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Sarah Palin Takes Issue With Supreme Court and Westboro Baptist Church

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The Supreme Court has ruled that the speech of some of the most hateful people in this country is protected by the First Amendment. The Phelps family’s Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is constitutionally entitled to spew their hate of pretty much everything and everyone by way of speech, placard and their presence – but so is everyone else. (It will be interesting to see what kind of turnout a Phelps funeral would have.)

Sarah Palin used Twitter to denounce the ruling, saying, “Common sense & decency absent as wacko ‘church’ allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square.” Hold on there, Mrs. Palin. The WBC members are invoking God’s name in the public square. Get your hate straight. The way the WBC members do it is flat out reprehensible. Nonetheless, they are doing the same thing many a religious person has done time and again throughout the history of our nation. And all of them, including you Mrs. Palin, have been protected by the First Amendment.

The same amendment that protects a U.S. citizen’s right to free speech also protects that citizen’s right to exercise their religion. Many a religious person will tell you this means we have freedom of religion and not freedom from religion, even as they condemn the way WBC exercises their religion.

Mrs. Palin’s outcry may sound good to her own faithful following, but her hypocrisy is glaring. She operates under the delusion that her disdain for gay people is somehow more palatable and more worthy of constitutional protection than that of the WBC.

Our freedoms of are not also our freedoms from because one cannot exist without the other. This means we are publicly subjected to everything and everyone.

Unfortunately, this has come to include the bunny-in-a-blender (courtesy of Pro-life group American Life League), Mrs. Palin’s loose grasp of the English language and her random geographical and religious-based definitions of what constitutes a “real American,” and the WBC’s hate-filled, vile stew of human waste.

If you want to live in a country where some expressions are not constitutionally protected while still maintaining a decent standard of living, public cleanliness and level of safety, there’s always Germany.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • bielie

    Sorry I’m confused
    Did she slam the fact that the court allows WBC to picket or disallows the mention of God’s name in public?
    Her tweet is seriously ambiguous.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    For a decent standard of living, public cleanliness and level of safety, there’s always Germany.

    Without meaning to gross anyone out, I gagged on my donut when I read that final line in your article. It does, after all, come within 24 hours of news that, in what investigators are calling “a possible act of Islamic terrorism,” a Muslim gunman at the Frankfurt airport opened fire on a U.S. Air Force bus carrying 15 unarmed American airmen, killing two and seriously injuring two others.

    Now, please run that part about “level of safety” by me again, Diana.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ diana hartman

    Alan, glad to run it by you again. First, please keep the subject-changing to a minimum. I’ve lived in Germany since 2003 without event. In that time my Stateside family members have experienced break-ins, muggings and car accidents caused by lawbreakers. They have been witness to or in the vicinity of (w/in a block and in one instance in the same building) of shootings, murders and robberies. Using the Frankfurt shooting to propel an argument of any kind is a waste of time.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ diana hartman

    bielie, she’s slamming the fact that the court allows WBC to picket and she is wrongly asserting she can’t mention God’s name in public.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Get your hate straight.

    I like it. A couple of other things, though: first, Republicans have their own constitution (the wikiconstitution anyone can rewrite) and second, Palin is unfamiliar with the Larry Flynt case.

    Tommy

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I enjoyed Germany while I was there…Ulm was a very cool little town.

    I never could find Ausfahrt though. I kept taking that exit, but I never found the town of Ausfahrt! Seems every exit leads to it, but I never could find it…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Oh, that easy to find, Andy. Turn left at Dachau.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    LOL @ Andy.

    Reminds me of the first time my family went on holiday in Wales back when I was a kid (just after the fall of Constantinople). We kept seeing these signs everywhere pointing to something called “Llwybr Cyhoeddus”, but we couldn’t find it on any maps. So eventually my dad asked someone where it was.

    “It means ‘public footpath’,” the man said.

  • laughwell

    I can’t believe any human being would even think of this bimbo woman in any policial office let alone the office of the President—people are we dumbing down? . It seems she’s accomplished a lot in Alaska by being vindictive, cute and winking and blinking, without any real, substantive, serious scrutiny. Worse than Palin is the group of people who think she has something to offer and who give her money to support her smoke screen.

    God Bless America.

  • Dan

    “she’s slamming the fact that the court allows WBC to picket and she is wrongly asserting she can’t mention God’s name in public.”—diana hartman

    diana, can you think of any instance where courts have prevented people from mentioning God’s name in the “public square”? I can think of many. Perhaps that is what Sarah is on about.

    yep, I think that is certainly it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ diana hartman

    Dan, please substantiate. What U.S. citizen in what state was legally barred from and/or arrested for saying “God” in public?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If Gov. Palin complains in public that she can’t mention God’s name in public, hasn’t she just disproved her own statement?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ diana hartman

    What Alan said.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Alan is trading on the distinction between “use” and “mention.”

  • Baronius

    I think there’s a different distinction that has to be made: public as visible (WBC) versus public as official governmental (what I think Palin’s talking about).

  • Dan

    diana gives a prime example of Palin derangement syndrome: let’s pretend Sarah means the mere mention of the word “God” by any individual citizen at all times in any public place or setting.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Then, Baronius, Palin doesn’t understand the distinction she makes, or if she does she doesn’t accept it.

    For example, a child saying grace by herself before lunch at her public school is perfectly within her rights to do so. She is exercising her constitutionally protected free expression of religion, as is the WBC.

    A teacher leading the saying of grace in the same school is not. She is in violation of the Establishment Clause, which the courts have interpreted to encompass any religious expression or ritual that is, or appears to be, officially endorsed by a governmental agency. This is why printing “In God We Trust” on US currency is unconstitutional, as is the inclusion of the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance when recited in public school classrooms.

    So I have absolutely no problem with Palin thanking God in one of her speeches, or whatever she wants to do. She’s a private citizen: she holds no public office.

    If Palin wants to go after the WBC, she’ll have to get them on public order rather than constitutional grounds, although they know the law extremely well (Phelps is a lawyer by profession) and usually stay on just the right side of it.

  • Dan

    There’s example number 2.

  • ossi

    wooooa, steady on my friend. Are you trying to get the cuckoo lady to come over to Germany? Don’t you dare. We are quite happy here and she can stay in her little house and stare out at Russia.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Dan, you didn’t even read my comment.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    #8 is priceless – I think most of us who’ve traveled a bit can greatly appreciate the anecdote!

    I remember one time that my wife and I (before we were married) were going to have dinner with her sister and brother-in-law. I knew her sister was pregnant, so I asked her how to say “Are you pregnant?” in Tagalog. My wife replied, “Buntis ka na?”

    So I practiced that line several times before we arrived – “Buntis ka na, buntis ka na….” As we were eating dinner the conversation paused, so I took the opportunity to ask, “Butas ka ba?” (note the italics)

    Everyone got very quiet and I thought to myself, oh crap, what’d I do now? Come to find out that “Butas” means “hole”, so I effectively asked my sister-in-law if she had a hole! To this day I am grateful to my brother-in-law for not killing me on the spot.

    Yeah, learning a different language can get pretty interesting….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Certainly can, Glenn.

    According to this, saying the wrong thing can even start wars…

  • zingzing

    the difference between what phelps’ people do and what these people do is that one would be backed by palin and the other would not, and nothing else, and that’s a damn inconsistency. palin should learn her constitution. as unfortunate as the constitution’s rules can be at times, they’re there for a reason.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Nice mini-article, Diana. Palin’s tweets are mostly good for laughs, but often she is too appallingly tunnel-visioned to be funny.

  • El Bicho

    I was curious how SC would rule. While WBC speech should be protected, as vile as it is, I wondered if Brandenburg v. Ohio might be referenced as their speech could lead to a riot, which wouldn’t suprise me if they go to the wrong funeral.

    No surprise Dan doesn’t understand.

  • Cannonshop

    #23 Actually, Zing, I think you’re wrong about Palin “approving” anything of the sort.

    Unless you meant that she’d approve of a religious organization doing a drive to help the less fortunate, but I think y’all are talking about the assholes with the signs and bullhorns.

    Just because it’s what YOU would do, doesn’t mean your opponents have the same values, or value-system.

  • Big T.

    I’ve always thought the country that gave us Hitler should be used as a model that all other countries should strive to be like.

  • Dan

    “Dan, you didn’t even read my comment”—Dreadful

    Sure DD. Nice 8th grade tutorial on Constitutional protections of religous speech. (as they are currently misunderstood)

    Unfortunately the issue in this case is simple intentional infliction of emotional distress. No one was questioning whether the westboros are a governmental entity.

    Sarah Palin was simply and obviously commenting on the irony that so many historical and traditional observances of God (the Christian one) have been struck down, while this one is upheld. Regardless of the current accepted understanding of the phrase “separation of church and state” as it is not found in the Constitution.

    Sarah Palin is Einsteinian compared to her dunce detractors.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Perhaps, Dan, you could point out to me the part of my comment in which I said that Sarah Palin meant all mentions of God in public.

    I sure don’t remember writing it, but you know, that could just be the Alzheimer’s.

    Or perhaps you just saw my name up there and leapt to conclusions about what I had said.

    Nice 8th grade tutorial on Constitutional protections of religous speech.

    Sometimes necessary to enlighten those with a sub-8th grade understanding of same.

    (as they are currently misunderstood)

    Whether I agree with you or not on this point (I don’t), I was careful to say that this is the current interpretation.

    Sarah Palin was simply and obviously commenting on the irony that so many historical and traditional observances of God (the Christian one) have been struck down, while this one is upheld.

    That’s your interpretation. How sure can you really be (based on her previous statements and actions, and not being privy to what goes on inside her skull) that it is indeed what she meant?

    Regardless of the current accepted understanding of the phrase “separation of church and state” as it is not found in the Constitution.

    1. What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” doesn’t indicate the desire of the founders for there to be a separation of the two entities?
    2. There are plenty of constitutional principles which aren’t to be found verbatim in the US Constitution, including for example the right to privacy.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Conservatives tend to want to read the first amendment as “government should keep its scaly hands off religions, churches, and people of faith.” Liberals tend to read it as “churches and zealots should keep their paws [and prejudices] out of political institutions.”

    But the two views are not incompatible. It has been the custom of conservatives for the last 50-60 years to take a paranoid view of their own status and of most government action — even when they are in power!

  • Cannonshop

    Suspecting the motives of people who will prostitute themselves for power isn’t a vice, Handy, it’s common sense. The crazy shit people who want high office will put up with, do, and say to get it, and the expense, alone marks them as folks you maybe (if you have any sense) should not be too trusting of.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Be as suspicious as you want, but unless you base your suspicions on facts rather than emotion, caricature and innuendo, then it’s all just hot air.

  • bruce

    i counter picked the phelps with a sign that said free bjs from the westboro whores.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    That’s great, Bruce. But which “bjs” did you have in mind? According to Wikipedia, BJS may refer to:
    • Beijing Capital International Airport
    • Beijing Subway
    • Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a political party in India
    • BJ’s Wholesale Club
    • British Journal of Sociology
    • British Journal of Surgery
    • Bryan Jay Singer, film director
    • Bureau of Justice Statistics
    • Big John Studd, former professional wrestler

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’d be pissed at my parents if they gave me initials like that…it’d be like naming your kid Dick…it just ain’t right!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If Bruce’s own initials are BJS, that would give him reason enough to “counter pick” the Phelps.

  • bruce

    they were going to disrupt my nephews funeral but did not show because you can get lost in our forests and never be found.

  • bruce

    where does it say in our constitution that there is a separation of church and state?all this shit came from progressive judges who hated the constitution.holmes,bradise,brennan,marshall.warren all of whom should be forgotten.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    There are several state names that are tricky to spell, including some that aren’t spelled the way they’re pronounced:

    • Arkansas
    • Connecticut
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Massachusetts
    • Mississippi
    • Rhode Island
    • Tennessee

    But I can’t think of one that’s easier to spell than Maine.

  • troll

    you know what I like about main…no poisonous snakes like you find in and around the Westboro Baptist Church

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    If Bruce is an exemplar, then there are no schools in “main” either. I think I’d rather live in a state that has both schools and poisonous snakes. If I’m sufficiently educated, I should have no trouble avoiding snakes, and education has many other advantages besides snake avoidance.

  • Clavos

    We don’t have schools in Florida (at least, not ones worthy of the designation), but we have all 4 North American poisonous snakes (the reptilian variety), plus multitudes of the two-legged ones, most of whom are found in in Tallahassee.

  • Dan

    “Perhaps, Dan, you could point out to me the part of my comment in which I said that Sarah Palin meant all mentions of God in public.”—Dreadful

    Perhaps, DD, you could point out to me the part of my comment in which I said you said Sarah Palin meant all mentions of God in public. Sheesh! maybe it is the Alzheimers.

    What makes these scurrilous, half baked attacks on Sarah Palins imaginary “misspeaks” all the more pathological is that they come amidst genuine, absurdly stupid comments regularly emanating from the Obama administration.

    Imagine the liberal nose bleeds, shrieking and howling if Sarah were to say that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wasn’t a dictator. Or described the Muslim Brotherhood as “largely secular”.

    Perhaps closer to the truth, but just as stupid, was Attorney General Eric Holders’ “my people” comment during testimony about why mentally deficient, club wielding Black Panthers got away with chasing white people away from a voting precinct without proper punishment.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful


    Perhaps, DD, you could point out to me the part of my comment in which I said you said Sarah Palin meant all mentions of God in public.

    Certainly:

    Dan, comment # 16: “diana gives a prime example of Palin derangement syndrome: let’s pretend Sarah means the mere mention of the word “God” by any individual citizen at all times in any public place or setting.”

    Dreadful, #17: “Blah di blah di, blah, blah blah; blah di blah di (blah di blah) blah blah blah blah.”

    Dan, #18: “There’s example number 2.”