Sunday, May 9, 2010

What the Hell

I'm writing this early on Saturday morning, so by the time I post it, the funeral for Yeardley Love will be over.

I wish I could say that the plans for that "Church" to come to the services for Ms Love did not come true, and that they did not show up with their abhorrent signs, but they say they are going to be there, and I guess that means they will.

By now you are familiar with this group of people and what they stand for. They believe that because America gives freedom to people to love whom they wish, that America is doomed by a vengeful God, and we will all pay a hellish price for disobeying Him.

I don't support this way of thinking. But as the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
(This quote often is attributed to Voltaire, and he would probably defend Ms Hall's right to say what she said.)

It's a hell of a thing, freedom and liberty and your Constitutional guarantee of free speech. You need look no farther than our Constitution to see this in the Bill of Rights:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So, it's just like one of those deals where to get this, you also have to take that. There are magazines, books, and radio talk shows around with the type of content that literally turns the stomachs of most people. But we cannot deny them their right of printing or saying what they wish. A few years ago, some group of people put out a newspaper here in town, and someone went around late at night, placing the papers on porches, just as countless pizza shops, maid services, lawn guys and home security businesses do. I can't recall for sure what the point these folks were trying to get across was...racism, hatred of this or that, whatever. It was wrong-headed, whatever it was, but so were the actions of the local cops, who sent squad cars around neighborhoods to go porch-to-porch and pick up the papers. One of the greatest things about our country is, if you have a computer and a printer, you may write to your heart's content and print out the contents of your heart's content and go hand out your printouts to your heart's content.

Try that in Iraq.

American ingenuity being the finest in all the world, some Americans came up with the idea of forming a group called the Patriot Guard Riders, guys and gals who show up where the WBC protesters are going, to serve as a shield so that the bereaved might see less of these repellent activities. Their website does not list them as planning to attend Ms Love's funeral to help out, but maybe someone else will.

It's tough to say this, and we all wish there were another way to have freedom, but the very notion of limiting one group or one person, no matter how repugnant, would also mean that tomorrow, your group or your church or you yourself might have the right of free speech clipped. You want to read Shakespeare, and Larry Flynt gets to publish what he wants to as well.

Just consider the source when you see this type of protest, and think about what sort of mind-crippling, soul-reducing malady these people came down with at some point.

And the next time you drink a nice cool glass of ice water, think about how much these people are really going to want one just like it someday!

No comments: