Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Constitution does not Yield to Anyone

I disagreed with Sarah Palin today.  Generally I am right in tune with her politically speaking.
I am fiscally conservative.  So is she. 
I am ProLife.  So is she. 
I am opposed to gun control.  So is she.  
I am for protecting the first amendment and the right to free speech.  And this is where it ends.

Yesterday, the SCOTUS handed down an 8 to 1 decision that the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to protest at funerals.

Can we dissect that statement for a minute?

Eight of the Nine Supreme Court Justices agreed on a court case that is controversial.
Four were appointed by Democratic Presidents, Four by Republican Presidents. These eight cover nearly every demographic spectrum that is possible and still have them all be lawyers and/or former judges.

Antonin Scalia

I would argue that many of them, like many Americans believe the speech of the Westboro Baptist Church members is repugnant, disgusting and awful.  And yet, despite their Judeo-Christian beliefs they were able to rule that this disgusting, horrible, demeaning spectacle is constitutionally protected speech.  And I applaud them.

Eight of them ruled in no uncertain terms the right to say what you believe is more important than the impact of that speech in one the most sacred events a human can be a part of.  Eight of our Justices upheld the Constitution, despite how they feel about what is being said.  Eight Justices proved yesterday that the Constitution is more important than any one person, group or idealogy.

Like many Americans my heart breaks for the families and loved ones who have to endure this at a funeral.  Like many Americans, I am disgusted at the thought of these people wrapping themselves in the vestiges of my religion and arming themselves with MY God and perverting the teachings beyond what was ever intended.  

However what Governor Palin tweeted was not about the religion I know either.  Her tweet is "Common sense & decency absent as wacko 'church' allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers' funerals but we can't invoke God's name in public square," the former Alaska governor tweeted. I agree with the sentiment, she is frustrated by the near persecution of the Christian faith these days.  So am I.

However, we do not improve that situation by limiting our freedoms elsewhere.  We do not protect our rights by persecuting others for using those same rights.  If we were to support that certain words are allowable at certain times and not others, we are by definition limiting the freedom of speech.  I agree our forefathers never intended the first amendment to protect THIS kind of speech.  But I’m pretty confident they never envisioned guns that could mow down 20 people in less than a minute either.

The point is that the Constitution doesn’t just protect those rights we agree with but all rights that are granted us by our Creator.