking, disturbing and intervening in the peace of a planned funeral, etc, needs to charged accordingly and prevented from such actions.


It’s a Hate crime. Seriously, think for a moment. A hate crime to specifically target, disrupt and harm a public/private group with the belief and rights to hold a peaceful funeral ceremony.

Give them a 5 minute warning to cease and desist and then take them down, charge them for hate crimes. Move on.

This has nothing to do the 1st Amendment rights my friend.

Really? Hmm. If SCOTUS had something where a ******* should be… then we wouldn’t have to make up new laws time and time again. When common sense and decency is governed by a court system, we truely have failed as a free country. Hang our heads in shame people. We are letting them tell us what to think and feel. Is that freedom? Its like a kinder gentler form of Socialism…wake up and think.…

Col J — You have been drinking way too much FOX fake snooze mind-numbing Kool-aid! I am a Democrat, I resent your comments and I served honorably—gave it my all and was stationed overseas for nearly 3 years, so your comments about Democrats are pretty stupid and downright disgusting. You and a bunch of bible-banging Far Right-wing-nuts just can’t keep your noses out of people’s bedrooms, now can you? You have obviously been sucked into the GGG and A (God, Guns, Gays and Abortion)–FOX-RAT Party / Right wingnut mindlessness that permeates everything the Richies try to sell to the Un-Thinking lemmings. So, do yourself a big favor—clear your head, stop drinking, stop smoking and take a hike. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—and you will be much more happy.

“Doc”—good comment—those folks aren’t real Christians or they wouldn’t be acting like total S**T-heads. We could ask them, “WWJD?”, but I don’t think they even care. When you think of the grief of having to go through a funeral for a loved-one, how could anyone with even a tiny amount of compassion do what they do—it’s so low-down there aren’t enough nasty words to describe it. Maybe they should be shown the door the hard way?

GW was, and is, a Neo-Fascist / spoiled brat Plutocrat, alky-druggie. He acted like a dictator while Prez—BTW the worst 8 years in US history. Before the stolen 2000 election (thank you Daddy, Jeb, Harris, Clayton Roberts, turd-blossom Karl Rove and the RAT Party), Shrub brain-damaged got away with partying while in the Texas Air Nat. Guard, scored an abysmal 25 out of 100 on the Pilot Aptitude Test (should have been placed at the bottom of the list, not the top! BUT Daddy got it “fixed”), Daddy sent him to Birmingham to get him out of Houston and he never completed his enlistment! He got out about a year early! We couldn’t do that. The Shrub “free speech zones” reminded me of Nazi Germany, except there the folks would be either shot or taken by the Gestapo to some torture camp. Anyhow, what those Westboro creeps do is beyond rotten and disgusting. Funerals, expecially for service members / veterans, should be protected from slimebags like those Phony Christians.

yes its about someone did something about this we do how ever have the right to freedom of speech but we need to be mne full of others and hve some respect i relly dont belevie God likes what these people are doing

I think they framed the law around a national security issue in order to maintain a strong military. That should pass the muster of the Sumpreme Court. God knows we already have given up a lot of personal freedoms under the ” national security” umbrella. Good job Senentor Snow. Thank you for yours years of service.

As a veteran I am appalled with the group’s insensativity to the plight of the soldiers and sailor’s who have given thier most precious asset, life, for the USA and it’s ideals. As I question this group’s Christian ways and and their lack of respect for the misfortunate military deceased. Doesn’t sound like this group is very Christian to me.

I think these sick demented bastards need their asses kicked but I to believe in free speech , I think they are overstepping there bounds . I also believe they are using their church in a manor that is not right.they are anti Christ for sure.

Oh Honey, have you drank the koolaid. Nothing could be further from the truth what you are

I know b/c I was raised Catholic and was taught: There are two kinds of people: The Catholics and the
non-Catholics. Oh, and you had to be baptized as a Catholic to enter heaven when you die. The “Others“
(like you) would have to wait in purgatory, or maybe Limbo, till the “end of days.” I knew innately that that
was not fair so I started reading and studying and I have found my truth.

All paths lead to God and don’t judge another person as you are looking at one grain of sand in this person’s
lives and you do not know his/her mission on earth.

PS There is no sin and I do not have to “believe” in Jesus to be “saved.” I was never lost. You are on
your path and I am on mine.

The Church and the bible are finely honed “tools of social control.”

You so clever!

I understand Chief Justice Roberts reasoning that as a country we allow even hateful speech — but perhaps he forgot that we just outlawed hateful or disruptive speech in the presence of the President — and if anyone needs to hear Americas comments its him

Dog Face, the law is not preventing these pieces of crap from protesting. It is limiting when and at what distance they can protest from. I think it is a fair law but am worried about protecting the grave site from vandalism by these creeps. I actually felt that 300 feet is too close. It should have been at least 1/4 mile.

I served in Viet Nam in the med. 1960s with the U.S. Marines. I never once quizzed the fighting Marine next to me:
do you smoke dope,what is you religious beliefs, or do you like boys or girls? All I wanted to know ” do you have my back ?” In war we are all there for the same reason “to kill the enemy and stay alive.” Every service member should be afforded the same rights.…. Period!!!!!!!

Setting time limits and distance is not denying free speech. Clean ears, shake head, repeat as needed to clean out all the crap from you cranium so your brains may function again. Religions and politics start wars since the beginning of time. Can’t we finally stop and concenrate on what really matters here people? Realize this folks. We all end up the same. Flat on our backs stone dead. In the mean time,do the right thing, be good to your friends, neighbors, and your families. Forget your hatred toward your personal enemies. Find a common ground that bridges your differences with others. Tear down the media and social fences, unite America back to the sensable proud nation, say and teach the pledge of allegence, stand for the National Anthem with PRIDE. YOU CAN DO ALL OF THIS, all you have to do is TRY.

God Bless Our Troops!

Only if we send them to the northern most winter tip of Addak so come spring they all fall into the ocean and drown otherwise Alaska is too nice a place for them (even in the tundra with no modern utilities). I go there on hunts and love it.

I live in Kansas where these folks (Westboro Baptist) have their HQ. I’m a retired 30 year Soldier and I understand the 1st amendment and the need to protect it. But I have seen these folks up close and personal when we buried Soldiers from my Battalion that were KIA and it isn’t about free speech for them. It’s about hate speech. There are laws on the books to prevent that as well. No parent or spouse or child should be subjected to this filth when they are burying their loved ones. All the families of the fallen have left is the memory of the loved one and that memory should be untainted. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater either, so there are rules and limits to speech. We must not blindly justify “anything goes” behind the first amendment. Our founding Fathers would be shocked at how we have allowed this desecration of those who gave all. CSM U.S. Army retired.

Isn’t there a law that protects Planned Parenthood from protesters getting too close? If there is, then the same rules should apply to funerals. Not just military funerals but ALL funerals from any protesters. That should keep everybody content without jeopardizing free speech. I can’t imagine the horror of grieving for someone I loved in the midst of these protesters. It must be almost unbearable. I’m surprised none of these people have been shot. Imagine the rage you would feel upon seeing/hearing them in person.

As Military Retiree, I have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I have and I will again.
They have a First Amendment right to totally disrespect thoes that have given everything for their country and I have a Second Amendment Right. I hope I“m not threatened.

I have but one word to say to that!! AMEN

Mr Woods — there exists a tremendous organization that I participate in named The Patriot Guard. Any person can participate in even non-motorcycl riders. The organizations shows up at the request of the immediate family and places a US Flag line around the church and the burial site to screen the area from the protestors.

Doug Lax

We do the wall to protect the families with large American Flags weekly and sometimes daily for the older and new Vets.…I don’t want to get our organization into this discussion, but we ride our own motorcycles at our own expense throughout the country. Some of us travel over a 100 miles one way to honor the burial of a Vet AFTER the family request us to do so. Many of us pull large flags that include the American Flag as escorts and then the small flags or no flags on cycles. Many of us belong to other military riding groups that also ride for this one group. Matter of fact, a person does not have to be a Vet themselves or ride a cycle to belong and participate. I have been doing it from the beginning of it’s formation, which was because of this same Westboro Church. I recently was told the reason they are a wee bit warped.…..was told all the members come out of the same family.…there you go! My riding name is Creek.….and is that for a reason.….you can call me Chief.…USN (RETIRED)

Here here Joe!!! Right on the money. As a matter of fact, these maroons who call themselves “Christians” should count themselves lucky that they haven’t ended up like the folks in Aurora. Only this time, others would be cheering. THAT, my friend, is called restraint and lots of it. So it is VERY apparent who is hating here.….. and it isn’t the service member and family, it is those inbred westboro maroons!

It would seem that most of the comments have validity, however if the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional, the law makers should word it to the effect as if your right to free speech tramples on the rights or others you should be held criminally liable for your actions.
The right of free speech should never be sidestepped but in exercising your right you should NOT trample on the rights of others to get your point across. I am sure that followers of the Westboro Baptist Church would not want anyone to disrupt their family’s funerals for any reason.
We all deserve to be buried with dignity and respect.

A funeral ceremony is not an appropriate place for a “freedom of speech” protest. Like many have said, 1st Amendments rights aren’t guaranteed everywhere, all the time, in every situation. And in this situation, it could even be considered hate speech. I think we can all agree that we are not losing any freedom by protecting accepted, customary funeral ceremonies, that is until a group or religion pops up with egregious funeral practices and we can’t protest because of this law. That would be interesting…

Chosen? Being gay is not a choice, let’s begin there. Why would someone “choose” to be gay when there are so many BIGOTS that treat them like $¶1t by harassing them, insulting them, making fun of them, alienating them, et cetera? Educate yourself first, haven’t you noticed that we are in the 21st century?
Besides the bigotry, everybody should respect a funeral, being the dead a soldier or not.

“Being gay is a choice” sayers, Westboro church and radical islamics = same thing

Why is it Ok to prohibit prayer in schools, even silent prayer, because it offends someone but not OK to prohibit disruption on Funerals that should offend every patriotic American. The “supreme” court had no problem restricting free speech when it deals with religous free speech.

Having the right to say something, and having the right to get in someone’s face and say something are two very different things. As the saying goes, your right to extend your fist ends at the other person’s face.

Love Ohio Vietnam Vet, he couldn’t have expressed it better. GGG&A… Lol

And who is to decide what is appropriate? Congress? The Supreme Court? The President? Maybe you? This time it’s Westboro and their BS. Next time it might be speaking out/protesting against the gov’t that’s found to be inappropriate. Bet you’ll scream about 1st Amendment rights then. No, it’s exactly as Ivan said; it’s a slippery slope.

It’s the same reason I’m against any gun control regulations: once they start, they’ll never stop.

They all should be thrown in jail and the key be tossed in the ocean. If it wasn’t for our men and women that sacrificed, they would not be able to carry those God awfull signs.

To the members of Westboro Church I believe they should look a little deeper into their bible. I believe the passage judge not lest ye shall be judged applies. Whether or not you agree with a persons sexual or Religious preferences or lifestyle it is up to God to judge them not you. I suppose all of them for judging these fallen souls may be heading straight to hell. I believe in the freedom of speech but people need to be protected from hate. The freedom of speech does not allow us to scream fire in a crowd or should it let us freely abuse others.

Everyone has a right to protest on what ever they want to, but DO NOT DISRESPECT OUR FALLEN. They gave their all.
Whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve a veteran is someone who at one point in his/her live, wrote a blank check made payable to the “United States of America” for the amount of up to and including his/her life.
That is honor, and there are too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.
So you are telling me as a veteran that my brothers and sisters-in arms that GOD hates us, please don’t try to or think I’m going to believe that CRAPE!

There are time and place restrictions on 1st amendment rights (can’t yell FIRE in a crowded theater, or block roads with your discourse) so this is no different.

Since when has the right to free speech been interpreted as the right to be completely and utterly disrespectful to others in expressing your views. In context I don’t think that is what the founders had in mind when they thought about free speech. Even the fiercest of debates during that time were respectful and gentlemanly. Yeah! You do have the right to free speech. But I hazard a guess to say that people would be more willing to listen if that right was exercised with respect. Nothing could be more disrespectful than loud mouthed ignorance at a funeral of someone who died protecting the right to free speech. HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT! To me such protesting behavior deserves the death penalty.

As a military veteran I would stand in those flag lines if invited.


Here’s a little bit of information that may help you and the good citizens of Kansas. See I am a retired vet as well and I always stand beside my brothers in arms so what I have found is a state law that can actually work against Westboro Baptist.

I wondering why hasn’t anyone stepped forward and petitioned for an order of K.S.A. 21–4105
Incitement to riot. (a) Incitement to riot is by words or conduct urging others to engage in riot as defined by K.S.A. 21–4104 and amendments thereto under circumstances which produce a clear and present danger of injury to persons or property or a breach of the public peace.

Well I hope that I could be of service to you and your community. God Bless My Brother!

Very well spoken indeed by brother in arms!

As you sow, so shall you reap.

Not so! Not if they only attack veterans, and those killed in battle, funerals!!! That’s outright discrimination at its worst and we all now it!!!!!!!! Therefore their 1st Amendment Rights are being abused and therefore we can abuse them, as our rights to do so.…

A lot of us are waiting for the demise of the head of the Westbooro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps. If you want to see Freedom of Speech and ability to demonstrate, just wait for his funeral.

If the person states he or she was in the military and they were not, they can be prosecuted for impersionating a federal official. What about the Rhode Island scumbag of a state senator, Daniel Gordon ® who lied about getting the purple heart? Do you think he gained votes from the citizens of Rhode Island that he duped?

Of course, this scumbag also claimed PTSD from serving in the [Persian] Gulf after being arrested for DUI. His military records indicated otherwise.

Or how about this idiot? This 2010 CT US Senate Candidate, Richard Blumenthal (D) tried to sell to his potential constituents that he served and was injured in Vietman.

There are several more of these, but the lies about their military service may have indeed gained them their elected offices.

This is why I believe the Stolen Valor Act should not have been overturned by the SCOTUS.

It is about time.….….….….……
They are NOT Christians because no dedicated Christian would ever behave in that manner
They are some sort of cult who follows blindly Phelps who is a hate filled man
They did a story recently on cable and I could not believe some of the stuff that came out of his
mouth in interviews and the drones who follow him
The sad thing is small children are already mouthing the hatred

When PFC Tom Tucker was murdered by Iraqi insurgents (out of “revenge”) 4 years ago,
the funeral/memorial service was held at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond,
Oregon. Phelps and his thugs were going to come up and protest his funeral, but the Redmond
police chief categorically stated that he could not guarantee the protesters’ safety (we’re
pretty pro-military up here). Phelps and his people canceled their protest!

The WBC, IMHO, call themselves “Christians”. True Christians have respect for the dead.

The approach taken by Congress SHOULD follow the 1st Amendment:

1) Military funerals have a religious aspect, for example the three volleys is meant to represent the Trinity and it is drawn from the ancient belief that the fallen are being taken in to God. The Westbrook Baptist Church by demonstrating in their disgusting manner impede the participants at these funerals from exercising their faith.

2) There is a ‘fighting words’ exemption to the First Amendment. By demonstrating in their outrageous manner at a military funeral they are recklessly inciting a riot to occur.

Actually the new law does not punish the protesters for exercising their 1st ammendment free speech. What it does is say that you can protest as long as it occurs at least 300 feet from a funeral and not within 2 hours.

But I wonder if Congress could go even further. Harrasment of grieving families looks like a hate crime to me. A person or group can’t hide behind the 1st ammendment when a burning cross is placed on someone’s front lawn, so why should anyone be allowed to make families miserable by hateful picket signs and speech?

The idea of this extended free speech is a direct result of the SCOTUS not properly enforcing the Constitution of The United States. That which infringes on my right to quiet, or comfort, or freedom from insults or public discomfort, etc., is My right, and not a matter of free speech. All the superflouis “stuff” the SCOTUS has thereto attached is a misinterpretation of the Constitution.

Bring the draft back. When they have to start going over there I think this will cease!

Amen, and Semper Fi, Marine. 1960–1980 GySgt.

its about time the govt got off it ass and did something about it the supreme court showed its disdain for the us military

I agree with you 100%. A funeral is not a place for protest. It is a place to show respect for love ones and there Family.

No one is curtailing free speech here. They can still use a bull horn to disrupt activity from 300 feet.

Smacks of Jonestown radical

I hate these morons, however I agree with you about this issue. The Supreme Court was right. This law is ill-conceived.

I have taken that oath on more than one occasion, I believe that our elected officials have lost sight of the fact that their power does not come from them, but rather from our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments. Truthfully I wish nothing but a plague of fleas infest the underwear of each and everyone of the Westboro morons. But the Bill of Rights is quite explicit on this. No one has the right to NOT be offended, to those that said the idiots are trespassing, that is not necessarily correct, national cemeteries, most cemeteries, are public ground.

With Rights come responsibilities. You have the Right to Bear Arms, but you do NOT have the Right to brandish it in public or the Right to use it against others unjustly. The same thing applies with the other Rights stated in the Bill of Rights/Constitution. As far as I’m concerned, the Westbooro Baptist Church’s followers have abused their Rights and should have their Rights limited just as a shooter should have his or her Right to bear arms limited if they abuse their Rights.

Why don’t we keep the key, and just toss them into the ocean…

First, not all speech is protected by the Constitution (as you probably know). Speech to incite a riot, for example, is not protected. Second, they are still free to protest. They just have to do it farther away from the funeral and they can’t protest two hours before or after the funeral. So, they can still have their little “protests”. They will still be able to exercise their First Amendment Rights. It’s just that nobody will be there to care.

if i were ever envolved with this outfit at a funeral of a friend i am sure they would be ok with me batting the hell out of the westboro nuts! if these @@@@@@@@@@@&&^^^^%$#_%%%$$$$####***** “folk” want to do this “stuff” fine! they should be kept in a cage about 5mi from the site!

The first amendment does not protect all speech, You cannot shout fire in a crowded theater or have the 12 shrouded wraiths changed that too?

Oh, and another thing.….the law doesn’t single out Westboro Baptist Church. It applies to everyone universally.

If you believe that they can limit this type of speech, then you also believe that people cannot attend a political rally and shout down a liar like Obama?

If it isn’t considered disrespect now, no wonder. Look back on some of the events that, then Sen. Obama, attended and see who is the only idiot NOT saluting the flag. This is now our President.

This is what makes me sick. All these foreigners want to come to OUR country because theirs sucks, then, not even being citizens, have the nerve to protest how we treat them, which is pretty damn good, especially compared to the country they came from. Most of them don’t intend on becoming citizens. They just want to mooch off our tax money and send it back to their country.

I’m all for people coming here and becoming productive CITIZENS in our country, but don’t come here and complain and try to change us to suit your wants. If you don’t like it here then go back to where you came from and leave us alone!!!!

I think that this Westboro Baptist Church is lucky that we are in the 21st century. If we were in our earlier years in the 19th century, we would probably be hunting down the last of this sect to lynch. The fact is that these young men and women have died for us, and are our sons, daughter, brothers and sisters no matter what anyone says they are the ones that have preserved all of our ways of life with their ultimate sacrifice. They deserve our respect. (Bottom line: if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem)

They aren’t necessarily protesting the funerals of openly homosexual military veterans. They’re protesting because they believe that all dead soldiers (straight, gay, asexual, whatever) are part of God’s punishment for the US not forbidding gay rights, etc.

They, as I recall, believe the same thing of natural disasters. The service members don’t have to be gay to have their funerals picketed. WBC believes everything bad ever is God’s punishment for gays being allowed to exist in the US. Fuck that.

Obama needed a feather in his hat (right before the elections), and this is a way that will have conservatives giving him a “Thumbs Up”.

Nobody’s denying that this false “church” and false “Christians” are a bunch of scumbags, but their stupidity has nothing to do with DADT. And as far as I know nobody can seem to decide if it’s a choice or not, so don’t say “it’s the 21st century” as if that means things are any different from the 20th. The replacement of DADT with this new “policy” is a complete disaster anyway.

The problem is that these frauds do indeed cause problems for many, even those who have not maid monetary gains from it. As texas said, we don’t allow people to go around claiming to be federal agents, police officer, or government officials, why should this be any different?

Oh that didn’t sound crazy at all… Look in the mirror Democrats. Your party is the very model for efficient corruption. You’ve even got the media at your back, yet you complain about Fox News existing.

When did marriage become a “right” and not a privilege?

I am both a Bible believing Christian and a Vietnam era vet (submarine service), and I fully support this new law. I think the distance the protesters have to stand back from is way to close (300 feet). I would have made it a mile. That particular church in my opinion does not demonstrate the love of Christ, which would make it a cult. They give good Baptists a bad name. And whether the minister is present at any particular protest or not, the first one I’d lock up is that minister, instant one-year-jail sentence.

Of course the judicial branch doesn’t care about interpreting the 1st Amendment properly. These are the same judges who order crosses taken down at war memorials. Crosses placed by veterans remembering their comrades who gave their lives. Why? Because some radical atheist idiots were “offended.”

Double Amen, brother, and Semper Fi from a bubble-head

Now that’s a good idea, give them a choice, like miscreants were given by judges, join the army or go to jail for a year, and in the army, instant assignment to Afghanistan. Supposedly we’re no longer in Iraq, so it would have to be the other.

I think the way the law is worded, to protect those who defend the Constitution of the United States, and their fallen, covers that. Do you realize, that those in the military have waived some of their Constitutional rights in order to defend it? That’s right. So in the case of their funerals, such rights others have to desecrate their funerals ought to be waved as well. Think about that one for a moment.

The funny thing is that conservative Americans dont believe in freedom of speech at all instead they believe in freedom from speech and they confuse the two.

I understand the 1st Amendment, but that doesn’t give you the right to invade someone’s or a family’s privacy. What would possess any rational person to show up at a fallen soldier’s funeral and act like that is beyond me. That “Church” is a disgrace and they are NOT Christians and they will find that out the hard way in time. These people WANT to stir up trouble and that’s why they do the viel things that they do. So I am for restricting their ability to do so.

I respsect the freedom of speech issue and the great expression of support by the veterans (expressed) on this string. I am a veteran as well and support the right to speak. The premise of fighting words has a long presadent in the courts and upheld by the courts. Your speach may be limited if you incite others to violance. I think this meets that test. Limits that are porposed, I believe, will not succeed. However, the local jursidiction may impose permitting for demonstrations. Hold your local jursidictions accountable to this. If they fail to hold the “Fighting words” down of these people and deny a permit, vote them out.

sure, they have the right but they are also responsible for their actions — I hope they test it and rethink their strategy after their first year in prison

I also agree with ikester018 — the WESTBORO BAPT GROUP is a D I S G R A C E to real Christianity.

I served for 23 years. I am retired. I supported and defended the constitution. Even if it is something I do not agree with. I believe when you start to restrict our freedoms because they do not sit well or offend others the slippery slope starts. Who get to decide what is offensive? Is it the skin heads, the Catholics, the Christine’s, the communist, the democrat or the republicans? Either speech is free or it is not. There will always be something written or said that is offensive to someone.

Its funny because its true. Now thats free speech.

The folks bringing up the 1st Amendment forget something — you have the right to express your opinion, you do not have a ‘right’ to be heard.

Yes, and its illegal to yell fire in a theater etc.. as well. Not all rights to being a dumb a*s are be protected under the first amendment and neither should this.

We can all go to Topeka, Kansas whenever Westboro Baptist Church founder, Fred Phelps himself dies and protest his funeral. Phelps is now in his 80s so it should not be that long.Gays were not allowed in the military when I served and I have personally opposed their service now especially in the field.I also believe that Phelps himself may be a closet gay.

Most people expect the Supreme Court to act without law, they will not do that because they can’t. I can understan their ruling in favor of this church, there was no law to rule any other way, things may change, now that we have a law to prevent this church from protesting so close to a fenural. This issue should have been a political issue from the start, either Congress was too inept, or unwilling to act, either way, it was their job to make law in this matter. If this church decide to sue, and they will, thinds may not go in their favor, why?…because this law does not prevent them from protesting, but it do prevent them from protesting so close to a fenural, or the time of the funeral. I find it fracking amazing how many of us do not know or understand how our Judicial System works.…mabe it’s because everybody expect it to only work for them…when they need it to.….It’s time to educate yourselves people.

America needs to get a reality check on the definition of “rights”. Yes we are allowed the “right ” of free speech.….so long as it does not infringe upon the “rights” of others to privacy and peace. A person’s right ends when it takes away from the “rights” of others.

I guess the thing I find most despicable about Phelps and Co is the pain they cause the families of the fallen service member. These families are already going through hell and these “people” ( I used the term advisedly) use the family’s misery to advance their perverted view of religion. It’s disgusting.
On the other hand, Phelps’ actions have brought about one positive result (if that were possible). This is the first comment thread that I’ve read, where all of us, whether conservative or liberal, right wing or left — all seem to agree.

I don’t think the Westboro’s grip is about the DADT. If so, they would protest Congress who forced the issue. I think their problem is, they see a whole society of people who are actually better than them. People who actually have something higher than self in their lives. I don’t think they can or have placed God above “self”, so they condemn others who have shown they have placed something above “self” in their lives, and have given their whole self to that cause.

What I’m saying is, these people realize they are lesser people than our Soldiers who gave their all, and they know it, and they’re talking out their inferiority out on those who gave their all.

A follow-up to my last post — once Phelps is dead and should I ever find myself in Topeka, I will make it a point to find his grave…and piss on it.

who or should I say what?

As far as gays in the military goes…I don’t care one way or the other. The only thing I care about is can they do their job.

As far as that group of poster children for planed parenthood goes…their fathers should have used condoms, and their mothers should have been on the pill.

Just to point out, this law doesn’t say that they can’t say WHAT they want (which is absolutely protected under the First Amendment, regardless of how vile and dispicable it may be) just WHEN AND WHERE they can say it. I don’t see a conflict here.

I’m with you on a lot of this discussion, but remember that Christianity and Jesus are “the only way.” For those of us who are Jewish, the presumption that everyone’s Christian and that Jesus is everyone’s Lord and Saviour is simply untrue and could be seen as insulting, at best, no matter how well intentioned. We don’t believe in original sin or that all people are sinful for having simply been born.

Sorry — I meant not “the only way.”

And that’s all anyone on the ‘side’ of allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve (openly or not) has been trying to make the case for. If we can do the job, based strictly on merit, let us join, as individuals — and not judged as a class. Like anyone else, if a gay or lesbian soldier can’t hack it, follow whatever the military’s normal routine is for dismissal. No one should get a job (and benefits) for other than merit, no one should lose a job (or benefits) for other than merit.

William C — curious why you think the new ‘policy’ is a disaster. Not trying to pick a fight (in the interest of directness, I am in favor of anyone who’s competent to serve to have the right to serve — and I’ll include myself in those who probably are NOT competent to serve, regardless of sexual orientation).

I haven’t followed this issue all that much lately — so I’m just wondering where it’s failed. Where are the problems. If we accept that gays and lesbians will continue to be allowed to serve, at least for the time being and for argument’s sake, what would make it more successful/less of a disaster. Again, I’m asking — because I’m interested in hearing your opinion/experience.

Exactly .… this new legislation strikes a balance between the rights of those needy attention whores who think making screaming jackasses out of themselves at a strangers funeral is appropriate public behavior and the mourners who simply wish to say A Final Farewell in peace and with dignity .

The Patriot Guard Riders are NOT Counter — Protesters as we attend only by invitation from the family . I for one am glad that we have this new legislation as it breaks my heart to think that a family may be exposed to the hatemongering attention whores because they thought we would simply show up where they do . Salute Angel Vargesko PGR PA

gays cry discrimination,while discriminating against me for being hetrosexual and not going against GOD. Where is my rights protection? Well, I know GOD will never change HIS punishment of Sodom and Gomorah,nor the HIS WORD concerning such and those who agree with the sin. NO law,nor man,or group of men can change GOD^S WORD,and HE WILL exact HIS WORD,and in this matter,without mercy,or respect of person.… I hope you have not offend GOD.If you have ‚repent,call on the name of Jesus Christ so you will be forgiven and have your place in heaven. I can not apologize for trying to save you..Jesus died for even you,and then He arose from the grave.…. Who can even match that ? NOT ONE.….

For a moment there, I thought the debacle of the Westboro Baptist Church was actually bringing people together to have a civil conversation between otherwise disparate groups, but you just blew that idea.

I assume that you’re complaining and whinging that you’re being discriminated against based on your religion, yes? Sorry, but that is a really lame cry for attention. Exactly how are you receiving less than equitable treatment? You’re discriminating against those who aren’t fundamentalist Christian. I’m Jewish — should I complain that you’re discriminating against me with your opinion that Jesus was the Messiah, even though I disagree? NO ONE is discriminating against you — people are simply tired of having one person’s religious beliefs shoved down another person’s throat. You sound exactly like Fred Phelps and his family — believing that your right to free speech includes my responsibility to listen to and accept it as mine. You’re wrong. You can believe anything you want about how others should live, but others don’t have to hear it, listen to it, or believe it. The Constitution doesn’t require that, nor does your bible written two thousand years ago.

Just because the US was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs or ideals, that does not mean that the US is a Christian or church-run country. If that’s what you want, join the Taliban. IF G-d wants me to be saved through Jesus, G-d will make that happen, NOT YOU. Your “trying to save (others)” through Jesus is simply prideful, arrogant, and presumptuous — and none of that is very Christ-like. If you want to live where the country is run by one, narrowly-defined and narrowly-translated religious book, move to an Arab country. My people left Russia to evade pogroms, where people were killed if they didn’t convert to Christian Orthodox. Are pogroms something you’re looking to see happen here?

I agree with what you have just stated and the way in which you stated it. I do not agree with people chosing same sex partners, just as if they did not agree with me having an opposite sex partner. It is none of my business what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
I also, must state, that I have many friends, both male and female, that have chosen to be with the same sex partner. They know how I feel about it, but accept me as I accept them. Most of them are great people with big hearts and are very giving. It is between them and God or whom or whatever entity they believe in. I do not try to interput what God feels, or thinks, I do know that he wants us to treat others as we want to be treated and more. I again applode you and what you have said.

Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. Hiding it or not hiding it is a choice! And even if it was a choice, I believe gay individuals have the right to express based on our constitutional rights.


I am in agreement with this law, and would further state that it doesn’t go quite far enough. I think that ANY funeral service should be protected from disruption. This does not compromise anyone’s first amendment rights, as they are still able to voice their opinion, write letters, tweet, etc. etc. to their heart’s content. It only defines where they may do it and when. Their freedom of speech is not restricted. Get a soapbox in the park. Don’t desecrate a funeral.

I say Westboro Baptist Church be forcibly conscripted to the Armed services for the misuse of their rights. END OF STORY.

Christians? I’m a real Christian. They are not religious at all they just have hate sessions every Sunday. God doesn’t allow hate and doesn’t condone hate and prejudice against anyone including our enemies. Westboro Baptist Church is a fu**in* CULT.

Why? You want these vile hateful people to wear our uniform and represent us across the world? Seriously?

You know what? They should have the right to protest on the condition that every person at that funeral gets to kick each of them in the jaw.

I wonder if requesting “Veteran’s Preference” (the 5 or 10 point preference for example) and GETTING THE REQUEST constitutes fraud?

They can have their free speach at home. I am a veteran and say daily that I fought to defend the rights of these fools. However, any funeral, not just a veterans should be a time of peace and healing for the family and friends. Do they not also have the right not to be offended?

I would love to witness these idiots doing this at a military funeral… I would put the fear of God into them. I am a veteran and I will always be my brother’s keeper. I promise that they would be in a world of hurt if ever witness them disrespecting my brother’s and sister’s in arms. Maybe God will strike them all down with lightening and the sparks will jump from their heads to the abomination that they call a church… and it burns to the ground. Those tards are all a waste of human flesh… completely worthless. God hates people who judge others, so all of Westboro will have a nice hot piece of brimstone to sit on and roast for eternity in hell. Good job you morons… Sincerely… Me AIRBORNE!!!

Where in the constitution are any of the rights you mention described?

Speech is speech, regardless fo whether you’re uncomfortable with it. Speech is inherently unquiet. Freedom of speech implies freedom to insult.

I agree. We should just let the sleeping dog alone and take matters in our own hands.

I pray every day that these members die of cancer. They are a complete waste of O2 and contribute nothing useful to society

They have a right to say it, yes. But they do not have a right to physically disrupt a funeral or wake by saying it and waving a sign in the face of the families that just lost their family member. I disagree with Mormonism and don’t know how anyone reading the sci-fi story of Joseph Smith believes it is true. But I don’t have the right to walk into a Mormon temple during a service, waving a sign and screaming in peoples faces. I would be arrested.

Are you kidding me! This should not be allowed. Free speech fine, but not here. Our Sons and Daughters have given their life to protect this freedom. Respect that and STAND DOWN! USAF Vet..

The article is just a little wrong in defining WBC’s motivations. The Westboro Baptist Church believes that all of America is too permissive of homosexuality by not outlawing it, and God punishes America by killing its citizens through violent acts such as war in the mideast. WBC also picketed the funerals of people who died on 9/11 and in shooting sprees such as the one in Omaha, NE. It’s the same logic as saying that Hurricane Katrina was punishment for New Orleans being filled with sinners.

Prohibition of prayer in schools is an urban legend perpetuated by liars and/or gullible people who enjoy feeling victimized. In no public school in the United States is prayer prohibited. On the other hand, organized prayer? The school telling the students to bow their heads and pray? That is illegal, because it’s the school, a secular public body, telling the kids to perform a religious act, which is disrespectful to students and faculty who are of other religions or of no religion. If you want your kids to be lead in prayer by school officials, you can always send them to a private religious school, the very existence of which refutes your falsehood.

Get your facts straight.

I meant to give you a thumbs down… they are protesting soldiers and not the government. I hope they all burn in hell… I can promise you that I will help them get to there destination early if given the chance. They are a bunch of worthless morons and as a veteran, I would personally like to beat the ever living crap out of them… all of them.

Homosexuality is a sin, huh? Because Leviticus says so? Leviticus also says that if a virgin is raped, the rapist must pay her father a fine and then marry his victim. Both “laws”, the prohibition on homosexuality, and forcing a rape victim to marry her attacker, are harmful and do no one any good. Explain why it’s okay for you to disregard (I assume you don’t approve of rape victims being sold to their attackers) the law about rape on the grounds that it is harmful, and not okay for you to disregard the law about prohibiting open homosexuality?

That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is you’re an ignorant bigot.

they have already been legislating this but the SCOTUS interprets this how they deem fit

I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders & have been for a number of years (along w/the POW/MIA Awareness Organizations). With this came a lot of self-imposed education as I would not affiliate myself w/an organization that did not have the best of intention, reputation and moral code as well. The Phelps family (Westboro Baptist Church) are not only the congregation, but practicing attorneys. The “scam” they have going is to heckle the grieving families when they are at their emotional lowest to the point to where the family lashes out eliciting an “assault” which is publicly witnessed & filmed by the members of their group. This can’t be disputed and unfortunately a case won by a grieving military family was overturned by the higher courts. The PGR’s #1 priority is to attend “AS INVITED GUESTS”, to stand a Flagline & block the view of the families so they don’t have to see the protesters-all they will see is Old Glory being flown with Respect, Honor & Dignity.

I support ALL of our rights that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (even though they are pretty much all currently being infringed). Including freedom of speech. There is such a thing as respect. These assholes don’t have any. But, they are expressing their feelings. Why is no one expressing their feelings and protesting THEM at their church? This,too falls within the 1st amendment. When we allow lawmakers to curtail and curb our rights, even with (supposedly) good intentions, we are indeed starting down a very slippery slope.
So, everybody,exercise your freedom of speech and PROTEST THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH AT THEIR LOCATION.

So Protest the church! After all we have the right.

Or how about wearing a black robe and declaring oneself as a supreme court judge? Oh wait, where is there any valor to be stolen there

I say we gather as many people as we can, go to this so-called church surround the parameter and protest their ass!!

The Westboro Church was going to stage one of their demonstrations here in Texas at the funeral of a service member who had died in Afghanistan. A local motorcycle club with a lot of veterans in its membership desided to show their support for the family of the young fallen trooper. They lined the road, parking areas, and other areas of assembly with their “hogs”, bodies, and American flags early on the day of the funeral. No place for Westboro to go where they could be seen or heard without having to pick a fight with a bunch of bikers who got there first. We don’t need the elitist pukes in Congress trying to “fix” anything. They normally just screw it up like a tomato-soup sandwich. Good-ole boy ingenuity works better. Never pick a fight with a p.o.‘d vet on a Harley — ’cause you’ll lose your front teeth.

the service member funeral is to honor the soldier. There is no rights of free speech here. Why is this , not understood by every one. the funeral service is that of respect and pay honor to the solder. Respect or the family, they lost one that was loved. Protest by any one who fail to respect this, has no rights of the constitution , since there is no position to be opposed to. Rights of protest are not here.


Whether it is their right or not I would never wish death on anyone and the signs saying “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” at a funeral non the less. All I know is when judgment day comes I wouldnt want to be them!!!

I stand by these soldiers they are fighting for our freedom and for your right to protest. I wish the protesters had a heart or some common sense the family wasnt in enough pain. Im sure if they lost a child they wouldnt want a bunch of people outside with signs saying “Thank God your Child Died”!!!

There’s a thought…

I support ANY anti-queer stance. For their anti-military stance can we get these brainless idiot trailer trash to tattoo (in bright letters) so that we can either send them to the front lines or make sure that NO ONE lifts a finger to protect them, from anything? I think the first one to lead the charge should be their idiotic pastor(?). Praising the Sikh massacre is so against God’s law, but I have the feeling that their so-called pastor believes that either he IS God or is above God’s law. The only one that did come to this stance is known to us as Satan! This so-called group of God fearing worshipers needs to go back and study the Bible. They are acting so much like Jehovah’s Witnesses it is scary! God wants us to Love and respect ALL people, no matter how they worship Him. GOD is the only one authorized to pass judgement on anyone. That time is coming soon, but NOT soon enough!

I wish I could show up on the doorsteps of these people and ask them why they keep so much hatred in their hearts. So sad…

I agree that the Westboro protesters have the right but out of common sense they should be more respectful. I think this is a “Wake Up Call” for Americans to get up and truly stand up for our troops AND their families.

Hopefully, this law will at least impede the bigotry.

I was just thinking the same thing. Why waste a perfectly good key?

You really think so. Try taking a self guided tour of Arlington, or driving through Arlington National Cemetery at night. My friend they are not public roads and not anybody can be buried there. Most cemeteries are church owned or privately administered. When Uncle Vern dies just try going down the street to your local public cemetery and burying him. Bet you cant do it. Nope dont think you can. Gotta pay somebody for that bit of “public” land.

I like your idea. I think from now on, if the Westboro “church” shows up at a military funeral, the ammunition in the weapons used for the salute, should be changed from blanks to live rounds. The shooters should be expert marksmen & allowed to choose their own targets. Something tells me that after 1 military funeral, “Rev” Phelps & his friends will no longer protest at military funerals.

Here’s a solution: If people are limited in protesting within ear or eye shot of POTUS, then why not have POTUS go to every, repeat every, burial of our fallen troops / heros ? This may keep him actively involved as President and cut down on vacation-time in sunny Hawaii…

I am currently a casket team leader for a military funeral honors team, I have over 1400 ceremonies total to include about 80 KIA internments and 4 Honorable Transfers of KIA service people. I and my team have been the object of protests by this group and we personally have had attacks of various types against the honorable burial of a fallen comrade. I am also a combat veteran and feel that these people are almost the equivalent of the insane people who mistreated and abused our returning Service People returning from Viet Nam. While we have not been subjected to spitting or physical attacks, the bullhorns and signs at funeral ceremonies, having our pictures added to these people’s despicable websites is very hurtful and does disrupt the flow of not only the ceremony itself but also the ability to recruit and retain the human assets we need to keep our ranks full.

I would like to personally thank the Patriot Guard and Legion Riders who have stood for hours at MFH ceremonies and provided a human shield for the duration of the proceedings. I want to thank them also for the escort service they provide to the families of the fallen as well as casket and burial team members. These ladies and gentlemen are a shining example of the action we need from everyone who knows about a military funeral, get out get involved, don’t give these people enough room to be seen or heard during the proceedings. I know that my team specifically but the entire MFH Ceremonial Community would be very appreciative. #Salute

I never trust the government, and I trust it even less when it gives bills names like this. The proper thing to do is ignore and shun these scum, not expand the federal governments power to restrict speech. If they can limit speech near funerals why not near political campaigns, churches, city hall, public parks? People who allow the federal government excess powers to restrict the other guys freedoms also give the the government that power to restrict their own freedoms. If you aren’t adult enough to handle these disgusting bozos maybe you should just move to Canada, where everyone is allowed the freedom to say anything the government allows.

With every right goes a responsibility. The right to free speech does not include using it to lie, cheat, damage others and most of all to take away another persons protected rights. The “right to free speech is abused far to much. Mostly by the press with their half truths and distortions and out right lies.

Our rights are inalienable, not alienable, and this includes freedom of speech. Verbal abuse is an alienable act and should not be permitted.

People like those in the westburro church should be relocated to a country where their freedoms are not respected and then let them beg to get back into this country… .sometimes a object lesson is a valuble tool…

If you are willing and able to put your life forward to defend this country by joining the military and fighting to protect the USA and its citizens it doesn’t matter what your sleeping habits are! What does that have to do with your desire to be a part of protecting and fighting for our

freedom? You protect our shores by offering up your life then I don’t give a tinker’s toot who you sleep with! To fight for our country is not a sexual orientation thing — its the fact that you are doing what is expected of a good, patriotic, citizen of this country to step forward to protect her. To protest their funerals is a gross insult and I get incensed when I read about it. To think that this pathetic Westoboro Church has the audacity to even THINK about protesting a soldier, male or female, funeral that has made the ULTIMATE sacrifice for us is disgusting! They might have the right to object to homosexuals in the military but so what, nowadays there is too much objecting to stuff where that energy could be used elsewhere useful. IF a person, whether homosexual or heterosexual, wants to fight for us what difference does it make as long as they keep their orientation to themselves? Is sex now what drives our military? I’m ‘straight’, not ‘gay’ but if a person wants to help protect us and keep us free from harm for the right reasons then who am I to object? And, if they are willing to die for us, who am I to object to their burial?

Who are these egotistical twits that call themselves a ‘church’ better go back and find out what it means to be a christian instead of a bunch of ridiculous protestors using the cover of ‘church’ to ‘sanction’ their misdirected actions! If I had a person being buried that died giving their all for this country and these people showed up to protest his/her bural they would pay a price — I would NOT tolerate it, not one little bit, their right or not be damned! This makes me furious! Our military is everything to this country — start acting like it and give them the respect they are due and that is rightously theirs!

It would be much better to pass a law making it illegal to beat the hell out of the protestors with a fine of one cent!

Maybe if we brought the draft back and some of these people had sons, daughters, uncles and fathers in the military THEN lets see what these ignorant butt heads would do! If they didn’t like it they could leave the country and I’ll help them pack! Who’s to say their relative could’t be ‘gay’ — then lets see them do a cowards about-face! People that protest using signs that read ‘thank God for deal soldiers” should charged with treason — and throw out of this country. Untortunately, that solder died to protect these ne-er-do-wells rear ends the same as everyone else and that is too bad — these people are not worth dying for!

This wouldn’t be the first time the Supreme Court has screwed up — remember Obamacare! Someone needs to yank their chains a little bit to get their attention to make them realize there ARE some excepitons to certain rules and our military deserves a whole lot better from them then what they got! After all, they are safe, too, from the actions and bravery of our military, no matter what branch is being served. They ALL deserve our respect, our thanks and our gratitude! Bar none!

Anybody that dishonor’s a serviceman or woman’ funeral deserves nothing less than a firing squad. I’m not advocating violence, just merely stating my opinion.

It is not their right to cause harm to families who are already struggling with grief. They can say what they want — but they can’t say it at someone’s funeral service.

My aunt is actually buried in a “dig your own grave” cemetery in Arkansas (well, you have to be cremated, but still…the family actually does the digging). That particular cemetery is public land, but you are right in that the vast majority aren’t.

If it’s “speech” at someone’s funeral — and I don’t care whose — then yes, I’m all for appropriateness. People have plenty of places to air their grievances other than someone’s funeral. Good grief. Shall we picket yours with giant signs of “God Hates Doug” and pictures of say, excrement? After all, you once posted on an internet forum! So we can picket yours or your relatives’ funerals, right? Your family would love that.

Yes there is such a thing as freedom of speech, but these people need to remember that these are the people who are fighting to keep the bill of rights from going any where. They are the reason we have laws. Being a military wife, I feel is is so disrespectful for anyone to protest a military funeral. How would they feel if one of their own died and the military started protesting outside of their buildings, but from where it is not a military funeral they could protest during the entire thing and not have to stop, and you know what the military people would get for doing it?…A slap on the wrist. These people who thing they are free they need to remember why they have freedo, because freedom isn’t free!!!! There hard working men and women who are fighting for your freedom, while you enjoy your family vacations, holidays, partys and just having a good old time being in a house that has walls without bullet holes in them, while you are walking around in your business suits, bathing suits, ski outfits and every day attire there are people wearing camie and 100lbs packs to keep you safe.

I know thousands that would happily pay a $100 fine, or even a $1,000 fine, to get a chance to beat the crap out of those useless AH’s.

How could could someone protest at are dead men and womens funerals

Then don’t overturn the stolen valor act, ammend it to include for the gain of anything, such as a job or whatever and increase the penalty. Don’t take take away the stolen valor act, enforce it! I have been it he Navy for almost 16 years and have met Silver Star recipients and a purple Heart recipients, I am appalled that people would fake these awards and need to be punished. As for the Westbrook church, well they will face god and have to answer for their sins, it is not their job to police the a tons of others, I serve with people that are gay and can tell you that serving while gay and having to live with that is tough enough, let them choose. I once heard someone say that is being gay is a choice, then why can’t a straight person choose to be gay? Why would someone put themselves through all that anguish? Just to be different? I don’t think so. God created all people and I believe that I live with tolerance in my heart then I will be ok in his eyes, if it is wrong, then they will answer for it, it’s not my job to convince them otherwise.

Why can you not have free speech on the ground of a Federal Court House.? But you can when some service person is being laid to rest

Yes, everyone has the right to their freedom of speach… unless they are attempting to exercise their freedom of religion while attending a government event or while they are located on government property.

We can no longer pray in school. We can no longer display religious symbols on government property. Organizations like the Freedom From Religion group have been able to get judges to rule that I cannot exercise my freedom of religion if it infringes on their rights.

Westboro Church’s members are exercising their freedom of speach while at the same time they are infringing on my right to privacy and my right to freedom of religion. The constitution that gives them their freedom of speach was defended by the soldiers against whom they protest. If Westboro doesn’t like the way our country defends our Constitution then they are free to move to another country where they can protest the funerals of military members all they want. I guarantee that they won’t receive the same protections anywhere else in the world.

Stand up and show respect to my brothers in arms who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us don’t have to.

There is no chance that the law will be upheld. The Supreme court already ruled that it was (though tasteless, disrespectful, and deliberately malicious) a form of speech protected under the constitution. Therefore, congress passed a law that they knew would be struck down in order to look good for upcoming elections. A sad waste of time for political reasons when there are more important issues facing the nation today.

grow up

Well said!!!

You know, here’s an idea that I not only personally advocate, but would gladly help lead the effort if I and my family lived anywhere close to the supposed church and their ilbegotten ministerial staff.

Why not promote getting a group of say, thosands or more people together (if possible) and utilize our own rights to freedom of speech, not to legitimize the stupidity of the idiots at the Westboro Church, but rather to stage an extended round the clock protest of this supposed church, their leadership and their members by surrounding all known structures, residences and functions conducted by the Westboro Church with “protesters for respect and decency” until these people get the message or until they are so exhausted from the continual noise and occupation around them that they slink away for good? No problem.

Well Said CSM–

American justice when the supreme court washes it hands of these radicals. My thoughts are the honor guards are allowed to break ranks and do some serious butt kissing with their Garand rifles but no, America is so tied up with civil rights, amendments and all other types of crap, these scum from Westboro are allowed to get away with it.
I bet their pastor is a real doozy full of charm and goodwill.

While the Constitution guarantees individuals freedom of speech, the government retains the right to restrict the time, place, and manner to regulate speech . You cannot express yourself anywhere and say anything. For instance you can’t go in and disturb courts in session and if you do you will be held in contempt of court . Here the new law allows the protest– but limits when it can occur and how close it can be held. I’m pretty sure restrictions also exist on protestors who regularly picket abortion clinics and attempt to block abortions which remain a legal right at this time. The law passed restricting speech has to be able to survive a constitutional challenge.

Yes, show some respect. After all, it is a militay funeral. These people “answered the call.“
Personally, I wish no one would “answer the call” and all the militaries all
over the world would say, “Hell no, we won’t go!” War is a racket.

Westboro Baptist is shameful! Laws to restrict its action of dishonoring falling members of the military, or who orherwise protect America, is in order. Firsr amendment is not unristricted, it should not apply to those things that undermine the “will of the people,” and esentially mock what is important to the majority of Americans.
Thak you Senator Snow, and President Obama for passing this wise law.

I am surprised this cult hasn’t ever been convicted or even brought up on charges of domestic terrorism. Their entire purpose is to cause pain and suffering to as many Americans as possible.

We need a profesional military. Not one that needs the abrogation of the first amendment to protect it from name calling.

You only have to read the comments above to see that what burns like a thousand suns is the lack of respect our military thinks is owed to it. History tells us that this is classic entitlement attitude of the losing side of a war. After 50 years of not being able to win a war our military has the disease bad.

Its gotten so bad that the army now has to conduct classes for demobed men letting them know they are not going into the real world to get jobs as CEOs and places on dancing with the stars. But waiting tables at arbys if they are lucky.

We have taken tens of tousands of low end Americans — given them an incredible sense of entitlement, told them that they deserve it even though they have failed in two wars and now we are going to dump them back into the bottom a declining economy.

Its little wonder that they run amok shooting up temples, and hardly surprising when they cant tell the difference between pakistani muslims and indian sihks despite multiple tours.

The solution is well known, spread them out, dont let them go back to the cities, send them to rural America for 10 years to labor on farms and increase our spending combatting the inevitable increase in domestic terrorism.

I think that a contingent of Vietnam Vets armed with baseball bats, practicing their homerun swings upside the protesters heads, would assure compliance with respectful future action by members of this church.

For those defending their right to free speech, this law still does that. Nothing in the Constitution says you can’t control when and where they can protest. The majority of funerals sites are on PRIVATE property, whether the public has access or not, and the protesters can be prevented from protesting on private property, and when they can enter that property to protest.

These people are the lowest scum and the ******* of America. I am a retired Army Soldier and I left my family for extended periods of time, dodged bullets, endured extream heat, missed my childrens birthday and school graduations so these Americans can protest the death of my Army brothers and sisters, I think NOT! If and when I run into one of these people, I WILL show them what hand to hand combat is all about

Their freedom to speak ends where mine begins. They are not protesting the government and they are not doing it in a peaceful manner. They are disrupting solemn ceremonies where fallen soldiers are being laid to rest and their families are mourning. This is utterly disrespectful, regardless of their views and opinions of who those soldiers were. The families deserve better than this. This “church” isn’t protesting, they are simply disturbing the peace.And yes, I heartily agree with Sean, we the people need to remember our rights, including the Second Amendment…

Families should have the right to bury a loved one with dignity and without the Westboro DEVILS ! If they were to show up at a funeral for any of my family you can count on the fact it would make headline news.

The new law is NOT taking away anyone’s RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. It is putting a restriction on when and how far away anyone can protest at a funeral. Our Military has put their lives on the line for our freedom and they deserve as well as their families a peace interment. In my opinion regardless of any reasoning behind it, familes and friends of anyone that passes has the right to say final good byes without bs from anyone. I recently lost my husband and I can honestly say grief and and anger are not a good combination. If the Supreme Court should over turn this new law, regardless of it supposing to be a life time appointment, every last one of them need to be removed and replaced. As for Westboro, they are giving Christians a bad rap.

I think that the SCOTUS will support this as funeral services are a solemn occasion and Westburro Church protesting during these services could cause some serious reactions from those attending the services by insighting attendees in to violent acts. Additionally their action surely isn’t a Christian tenant which with repeated incidents could jeopardize their standing with our LORD.

The law doesn’t restrict their first amendment. It doesn’t prohibit them from protesting, just that they can’t do it in a certain during a certain period of time. They still have the right to say, write, or even protest just not at or during the funeral.

Westbro baptists are the biggest mary sues.…

Interesting! My dictionary does not have “alienable” in it. I better get another and look it up. Is your point that the rights do or don’t have strings attached to them. AKA responsibilities? Sounds like your argument is a good one.

Thank you.

I find it extremely sad that this has to be even considered a law, or why our government has to deal with issues like this. These people are whack jobs. They are a cult. We had an airman pass away in the next town over and the people in this area did what a thankful american should do, pay your respects to a service member defending their country. We had the westboro cult here. And unfortunately, our tax dollars paid for 6 state troopers to stand by their side to protect “their” rights.
Now from the P#$$%^ off veterans side, I absolutely hate the fact that we , the government, have to protect these people. Do you honestly think the police would protect a KKK group if they protested a black funeral? I also wonder, if one of their own pass away, do they protest it and say God hates gays?


I am half white, half Native American. Half of my ancestors kinda’ killed the other half. Yes, half of my tribe was killed by small pox blankets delivered by the U.S. gov’t way back in the day, and my grandmother was sent to a boarding school out west where she was forbidden to speak our native language. She was beaten, and forced to become Christian. This was during the early 20th century. It’s not that long ago in our history, but the winners teach history, so not many people know this was happening in our country. She was forced to learn the Christian religion and forget our religion, this is why I absolutely hate Christianity and think it is a crock of … you know, only meant to lead people and take their money (tithe), but I will not hold that against the country I live in. I have forgiven because I can’t do anything about it, and it is a different world now, and I don’t think it could happen again. Regardless of all that I have taken the oath to defend our people and constitution multiple times, and I will keep doing so, honorably, until I am too old. I don’t like this law because even those idiots in Kansas deserve our constitutions protection. We can’t only protect those we agree with. Laws like this are scary because even a regular old non lawyer type guy like me can see that this might be eroding away what I have sworn to protect. It’s just like the patriot act. I love this country and we need to preserve everyones rights if we want to remain on the moral high ground.

I agree that they have the right to protest. But, their right to protest ends where my rights begin. Military families have the right to privacy and the right to not be molested while burying their loved ones. I believe this law is completely constitutional.

The day I expect or welcome homosexuals (sic) to stand between me and my enemy will not come. Weakness in battle is more a liability. If they do not care about coming to terms with their weakness and moral bankruptcy then I will find a way to make my way through life without their aid(s). Make no mistake, I don’t care what they do with their life just don’t try to tell me I must accept that. As a 27 year military vet I can assure you that by far the greatest majority of military members are NOT in favor of living their life with homosexuals (sic). Anyone who says otherwise is just engaging in social engineering. On the subject of the affliction being a disease… Nah. Illness? Yeah. Illustration; Some years ago in Amsterdam at around 11 PM I watched as 6 young men walking down the street stopped and gathered around one of the group who urinated in a paper cup and then tossed the contents into the air while the group turned their faces upward and thrust their tongues out. Yep, I promise you that happened. Honest injun. Not an embellishment. Is that not sick? If you think that is not a direct affront and supreme insult to common decency then you are a big, big part of the problem. So you can attack me I don’t care, I’m right and you are wrong. Stronger message to follow if required.

All I can say about your post is that it appears you’ve never served. Any veteran worth their weight would feel debased, dishonored, and disillusioned by a government that would allow an a-hole to perpetrate a fraud by ‘pretending’ to be a service member for glory sake. If he had portrayed himself as a policeman, fireman, FBI or other law enforcement agent — REGARDLESS of whether personal gain was involved or not — he would have been prosecuted for a federal offense. But wait — here comes dickweed who never amounted to anything other being a pothead who and meth addict who wears a uniform and says, ‘please have pity on me, I got this way because of the war,’ and you want to say e’s not a bad person, just misunderstood. Wake the hell up — its an a front to the decency of the country, a slap in the face of every vet out there who served whether he got personal gain or not (and just for the record — visual recognition is a form of gain, especially when it generates sympathy), and dishonors every person. Who ever died wearing a uniform protecting and serving the people and the nation. Westboro ISN’T about protesting homosexuals or the war, it’s about freaking publicity.

If the draft were added and these Westboro people (term used reluctantly) were drafted, they would come up with a million and one reasons to end up 4F (I think that is the term for unfit for duty?) and not be in the military.

So for all of you wanting the draft for them, I am sorry, but it likely just won’t work.

I think these Westboro fanatics will eventually have some atrocity commited against them when someone attacks them like what happened to that Sihk temple recently. I am just surprised it has not happened already. I do not condone violence such as this however, and I am not coming to the USA to do anything like that. Unfortunately when this pastor dies, his followers are already indocrinated enough to continue the campaign against Military as well as gays.

As a former soldier, I find their actions deplorable, and that were I an American citizen I would be one of the proud members standing between these fanatics and the funeral services.

Here is the thing. They twist the Bible the same way that other fanatics twist the words of the Koran. No real baptist would say such hateful things out of respect for the person who died, or for the loved ones who have lost a family member. They have no respect for people not of their group. To be fair I suppose we should not have to respect them but then we would be no better than them.

Be well and safe! And that goes for ALL members of the military, in all countries as well! Gay or not!

I’m glad to see that someone in congress finally open there eyes and heart to the dead VET. and family. So they can have the closer and respect they should have.

If congress or the supreme court fails to protect the families and our fallen comrads the patriot guard riders will stand in honor of them. God Bless the Patriot Guard.

you are correct, however they are doing neither. i abhor what they do, but, as an American, i respect our constitution, and the right to free speech, no matter how horrendous it may be, is something we must all acknowledge. congress has acted within their right to further protect the funerals, however the court was right in saying the westboro baptist church has the right to protest in the way they do.

Why are we letting them do this the men and women that are in the service are there for one reason to protect America, its people and its allies I don’t see why people have to hate our military we have a strong military to protect us I for one respect our nation’s military. I have a cousin in the marines and he works hard to keep our country safe even if he is enemy intelligence branch I don’t care when the time comes and I have to enlist I will do it proudly to serve my country even if it means death I don’t know why people have to wish for dead soldiers they are just doing they job to protect our country and its allies di have to wish for dead sol

there is no charge because it is not a criminal act. just because you dont like it, doesnt make it illegal. i think theyre evil monsters who will burn in front of their creator, but we must allow them to buil their own pyre.

because burning a cross on someone else land is trespassing and destruction of property. ill say it again, these people are monsters, but the 1st amendment is there to protect unpopular speech. popular speech doesnt need to be protected because its popular.

amen TOM.

not entirely true. the “right to peace” does not exist anywhere in our constitution, or we would have no wars. im not defending the filth in which this article was written about, im defending everyone else right to be free. these are inalienable rights. (no unalienable rights as the politicians call them) they are doing no physical harm to anyone, they are not trespassing, they are not inciting riots as some people want to claim, they are protesting, which is protected under our constitution. just like if you didnt like something, you can protest it, and be protected under the same rights. you cant partially defend freedom, you have to defend it all.

correct, because you would be trespassing. but for no other reason.

I think the picketing at the funerals is BS. if it wasn’t for out troops in the military they wouldn’t have the freedoms that they have today. Let our fallen rest in peace that’s the least they have earned. To all the military past, present, and future I thank you for.

you cant waive someone else rights though, just because you dont like what theyre saying.

I think the picketing at the funerals is BS. if it wasn’t for out troops in the military they wouldn’t have the freedoms that they have today. Let our fallen rest in peace that’s the least they have earned.

I think the picketing at the funerals is BS. if it wasn’t for out troops in the military they wouldn’t have the freedoms that they have today.

I think the picketing at the funerals is Messed Up. if it wasn’t for out troops in the military they wouldn’t have the freedoms that they have today. Let our fallen rest in peace that’s the least they have earned. To all the military past, present, and future I thank you for.

Absolutely correct, Dog Face. Everyone and everything is good for something…and these SOBs are a good example of hatefulness and prejudice. May each and every congregant of this so-called Christian church rot in Hell!

listen up!! how difficult can this be? ready?? ok… this wonderful ammendment gives us the right to have our say,
speak our peace. all this w/out fear of retribution or unwelcome visits in the night. that’s what it does​.so far,so good
if you don’t get it ‚you never will.

Their right to free speech has not been infringed. They can say and do what they have previously done, just not within earshot of the mourners. So, they must end their show prior to the funeral/burial services; and they must be out of sight by distance to the participants in the services. We have the freedom to express ourselves, but that does not give us free reign to say or do without some restriction. If I believe in nudity as a form of self-expression, I am not allowed to walk about freely unclothed. As a society, we can dictate what is MORALLY wrong. I believe that that is what is being done here.


Freedom of Speech and the Freedom to assemble peaceably DOES has their limits.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes observed that:
“Freedom of speech does not give one the right to yell “FIRE” in a crowded theatre just for the hell of it”.
Common courtesy and common sense should dictate where anti-military protests should be allowed.
Since people are subject to arrest for protesting in the immediate vicinity of US military installations, the same process of protection should follow for US military cemeteries AND the funerals of our honored fallen warriors.

Dang Dude, I can’t argue your point. You make a lot of sense !

What a disgrace to anyone, be they service members KIA or not, this is plain ” haters ” acting out using the Word of God. Nothing new there, but this is 2012, isn’t it ? Thanks to the President to pushing through a law that allowed such actions under 1st Amendment rights, no less !!

Well said but you are more accepting than I.

The Westboro bunch ought to be prosecuted for tax fraud as the “church” appears to be a front for a political action committee.

the quote is “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth I will repay sayeth the LORD”, God is saying it is not our place to get revenge, if “repayment” is needed, he will take care of it

300 feet? 2 hours before?
Define a protest.
All this bunch needs to do is not carry signs or say anything, they can wear T shirts and chant or sing.
All of a sudden we went from a protest to a social gathering.
They could call it a prayer group and get away with it!
The solution is not in the courts.
The solution is in all of us getting off our collective ass and outnumbering this bunch.
They hate homo? we give them homo! remember M*A*S*H? I can bet we have plenty of actors amongst us.
They hate military? boy can we give them military! no acting required.
Just find out everything about them, name, address, phone numbers, credit card numbers, etc, and put this on a sign the same size that they carry, one each, and follow them around, that should work.
And, of course, the correct dress and attitude.

Somehow I don’t think it’s hard to argue families rights to life and the pursuit of happiness is being infringed when they bury one of their own if these folks are allowed by the same government to engage in that behavior. Technically there isn’t a right to free speech in the Constitution, it’s in the bill of rights which are amendments. The Constitution actually states life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Seems like such an easy argument for government to make in my mind.

When it comes to members of congress and the white house the protesters will be physically moved to a location far away from the original protest site. But for a man or woman that has given their life for this country the protesters will only be moved back 300 feet! OUTRAGIOUS!!! I have more respect for those that have sacrificed everything, for the freedoms of this country, than I do of those that are running it!

I come from three generations of military and personally servrd 20 years honorably in the United States Navy. We owe our fallen sons and daughters the dignity of a decent burial. Shame on the opportunistic people who are using these funerals to promote their own selfish agendas.

One thing we need to keep in mind…

The Constitution itself gives the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, something the Westboro “freedom of speech” violates.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

“And the Lord’s servant must not be qurrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” 2 Timothy 2:4

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36

Sadly, this new law will not stand constitutional scrutiny either.

This is true. Real Christians are taught pray for the sinner and taught to love as Jesus does. Besides God loves everyone including Westbrook Baptist Church.


and my right to stand there and yell louder than they do at what idiots they are.

As a veteran, I say this new law is WRONG. I fought — and these servicemen died — for the right of all people to free speech. That right is only tested when the speech is unpopular.

It’s this law — not the WBC idiots — who are disrespecting the dead vets.

I think we should just drop 10 Jdam’s on that church and end this crap.

The first ammendment protects freedom of speech so long as its not slanderous or abusive (which religious accusations such as “God hates your feelings” or “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” are both slanderous and abusive in nature which there are laws against). I’ve served for 11 years so far and I work with someone who claims to be bi-sexual, doesn’t make us treat him any different other than the occasional snide remark or comment which he actually doesn’t mind at all. People need a more open view of things, and a church of all groups should not be speaking out in the way they are. Show me where in the Bible it states that God “Hates” anyone… can’t find it? that’s because he doesn’t hate any of us. Oh, btw, Smile, God Loves You!

But to have one person, the pastor of the church, to incite the rest of the people in his church,to protest.HE as a person, son of a father, father of a family, husband to a wife, Or Just aTraitor to the United States of America.

They are not saying they cannot express their 1st amendment rights just that they cannot disrespect someone who has given their lives for our country at their funerals. I am a military brat, my dad has been in for over 10 years and these people make me sick. I thank God my dad is still safe but i’ve known people who have lost dear friends and loved ones. These people are no different than the damn KKK or white supremists, i say the next time they try to picket a fallen heros funeral we ship their asses over there to see what they thank “god” for, it is not God they represent and these american heroes are willing to give their lives for america and they go through hell over there.

The Federal Government must protect Free Speech however cities and towns can make laws requiring permits (including a cost) to protest and where such protest can take place and times. As long as these laws apply to everyone equally then no free speech rights are violated.

It would be appropiate to preserve the Constitution in the following manner: That during funeral sessions the surronding property will be leased by the family for funeral services only. Now the property is protected. This will prohibit the protesting and will not violate the rights of the people. Private lease is not a government violation.


My solution to Westbooro Baptist Church is do what the Russians did back them, Up root the entire family and send them off to a Gulag or somewhere where deep in Alaska where they will never, ever be heard from again. Make it very hard for them to leave Alaska.
I love this. Very well put, if it were not for the fact that this would trample a metric f***ton of Constitutional rights. But for the sake of what I’ll term “hypothetical window-shopping”… yeah, that would be awesome. Palin can have a field day with them.

If you are accepting donations for their plane ticket„„I’ll donate!

Thank you Sir, for the honorable contribution you and yours have done.

Yep, it was a protection from Britain… That makes PERFECT sense. Y’know, since by the time the Constitution was adopted on September 17th, 1787, a full FOUR YEARS after Britain recognized US sovereignty in the Treaty of Paris. The Constitution didn’t even go into effect until 1789! And the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, weren’t ratified until 1791. They had absolutely NOTHING to do with protecting ANYONE from Britain! The Bill of Rights was meant to protect us from OUR OWN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, which now seems more interested in running roughshod over said rights. Even though I think that WBC is despicable and vomitous, they are guaranteed the right to be so, in the same way that my right to say that I hope they fall off the face of the earth is. The real problem in the US today is that only a very few know what our rights and responsibilities are. Now, Boomer, if you are one of our brave and wonderful soldiers, I suggest you take some time to really acquaint yourself with the history of that document which you swore an oath to support and defend. If not, then you should probably learn the history of the document that defines your rights as a citizen, and sets the boundaries for your government.

Great timing. Right before the election.

Ben, have you ever had the Westboro Baptist church protest and one of your family members funeral? I doubt it. But if you ever do, please.… let me knw. Then I will ask you what your opinion is. I’m happy that you are not a Lawmaker. You really make me sick with your pompous attitude. You probably wouldn’t have a concern with them coming into a concert rictal or school play of your child, reeking havic with ruining the event, right????? I think you would. You are a straight up IDIOT.

Ben, what you are saying is literally true. Your words are correct. You need to lose the tunnel vision. Anybody with morals knows it’s not right. What they are doing is wrong. It is evil and mean spirited. They are using the law and the falling soldiers who died fighting for our country as a tool for there own agenda. They are hurting families who are already suffering. Where is the compassionate/concern for the family. Can you explain the laws that prohibit people from yelling “BOMB” in an airport? How about threatening someones life? Technically, using your logic, that is an infringement on your right to free speech????? But, you have no rebuttal for that?

Palm Bay FL last week 08 August … hundreds of local (and not so local) patriots assembled near funeral location as a human shield. http://​spacecoastdaily​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​8​/​h​u​n​d​r​e​d​s​-​h​o​nor

These are some of the best comments I’ve read on both sides of the free speech issue. I admire the efforts of Congress to provide respectful services to our fallen heroes. In discussing the flag-burning issue with my government class some years ago, Rep. Charles Stenholm said this, “That case was in my district, and I always thought the police should have just stayed out of it and left the issue to some of the ‘good ole boys’ of Ft. Worth.” Well, I’d like to be one of the “good ole gals” dealing with some of the Westboro bunch. They would definitely need some medical attention before they staged another protest.

Just one thing Mr Dog Face.… Patriot Guard. Look it up on Google since you don’t mention it here at all.
Exercising the right of free speech in shielding the families from protestors is what they do. If you care
about or fallen then join us.

So for the friends and families to have to adhere to this sort of behavior during the final “good bye” to their loved ones is acceptable? It appears to me that the rights to Free Speech, Freedom of Religion (and freedom to practice that religion) as well as Freedom from Persecution are all being trampled on by Westboro Baptist Church. (an organization I remind you is said to be of GOD). FINALLY! President Obama has done something good for this country. I too serve this country and uphold the Constitution of the United States; AGAINST ENEMIES FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.

This is something that I would not take part of because it is very disrespectful, however these individuals that are doing this, is exercising their right to free domain of speech. It would be one thing if they were saying go and harm someone or say something that is defamatory. What I’m afraid is if this becomes law than this can open the gates abuse by the government and big corporations that influence the government to favor them.

It’s not a hate crime. Please explain to me how this is a hate crime, because someone does like like what they have to say they turn this into a crime? I can see how this will be abused.

salutes Jeff Goodiel! Patriot Guard Riders are a God send.. even if the new law will prohibit certain actions from these advocates of satan, they still have a great impact on the families that have been effected by their protests. So, i dont think the law will do much.. but we have much more support than these idiots because of all the veterans out there willing to go above and beyond to protect these military families. God Bless!

I am a Veteran who served in the United States Arm Force and they deported me. So I know what they are capable of doing, So it don’t make a diffrent what you do who cares.

WBC is going to picket the funerals of the school children that were shot by a sniper.

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