Journal

Free Speech

There's been a lot of press lately about the Supreme Court decision regarding the efforts of the Westboro Baptist Church to share their beliefs with the rest of the world whether they want to hear them or not.  As much as I cringe every time I see them in the news I have to agree with the court, free speech has to be open to all regardless of who finds the speech offensive.  What I find interesting, and perhaps more troubling is that every story I read in the mainstream press describes the group as a fanatical cult, a fringe element who's opinions are repulsive to just about everyone.  One article I read recently made mention of the "ridiculous idea that someone could speak for God or could know God's thoughts."  Perhaps for a lot of people that would seem absurd but it strikes me as very close to the opinions held by thousands of fundamentalist Christians in our society.  It was only ten years ago that Jerry Falwell went on TV to say that the attacks of September 11th were due to America's acceptance of gays.  Doesn't sound that different than Pastor Phelps.  Pat Robertson, another evangelist with a large audience echoed those statements.  Spend some time in a fundamentalist church and I'll wager you'll hear plenty of ideas presented as coming directly from God via the pastor.  The world is filled with what we teachers like to call "teachable moments" I think this is just such a moment.  The thought I'd like you to consider is this; just how far away is the position of Westboro from many of the comments you hear on TV and radio daily.  How many steps would it take for some people who might say they disagree with the tactics of Pastor Phelps and family to join him.  How many people, if asked, might agree with the premise of Phelps' opinion that "God hates fags" but choose not to employ his street theater?  This might be a good time to ask ourselves which side we're standing on.

Kevin on Social Media

Listen to This!