On Westboro Baptist Church

Politics is not really our beat at AHC. There are others that do that and, besides, the pickings are just too easy. An outpouring of confused but genuine sentiment on Facebook after the Westboro decision though prompted a post there. The Harvard and co folks at FB, though, also believe ordered thought can be limited to a set number of characters. So while I managed to get my thoughts up there I am redoing so here. My politics are too libertarian to allow this moment to pass.

Today I am finding it really hard to believe that the words liberty and liberal share the same origins and roots. I am shocked and saddened to discover that so many people I know, well-intentioned though they may think they are, stand ready and willing to sacrifice “the blessings of liberty” on the altar of hurt feelings and emotional distress.

The USA is an imperfect country. But our rights are our rights and that includes acting like a complete fool and calling it politics or religion. When our liberties are held hostage to and constrained by anything as vague, personal and subjective as feelings, no matter how strongly felt, we risk the very roots of our being as a people.

Make not the grave mistake of Justice Alito: the Westboro Baptist Church is not seeking anyone’s approbation. They are exercising their right to take a stance, make a statement and try to persuade others. And that’s no different than the rights being exercised by any other group that meets, marches or gathers signatures.

I can live with misguided fools who intrude on private pain. I am terrified that any American, let alone any who would be known as a liberal, is ready to let the state play a role in deciding what is and what is not appropriate speech. (Or any other behavior for that matter.)


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