Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day, and to thank everyone for taking a moment to honor America's fallen heroes for paying the ultimate price to secure our freedom. God bless our soldiers past and present, and God bless those who have died in action, as well as their families.

I'd also like to give a big middle finger to Fred Phelps, the rabidly hateful anti-gay "Baptist" in Topeka, Kansas. It looks like your slimy ilk just took one in the posterior, an appropriate metaphor considering your "church's" rasion d'etre. From the AP:
President Bush, marking Memorial Day with a speech paying tribute to fighting men and women lost in war, signed into law Monday a bill that keeps demonstrators from disrupting military funerals.

In advance of his speech and a wreath-laying at America's most hallowed burial ground for military heroes, Bush signed the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act." This was largely in response to the activities of a Kansas church group that has staged protests at military funerals around the country, claiming the deaths symbolized God's anger at U.S. tolerance of homosexuals.

The new law bars protests within 300 feet of the entrance of a national cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery. This restriction applies an hour before until an hour after a funeral. Those violating the act would face up to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
A couple of observations about the story:

1. I somewhat resent the title of it: "Bush bans protests at military funerals". Technically, Bush banned nothing. He signed into law a ban that Congress implemented. I'm nitpicking, I know, but words mean things, and I think that the AP writer Nedra Pickler (not always known for her impartiality) frames this to look like Bush did it all by himself or at his initiative: "Bush bans protest!"

2. I do have a slight problem with the law, in that it restricts speech that is universally found to be unpopular...which is kind of the reason for the First Amendment. However, having said that...

3. The courts have found that laws keeping anti-abortion protestors X feet from abortion clinics are constitutional, since their actual right to protest hasn't been removed. If anti-abortion protestors can be kept a certain distance from clinics (which, by the way, I support), then I don't see why the same can't be done to some anti-gay bigots who want to harrass fallen soldiers' families. They can still spew their bile, just not too close to the funeral.

Get the KY and grab the ankles, Mr. Phelps...then go call your ACLU attorney.