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Aclu Fails A Decency Test  
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 1 month 19 hours ago) and read 1221 times:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2006/07/22/AR2006072200643.html

Quote:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Friday in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on behalf of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church, which has outraged mourning communities by picketing service members' funerals with signs condemning homosexuality.

Well.. I guess people can't claim that the ACLU is never on the side of religion...

But really, ... Westboro Baptist?

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 19 hours ago) and read 1211 times:

This surprises whom?

On the very, very, very rare occasion the ACLU might have their heads out of rectal defilade and actually do so good - those occasionas are offset instantly by this type of asininity . . .


User currently offlineIAH777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 0 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 16 hours ago) and read 1172 times:

I move to put the American Criminal Liberties Union on the terrorist watch list.

User currently offlineMBMBOS From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 15 hours ago) and read 1158 times:

Not so fast.

How does one prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting outside of funerals without compromising first amendment rights in general? It's pretty challenging, actually.

The ACLU's mission is to challenge infringement - any infringement - to our civil liberties. The ACLU remains indifferent to popular sentiment. And this doesn't make them many friends.

The vast majority of Americans find it repugnant that this church would interfere during a time of family sorrow. It's hard to appreciate an organization that would defend them.

But I would encourage you to consider the significant role that the ACLU plays in our country - to act as a watch dog over our civil liberties and the challenge the logic behind popular movements that erode our liberties.

- MBM


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29795 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 14 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
But I would encourage you to consider the significant role that the ACLU plays in our country - to act as a watch dog over our civil liberties and the challenge the logic behind popular movements that erode our liberties.

I would not describe NAMBLA as a popular movement.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 14 hours ago) and read 1140 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 4):
Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
But I would encourage you to consider the significant role that the ACLU plays in our country - to act as a watch dog over our civil liberties and the challenge the logic behind popular movements that erode our liberties.

I would not describe NAMBLA as a popular movement.

The ACLU does not limit itself to popular movements. As you rightly state, NAMBLA, the KKK, Fred Phelps and his band of insane nutjobs aren't exactly popular.

What the ACLU does represent is freedom of speech, be it for morons or geniuses. Let NAMBLA, the KKK, Fred Phelps say what they have to say and let Americans decide for themselves the sheer hideousness or idiocy of their cause. I find it offensive that Fred Phelps waves banners stating "God Hates Fags," or that some pathetic old man stands on a soapboax and states that he wants to bugger a 16-year old, but I can live with their rants. By muffling Phelps, for instance, he goes underground, turns into a martyr and becomes even more pestilential. And by letting some NAMBLA toad croak on about his cause, doesn't mean that the ACLU supports NAMBLA's cause, just their unfettered right to babble about it.


User currently offlineMaury From United States of America, joined May 2005, 532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 13 hours ago) and read 1128 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
The ACLU's mission is to challenge infringement - any infringement - to our civil liberties. The ACLU remains indifferent to popular sentiment. And this doesn't make them many friends.

It's hard for some of our friends on the right to see shades of gray in their black-and-white world.


User currently offlineMBMBOS From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 12 hours ago) and read 1123 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 4):
I would not describe NAMBLA as a popular movement.

...then you've misunderstood me. That the ACLU defends NAMBLA, the KKK and Fred Phelps against popular mainstream attitudes demonstrates my point. The ACLU stands as guardian for civil liberties against popular sentiment (in the above examples, popular sentiment against them).


User currently offlineKilljoy From Finland, joined Dec 1999, 646 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1089 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
The ACLU's mission is to challenge infringement - any infringement - to our civil liberties. The ACLU remains indifferent to popular sentiment. And this doesn't make them many friends.

...which I've personally never understood. I appreciate them a lot, and I'm not even American. It's surreal that people can't see past the injustices in their own little world.

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 5):
that some pathetic old man stands on a soapboax and states that he wants to bugger a 16-year old

Aren't 16-year olds legal in most places? In any case, I wouldn't exactly consider someone who wants to fuck them a pedophile.


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1080 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
How does one prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting outside of funerals without compromising first amendment rights in general?

By telling them to move down the street to hold their protest.

The first amendment is not by any means an all encompassing right to say anything you want to anywhere you choose. Specifically not protected is any speech which by it's utterance could cause a reasonable man to commit violence.

Now, is it safe to say that camping outside a funeral and shouting at the family that god killed their son because they allowed gay people to exist... maybe could by it's utterance cause a reasonable man to commit violence?

Of course, and it's a minor miracle that some family member hasn't killed Phelps yet. So no, the little westboro circus isn't protected speech under the first amendment...

Which leads us to a question: Does the ACLU really believe that such speech couldn't elicit violence from and average person, or are they just stirring the pot?

Quoting Killjoy (Reply 8):
Aren't 16-year olds legal in most places? In any case, I wouldn't exactly consider someone who wants to fuck them a pedophile.

That's tough then, since the law in the US does consider anyone that bangs a sixteen year old to be a pedophile.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1070 times:
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Quoting Jaysit (Reply 5):
What the ACLU does represent is freedom of speech, be it for morons or geniuses. Let NAMBLA, the KKK, Fred Phelps say what they have to say and let Americans decide for themselves the sheer hideousness or idiocy of their cause. I find it offensive that Fred Phelps waves banners stating "God Hates Fags," or that some pathetic old man stands on a soapboax and states that he wants to bugger a 16-year old, but I can live with their rants. By muffling Phelps, for instance, he goes underground, turns into a martyr and becomes even more pestilential. And by letting some NAMBLA toad croak on about his cause, doesn't mean that the ACLU supports NAMBLA's cause, just their unfettered right to babble about it.

what he said.....

Quoting Killjoy (Reply 8):
Quoting Jaysit (Reply 5):
that some pathetic old man stands on a soapboax and states that he wants to bugger a 16-year old

Aren't 16-year olds legal in most places? In any case, I wouldn't exactly consider someone who wants to fuck them a pedophile.

Not in the US. They are considered minors unless emancipated until age 18. You actually have to be 21 to drink in this country.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12241 posts, RR: 35
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1069 times:
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Quoting MDorBust (Reply 9):
That's tough then, since the law in the US does consider anyone that bangs a sixteen year old to be a pedophile.

Some states have 16 as the age of consent, with exceptions to this rule of course.



911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlineMBMBOS From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1060 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 9):
By telling them to move down the street to hold their protest.

The Missouri law bans any such activity "in front of or about" a cemetary. What if we banished any sort of protest from occurring "in front of or about" the center of activity? One could argue that not allowing protests onsite effectively undermines that act of protest, thereby interfering with freedom of speech.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 9):
Of course, and it's a minor miracle that some family member hasn't killed Phelps yet.

I've got to warn you that this argument - that "for the protection and general welfare" of the crowd requires a very high standard by the courts. They are loathe to use this excuse (and most of the time, it is an excuse) unless it can be demonstrated.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 9):
...or are they just stirring the pot?

So your theory is that the ACLU is merely a bunch of trouble makers who get their jollies by taking unpopular cases to court? I think they are a little more complex than that. And the issue is more complex than you think.

I think there are serious problems with banning groups like this from protesting. I don't like what they do. I think it's terribly ugly. But I am far more concerned about what we do to erode a fundamental set of rights that protects us as individuals and as a society. We have seen abuse of our laws at times in our country (Communist witch hunts of the fifties) and we have seen other countries completely part from the rule of law set forth in their country (Germany 1930s).

I don't always agree with the ACLU, but I'm glad they are there as a hardcore advocate for our civil liberties.


User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 8 hours ago) and read 1054 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Thread starter):
Aclu Fails A Decency Test

There's a surprise!!


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 5 hours ago) and read 1026 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
The Missouri law bans any such activity "in front of or about" a cemetary. What if we banished any sort of protest from occurring "in front of or about" the center of activity?

I hope you are familiar with the legal concept of being void for vagueness.

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
One could argue that not allowing protests onsite effectively undermines that act of protest, thereby interfering with freedom of speech.

One could also argue that with the easy of modern instant global communication one could hold their protest at any location in the world and effectively achieve the same level, or better, of anaudience for their demonstration without having to actually be at the site of what is being protested against.


One could further argue that by insisting on being at the funeral the church group is deliberately accepting a limitation of the spread of their message in order to directly influence the persons attending the funeral. The family of the deceased. As the family of the deceased are highly unlikely to effect political change their protest is stripped of any constitutional protections as it's intent is solely to injure the family of the deceased and not to effect political discourse.

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
I've got to warn you that this argument - that "for the protection and general welfare" of the crowd requires a very high standard by the courts. They are loathe to use this excuse (and most of the time, it is an excuse) unless it can be demonstrated.

So loathe to use it that it's standard penal code in every state?

Disorderly conduct:
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
(1) uses abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace;

Which brings us back to my original question: How far fetched is it to think a bereaved parent might just crack skulls when one of these twits starts spouting their garbage at him?

Very likely and very understandable.

There is zero constitutional protection for this form of speech because of the audience they have chosen. They have no intent what so ever to effect and form of political discourse or change. Their intent is solely to cause injury to the people at the funeral. If their intent was truly that of political motivation they would seek an actual audience.

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
So your theory is that the ACLU is merely a bunch of trouble makers who get their jollies by taking unpopular cases to court?

Nine times out of ten.

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
I think there are serious problems with banning groups like this from protesting.

Missouri, nor I, suggest banning them from protesting.

We both side with banning them from protesting in a location that is highly likely to cause serious problems and is specifically directed to harm people. They can protest anywhere they want and the message will be the same. They direct their protests at the funeral specifically to target the family members of the deceased. Take the protest to a shopping mall parking lot where you aren't likely to run into the family of the recently deceased.


User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3527 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 4 hours ago) and read 1007 times:

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 3):
How does one prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting outside of funerals without compromising first amendment rights in general? It's pretty challenging, actually.

It is good this law is being challenged (just to make sure it meets judicial review), but it looks like it will hold up in the end (which is okay by me). You see, Constitutionally, this law should hold up because the law is "narrowly tailored" and is only a restriction on the time, place, and manner of the speech, not on the speech itself. Not only that, but their speech definitely fall under the "Fighting Words" Doctrine of speech.

There are a few cases in First Amendment Case Law one could point to for fighting words, but I'm going to use Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire 315 US 568 (1942). Chaplinsky was a Jehovah's Witness who was preaching on a street corner. He was approached by a New Hampshire law enforcement officer and told to stop preaching.

Chaplinsky responded, "You are a God-damned racketeer" and "a damned Fascist," and was arrested. The case went to the Supreme Court and they upheld the arrest, stating basically that in certain circumstances, and only in narrow and well defined classes of speech, the "prevention and punishment of [speech] have never been thought to be Constitutional Problems." These intances include the "lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or "fighting words" those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." They go on to state that this type of speech carries with it almost no political or social value and has little benefit to culture or society as a whole.

I do think that holding up signs in front of a soldiers funeral that say "Fag Troops" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" could easily be construed as fighting words of inflammatory speech

Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):

The Missouri law bans any such activity "in front of or about" a cemetary. What if we banished any sort of protest from occurring "in front of or about" the center of activity? One could argue that not allowing protests onsite effectively undermines that act of protest, thereby interfering with freedom of speech.

Again, Time Place and Manner restrictions...the speech itself is not restricted, they can still say whatever they want, and keep their "God Hates Fag's" website up...they juts cannot do so outside or within so many feet of a funeral/funeral home.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 3 hours ago) and read 993 times:

Quoting Planespotting (Reply 15):
I do think that holding up signs in front of a soldiers funeral that say "Fag Troops" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" could easily be construed as fighting words of inflammatory speech

They've been doing this for over a decade now, and those in the so-called mainstream didn't give a damn. I suppose many in Congress actually believed in his rancid rants and his trademark cry of "God Hates Fags." Well, back then I supported Phelp's abuse of free speech, and I support it today. For Congress to suddenly waste its time in muzzling free speech when its politically expedient for them smacks of the worst hypocrisy. It sets a dangerous precedent too.


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 971 times:

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 16):
For Congress to suddenly waste its time in muzzling free speech when its politically expedient for them smacks of the worst hypocrisy.

Congress has done no such thing.


User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 963 times:

Like it or not the ACLU is one of the most consistent organizations we have here in this country. Their only goal is to defend the constitutional rights of every American no matter how far off the reservation their views may be.

The simple fact is that those people and groups whose views are generally accepted by the populace at large do not need the ACLU or organizations like the ACLU for defense because people will rush to defend them. It is those on the fringes who need the protection of the ACLU, and the constitution first.

We are often told that freedom isn't free and that it must be defended from time to time...very true. But it is only when we are all free to express our feelings, no matter how batshit insane they may be, that we can truly say that freedom exists. Otherwise freedom is simply an illusion not worth defending at all.



"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 958 times:

I'm going to throw a wrench into this argument by asking the question:

Don't families also have the civil liberty to mourn and bury their dead in peace?


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 2 hours ago) and read 955 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 18):
We are often told that freedom isn't free and that it must be defended from time to time...very true. But it is only when we are all free to express our feelings, no matter how batshit insane they may be, that we can truly say that freedom exists. Otherwise freedom is simply an illusion not worth defending at all.

As much as I would love to live in a world in which the masses actually upheld the social contract, and all behaved with great responsibility and respect towards one another, do you really think such a thing is truly possible?

If we did truly live in a world where, "we are all free to express our feelings, no matter how batshit insane they may be" then that would be a world in which a true to the bone racist could walk through a completely minority neighborhood yelling off color epithets without any fear of repercussion. Of course, that would also be a world where the racist, or Fred Phelps wouldn't exist... so it's a mutually exclusive exercise. We live in a world with the racist, Fred Phelps, and those who would take them apart for the hateful, sordid things they spread.

Until that very utopian day comes, we have a government charge with not only protecting our rights, but maintaining the peace which is quite frequently upset by those that would abuse the very rights the government is charged with protecting. It's not a perfect world we live in, so it must be a world in which we have imperfect rights.


User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 1 hour ago) and read 943 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 20):
we did truly live in a world where, "we are all free to express our feelings, no matter how batshit insane they may be" then that would be a world in which a true to the bone racist could walk through a completely minority neighborhood yelling off color epithets without any fear of repercussion. Of course, that would also be a world where the racist, or Fred Phelps wouldn't exist... so it's a mutually exclusive exercise. We live in a world with the racist, Fred Phelps, and those who would take them apart for the hateful, sordid things they spread.

Very true, but at the end of the day what has come from your scenario? As long as no physical harm has taken place, and the residents of said minority neighborhood were free to express themselves against the raving lunatic in their midst, then what crime has been committed?

It sounds like you want to draw lines, lines between acceptable and unacceptable opinion's to express. I think that we can all agree that Phelps and his fellow christofacists fall far on the other side of whatever line may be drawn. But my question to you is who draws that line? What are their qualifications, prejudices, biases? It's fair to say that we as a society would never be able to agree on where exactly these arbitrary lines would be drawn, so why draw them at all?

This appears to be the true price of living in a free society. The necessity of ignoring those whose actions would naturally draw us to violence is the burden we must bear, for the alternative is something we would never be able to face. It is not about utopia, but rather it is the flaws that are inherent to any free society.



"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (8 years 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 925 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 21):
Very true, but at the end of the day what has come from your scenario? As long as no physical harm has taken place, and the residents of said minority neighborhood were free to express themselves against the raving lunatic in their midst, then what crime has been committed?

Do you really think that such a thing could happen without violence being committed? There may be a very, very small chance of a person getting away unharmed... but it's not very likely.

And the crime committed would be disorderly conduct/disturing the peace/inciting to riot.

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 21):
It sounds like you want to draw lines, lines between acceptable and unacceptable opinion's to express.

Nope.

Express any opinion you want. Just find a venue or method to express it that isn't likely to cause a violent reaction.

The racist puke can vent his vitriol all he wants, just not next to those most likely to pound his head in. There's a reason why cities are allowed to deny hate groups permits to march.

Mr. Phelps and his family can spout off all they want about how they think god hates the US because of gay people, but not next to the family of the deceased.


User currently offlineMBMBOS From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (8 years 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 903 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 14):
Missouri, nor I, suggest banning them from protesting.



Quoting Planespotting (Reply 15):
they juts cannot do so outside or within so many feet of a funeral/funeral home.

...which opens the door to restricting where other protests can take place. If you restrict marches on Washington to take place only in Baltimore, then you have effectively disabled a form of free speech, i.e., taking your protest to the source. So, restricting the where becomes problematic.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 14):
Quoting MBMBOS (Reply 12):
So your theory is that the ACLU is merely a bunch of trouble makers who get their jollies by taking unpopular cases to court?

Nine times out of ten.

Nine times out of ten? Okay, well you lose a whole lot of credibility with me when you make sweeping, simple assumptions like that.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 14):
So loathe to use it that it's standard penal code in every state?

Disorderly conduct:

Do judges write the penal code? And why are you bringing up "disorderly conduct"? We're talking public protest and freedom of speech. You're stretching here.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 14):
...could hold their protest at any location in the world and effectively achieve the same level, or better...

Again, you're stretching. Why take away any part of a liberty? Oh, yes, because things could turn into a riot and people could get hurt, which can be said of pretty much any protest. (And that's why judges view such arguments with a jaundice eye).

Furthermore, a restriction such as this naturally raises questions and skepticism. How might such a restriction affect a liberty adversely in the future?

To recap once again, I don't always agree with the ACLU's stances and I don't always want them to win their lawsuits. But I think they serve a necessary purpose in our society; they act as a natural protection of socio-political trends and fads. They put our laws to the test of consistency.


User currently offlineDrDeke From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 830 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 893 times:

Quoting Killjoy (Reply 8):

...which I've personally never understood. I appreciate them a lot, and I'm not even American. It's surreal that people can't see past the injustices in their own little world.

Yeah it is. It's surreal, and sad.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 9):
That's tough then, since the law in the US does consider anyone that bangs a sixteen year old to be a pedophile.

You're wrong. The age of consent is 16 in many states.

-DrDeke



If you don't want it known, don't say it on a phone.
25 Planespotting : No. You see, legislation banning protest within an extremely large distance of some object or event would not be "narrowly drawn," which is one of th
26 Post contains images Searpqx : I can't stand Phelps & Crew, and I found his protests abhorrent way back when he was just focusing on us 'fags'. While the cynical side of me recogni
27 MDorBust : The funeral has the valid compelling interest of the reaction of the grieving family. What's your valid compelling interest in relocating protests to
28 Cfalk : I think you just hit the nail on the head without even realizing it. It is the ACLU, not "the right", as you call it, that sees the world in black an
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