So on my drive in this morning, I was listening to NPR’s coverage of the Phelps case that goes before the Supreme Court today. And for the second time this year, I find myself having to side with someone I dislike and don’t approve of.
The case, for those who might not be aware, is about the Westboro Baptist Church protest at a funeral for a soldier who was killed in Iraq. The details of the case are here.
Now I’d like to make something clear: I do not like Phelps. I don’t agree with his protests. I don’t think he should be doing this in the first place. It’s distasteful, it’s pandering to the media, and it’s disrespectful.
As I said, this is the SECOND time this year that I’ve had to stand with free speech over something I find distasteful. The other was the “crush video” decision. Do I agree with the people doing it, watching it, or producing it? No. HELL no.
Do I support their right to post their content on the internet? I HAVE to. Why?
Just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean that I have the right to prevent them from speaking. And if I’m afraid my children will see something they’re not supposed to, it doesn’t mean I should ban that content. It means I should do a better job AS A PARENT in monitoring what they have access to, as well as teaching them to make the right decisions.
And it pains me to support Phelps. It does. I think, personally, he’s a fucktard who needs to get over it already and STFU. I don’t want to support ANYTHING to do with this guy.
But I have to, because I believe in your right, and my right, to say what we want, how we want, when and where we want. Even when it’s disagreeable, distasteful, or downright unpleasant for me.
Because if I don’t defend your right to free speech, or Phelp’s right to free speech, who will defend MY right to free speech?
But nobody says I have to LIKE it.
 With the usual caveats as illustrated in Brandenburg vs. Ohio and related rulings.