Why You Should Loudly Support Westboro Baptist’s Free Speech Rights

I support the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Westboro Baptist Church’s right to picket funerals and just generally be douchebags.

When I was a junior in high school, I had a math teacher who was a brilliant woman and taught me a lot of what I needed to know about life, if not much about math.  The thing she said that stuck with me the most was about free speech–she told me that she, a very liberal Jewish woman, strongly supports a Nazi’s right to stand on a hilltop shouting at the top of his lungs, because that is absolutely the only way she can defend her own rights with a clear conscience.

And let’s face it–this case is free speech gold.  These are the most disgusting, reprehensible people you can imagine, people who picket funerals, who absolutely loathe me and want me to die in the most gruesome possible ways, who firmly believe that I deserve to rot in hell for all eternity.  This is why queers, liberals, and human rights activists need to stand up and cheer for the Supreme Court on this ruling, and defend Westboro Baptist’s right to tell everyone that God hates fags.  If we don’t jump on this case, we have no credibility.

Of course, at the same time, we should absolutely condemn Westboro Baptist’s actions, beliefs, and thoughts using our own free speech right.  But you have to pick the right enemy.

I believe that there is a war on free speech in this country, and it’s not being fought in the courts.  Initially, it was, but the obscenity laws are in place.  The Puritanical, stigmatizing laws, rules, ordinances, and regulations that supposedly are designed to keep children away from sex, drugs, and rock and roll are the real problem.  This is how cultural shifts happen, and look where we are now.  We’re afraid to say “fuck” in public.  We’re afraid to say lesbian in public.  Sexual expression is reduced to obscenity, and people who raise children in queer, kinky, polyamorous, sex positive, or radical households are condemned as unfit parents.  That’s where we need to turn our energies.

About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on March 4, 2011, in homophobia, law & politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. While we defend the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to free speech, we must also realise that Fred Phelps is a master of public relations. He is a true nobody who has found a way to get attention.

    The “Reverend” Fred Phelps is a disbarred lawyer. The “Westboro Baptist Church” is his house. The “congregation” consists of those of his immediate family who are still on speaking terms with him.

    Two good references are:

    http://blank.org/addict

    and

    http://natephelps.com/

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