Our First Amendment is sometimes a tricky thing, the two biggest caveats obviously being freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In fact, those two aspects of our First Amendment often intertwine. The trick to the “freedom of…” is that for the most part you don’t get to pick and choose who enjoys those freedoms. When you say Americans have the right to free speech, religion, or anything else, that gives all Americans that right – even the most detestable among us.
I’ve often used the Ku Klux Klan as an example. While I harbor nothing but pure animosity and disgust toward the infamous white supremacy hate group, I fully support their right to exist. I can’t in good conscience say I’m an American who respects the freedom of speech if I’m going to censor those with which I disagree.
Another one of these groups is the Westboro Baptist Church. Now these bottom-feeding parasites I loathe with every ounce of my being. While I’ll never wish anything bad on anyone, if a ball of fire fell from the sky and obliterated every single member of that “church” – I can’t say I wouldn’t raise a toast to humanity being a lot better off without them.
Well, as we all know their big “thing” is protesting funerals (or at least threatening to). That’s what they apparently plan to do for the victims of the Lafayette movie theater shooting – something that should come as a surprise to nobody who’s heard of them.
That being said, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has promised to arrest Westboro protestors if they disrupt any of these funerals.
“If they come here to Louisiana, if they try to disrupt this funeral, we’re gonna lock them up,” Jindal said. “We won’t abide by that here. Let these families grieve, in peace.”
Just one problem: He can’t legally do that.
If they follow the same protocols they’ve done many times before, they’re legally allowed to do what they’ve been doing for years. While it’s disgusting and one of the most vile acts routinely carried out by any hate group, the fact of the matter is they are within their rights to hold these “protests.” As long as they’re not breaking any laws, he can’t touch them.
But I also can’t help but spot the massive hypocrisy in Jindal’s comments. After all, isn’t he one of the biggest defenders of “religious freedom” in this country? And aren’t his views on homosexuality fairly similar to those of the Westboro Baptist Church? They believe that God punishes the world for accepting homosexuality and many members of his own party believe God’s going to punish the United States for legalizing gay marriage.
Honestly, what’s really so different between believing that God would use natural disasters to “punish people,” disasters that often result in the loss of many lives, and believing that a mass shooting is also a punishment? Both groups believe in the pretense that the acceptance of homosexuality is a “sin” and that “God’s wrath” is going to punish us all for accepting it.
While one group is clearly more repugnant than the other, they basically believe many of the same things. They just have different ways that they go about expressing their Biblical beliefs and their objections to homosexuality and gay rights.
Hell, just a few weeks prior to this shooting, Jindal blamed gun violence on a lack of religion.
So, while I agree with Jindal that these families should be left alone to grieve in peace, I just can’t help but notice the glaring hypocrisy of a staunch anti-gay advocate, and religious fanatic, claiming to be appalled by a group of deplorable bottom-feeders who share many of the same radical views on homosexuality and gay rights as he does.
And when you get right down to it, the Westboro Baptist Church is basically just an extremely radical anti-gay – and religiously driven – hate group. A group that just so happens to share many of the same beliefs about gay rights and homosexuality as many members of the Republican party.
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