Saturday, April 22, 2006

Funeral Protests

Apparently there is a growing trend across this nation to protest at the funerals of fallen soldiers. This became known to the author when Missouri passed a bill legislating that protestors cease one hour before the time of the funeral until one hour after, and limited their proximity to the proceedings.

To recap, this was in response to a group of people from a church of about 100 members in Topeka, KS. They are led by a pastor who believes that "American military deaths are God's punishment for the United States leniency on homosexuals". This author is not going to even comment on their beliefs.

However, since the author learned of the legislation in Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, and at least 12 other states have either passed similar legislation, or are considering it.

For those keeping score, that's at least 17 states reacting to the actions of approximately 100 people. Now, the author realizes that those original 100 have picked up steam with sympathizers, or else groups such as Soldiers' Angels wouldn't be asking for assistance from angels local to funerals under protest. The need for such angels: protect the mourners from the protestors.

Where has common sense gone? Argue for free speech if you like, and the author will concede that free speech is a valuable right that deserves, nay, needs protection. This is not about free speech. This is about common sense. Argue for free speech and you avoid the real issue.

You may not agree with the war in Iraq or any other war ever. Fine, that is your right. There are soldiers out there protecting that right that don't agree with war, and many of them are serving in Iraq. Maybe a soldier has served since before Iraq, maybe he or she enlisted in response to 9-11. Perhaps a soldier joined for an education, health insurance, a steady income, sense of duty, or love of camo. Whatever the reason for a soldier's enlistment, they do not get to choose their orders, but they are required to follow them.

Protesting a funeral of a fallen soldier is like screaming at the cash register clerk at your local Walmart for charging too much for shampoo. They don't set the prices, they just collect the money. Would you go to their funeral (should they die) and continue to scream at their grave, accusing them of highway robbery? NO. Why? Because in your common sense you know that they just did what their bosses told them to do, and because it would be rude.

The author is going to place in a very jaded opinion at this moment and say that it is hard to believe that these protestors were ever taught manners. "Please" and "thank you's" aside, it is just plain rude to disrupt a funeral; mourners have a right to mourn!

Yes, readers, we have come full-circle back to rights, haven't we? For legislation to grant rights to the mourners by limiting the protestors, the rights of the protestors are limited to a certain time, a certain distance, etc. Were it the other way, the rights of the mourners would be foresaken for the rights of the protestors, so the mourners would not have the right to space and time to mourn during a funeral. So again morality must be legislated and arguments for rights comes back into play because common sense has been lost or abandoned.


redwulf said...

I agree, and while we're arguing common sense: If you were to trespass in someone else's house, should you be allowed to lobby for legislation making it legal for you to be there? NO. Why? Laws are already in place saying that it is -- here's the kicker -- ILLEGAL for you to be there!!!! Go figure eh?

MoJoe said...

Funny thing about rights: They mandate that we accept things we may disagree with.

The Kansas preacher is as wack as they come. But he has a right to say whatever un-Christian vitriol he can spew, and provided he's not breaking any privacy laws, he has the right to say them at a funeral for a soldier. Ironically, our soldiers fight for his right to do that.

America has never been about pride or patriotism. It has always been about freedom.