Mills v. Westboro Baptist Church
Consider John Stuart Mill –a purveyor of freedom of speech. Despite his enthusiasm for everyone’s right to speak their mind, he also has guidelines and exceptions to his argument.
Fast forward to present day, where the air we breathe is wasted on the swine of the Westboro Baptist Church. To those who don’t know of these lunatics, they are religious buffoons who infamously picket the funerals of our country’ fallen soldiers. Throughout the services they hold signs saying how God hates the troops and how they hope for more soldier deaths. These actions are disturbing and adds even more pain and suffering to the families whose loved ones have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms – so why haven’t the scum of WBC been disbanded or punished?
Unfortunately, the Constitution is a double-edged sword as it gives these imbeciles the right to do such things. The church has been hit with numerous lawsuits for their sick actions. However, they always manage to weasel themselves out of it claiming how they are exercising their right to free speech.
Hypothetically imagine that the WBC is being prosecuted and that Mills is deciding the verdict. Based on what he have learned so far, he would not hesitate to lock these criminals up. Mills would be disgusted with the actions of this organization. In fact, the WBC would be the very “nuisance” that he spoke of in our readings last week. They are abusing their liberties and committing actions that are what Mills believes to be the hazards of giving individuals freedom of speech. Earlier in discussion, we learned of how Mills’ conveys the freedom of speech to an extent that it does not harm others, nor does it spread falsities or encourage to cause harm. However, this “church” inflicts pain and trauma to any family member at these funerals. In addition to picketing, WBC also demonstrates with signs propagating how God hates homosexuals and encouraging death and violence upon them. Such hateful words are false because nobody really knows what God may feel and it can easily entice weak-minded watchers to attack homosexuals. Mills would not see the WBC as exercising their right to speak their opinion. Rather, he’d say their abusing their freedom.
I’m interested to see how others feel on this issue. Please comment!