Sunday, July 23, 2006

ACLU Defends Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Kansas based hate group lead by Fred Phelps. The group got its start protesting funerals of gays and lesbians. At the funeral of Mathew Shepard the Phelps clan held signs that read "God Hates Fags", "Matt's in Hell", and "AIDS Cures Fags".
Some other signs I have seen the Phelps group holding are, "Thank God for 9/11" and "God Blew Up the Shuttle".
Recently the Phelps group has been protesting at the funerals of soldiers that have died in Iraq. Fred Phelps says that the reason these soldiers are dying is because god hates America for tolerating gays and lesbians.
A number of states have enacted laws in response to the protests. Most of the laws ban demonstrations from happening near a cemetery where a funeral is being held. The ACLU is arguing that these new laws infringe on religious freedom and the right of free speech.

As a gay man I completely abhor Fred Phelps and his clan. They have protested at the funerals of gay men who have been murdered and those that have died of AIDS. The extra pain that they cause grieving families to go through is repulsive.
I have even counter-protested the Phelps clan when they came to Massachusetts last year. They came to a few schools around the state to protest gay/straight alliances. I joined others in the state as we chanted, "gay youth under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!" and "go home, don't come back!"
Nevertheless I commend the ACLU for taking this case and fighting for the rights of Fred Phelps. The ACLU will do what it takes to protect the constitution of this country. The 1st amendment rights of Fred Phelps are exactly the same 1st amendment rights of us all. If we allow our government to stomp on his rights, what will stop them from taking away our rights next? If the government can strip the Phelps clan of their rights because of what they are saying, then we all lose. The constitution and the bill of rights are more important defeating Fred Phelps.
The ACLU warned the state of Minnesota
that the popular push to ban protests at military funerals may actually end up causing the state to finance future protests by the followers of Fred Phelps.
“Speech that is cruel, distasteful and upsetting is still protected by
the First Amendment, and by leaving the state on precarious legal footing, what this bill is doing is encouraging Phelps to sue, and have the state help fund his operations.”
The irony in all this is
that Fred Phelps claims that god hates America. Yet it is the United States constitution that guarantees him the right to carry his disgusting signs and shout "God Hates Fags" in public.
Down with Fred Phelps! Cheers to the ACLU!


At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GodHatesFags is one of the most hateful sites I've ever been to. The sound byte of Matthew Shephard screaming from hell sends shivers up my spine whenever I think about it. I hope someday the site comes down, or expires.

At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Chris! I'm with you a thousand percent on the issue of how repulsive Phelps is, and the importance of his rights.

Progressives who want to increase the government's power to limit what people can say are really missing the big picture and clearly don't know history. (The Smith Act anyone?)

The solution to negative speech is more free speech, and if we believe we are right we should want to keep the dialogue going. And you're not only right on the issue of speech, but you're showing exactly how it's done right here.

Great job my friend!


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