I fully support First Amendment free speech - if we don't allow Westburo Baptist, the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Black Panthers, etc, to voice their opinions in public, how will we know who the fruitcakes are? But the constitutional right to free speech is different than making a nuisance of yourself at a family's grief.

 

But I will make this observation . . . you NEVER read about Atheists doing shit like this. Atheists don't fly planes into buildings, don't turn themselves into "Holy Explosions", don't shoot Doctors because they perform services they don't like, don't rape, pillage and burn the folks in the next village because they believe differently.

 

So . . . someone tell me again how 'people can't be moral WITHOUT religion????

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Part of free speech can be making a nuisance of yourself at a family's grief. Hell, just telling someone we're atheist's risks doing that because we're telling believers (implicitly or not) that their loved ones didn't climb the stairway to heaven so they could jam out on their celestial harps with Jesus, they're rotting in the ground and live on only in memory. For many people, that's traumatic. While I think part of being a good, caring person is taking other people's feelings into consideration (which leads me to disagree with what the Phelps cult is doing), you can't take peoples feelings into consideration when figuring out First Amendment rights. There is no right to not have your feelings hurt, but there is a right to unobstructed speech. If you start qualifying the 1st Amendment with "as long as you're not being a nuisance," then there won't be any free speech because anything someone doesn't like could be considered being a nuisance.

So, in essence, the 1st amendment is the right to be a nuisance, at least verbally.
Hell, just telling someone we're atheist's risks doing that because we're telling believers (implicitly or not) that their loved ones didn't climb the stairway to heaven so they could jam out on their celestial harps with Jesus, they're rotting in the ground and live on only in memory. For many people, that's traumatic.

We're worse than gay-rights groups in one significant way, which causes part of the reaction we get.  The gay rights groups weren't telling people that they should be gay, too.  We're even more threatening.

Westburo Baptist is the best advertisement for atheism EVER!
A number of the Phelps are lawyers. They know exactly how far they can and cannot go and seem to stay as close to the line as possible. There tactic guarantee's media attention and a maximum audience for their message.  The plus side of this is that it might cause a few Christians to rethink some of their bigotry.
I'm not so sure about that. Or at least, they didn't always. Fred Phelps was disbarred for harassing the opposing counsel, publicly posting information about alleged sex acts, etc.

Fred himself was disbarred, but other members of the family (including Shirley Roper-Phelps, who seems to be the main media spokesperson for the Phelps cult) are lawyers as well. And they sue the hell out of anyone who opposes them or gets ticked at them, thus ensuring more money to travel and what not. The father of the solider who sued has to cough up something like $116K to them for their legal fees, and he lamented that all this would do is ensure they could keep up their act.

 

Bunch of sorry-ass bastards, the Phelps clan...

That's sad. I know that courts sometimes award someone a "nominal" amount if technically they're right, but they're real jerks. I wish the Supreme Court would have done that.

 

Yes, Shirley is now taking over for her dad. Maybe everyone else got more legally savvy after Fred got disbarred. I know they now encourage all the kids to go to law school. Being a lawyer and extorting money out of people is the family income!

"

But I will make this observation . . . you NEVER read about Atheists doing shit like this. Atheists don't fly planes into buildings, don't turn themselves into "Holy Explosions", don't shoot Doctors because they perform services they don't like, don't rape, pillage and burn the folks in the next village because they believe differently.

 

So . . . someone tell me again how 'people can't be moral WITHOUT religion????"

 

Awesome - may I use this as a signature quote?

Be my quest!

 

You NEVER hear about atheists doing a LOT of stuff.

In point of fact:  Atheists Never....

I agree that while it makes me throw up a little in my mouth to support anything that in turn supports WBC, I absolutely support the court's ruling.

 

I also find it interesting that the buzz among my Theist FB friends is that the court should have ruled the other way, while most of my Atheist friends feel the same way you do here. My right to offend you = your right to offend me.

 

Plus, like you say, it's a handy way to ID the true wackjobs, and as Edward says they are a fabulous advertisement for Atheism.

Interesting observation.

 

Perhaps . . .  bigotry supports religion, while open-mindedness invites atheism?

 

Perhaps.

 

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