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Do you think Gov. Sebelius should sign the funeral picketing bill?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 31, 2007

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Photo of Erica Rowe

“I’m definitely leaning towards yes, because it is a funeral and there are better and more tasteful places to picket.”

Photo of Dustin Kinsey

“Yeah, I think she should. That should be a time for families to deal with their grief and not be bombarded with these issues.”

Photo of Adam Dixon

“I think that she should unless it’s obviously going to become a First Amendment fiasco.”

Photo of Sarah Martin

“Yes. Governor Sebelius should sign the legislation, but does this mean we can’t picket Fred Phelps’ funeral?”

Comments

Bill Chapman 7 years ago

I have a idea - for every protest by Phelps's Phools, there should be at least 5 video cameras there to tape the protesters. Then, every tape should be gone over by lawyers to see if any protester can be sued in court. Do this often enough (with high enough $$ amounts) and the protests might stop. Even churches require money to continue operation. If the church members have no money, the church will starve (of course so will the members - but that's' not a bad side effect/bonus).

In another world (where it would be possible), I like the idea of dumping the entire contents of a honey wagon in the church as a protest against the church. Maybe even seal the base of the doors so nothing can get out til someone opens the doors. Free expression can really be a bitch - if someone can twist it to their advantage (kinda like Phelps has).

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spacehog 7 years ago

I'm still waiting for the free health insurance for every Kansan she promised us. I'm sorry, but that woman is vacant. She always has a glazed over look on her face. She has great hand motions, though. I wonder if she learned them from Robert Plant.

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Pywacket 7 years ago

ksmom~ Considering the subject, I think your words were very charitable and kind! ;-)

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Aileen Dingus 7 years ago

:) Glad to have supplied a new word. I think you can all figure out your own personal meaning for it.

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ksmom 7 years ago

Freds' Epitaph should read:

Here lies the sorriest Buttnugget in the land. North, South, East, and West. May worms and maggots crawl where his warped ass rests.

Ok, that was harsh! Quick-quick- remove this post!

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Pywacket 7 years ago

R_I~ Sometimes I wonder if my husband is secretly posting here... Scary how much you two think alike.

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Meatwad 7 years ago

Sarah Martin: that is the best comment I've ever read in this section! Good one!!

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Meatwad 7 years ago

Phelps' backward crew wants this bill to go through so they can fight it at higher levels, thus getting national attention as opposed to just local/regional. Anytime they are getting attention, they are fed. Attention is their sole form of nutrition. Let's cut off their feeding tube.

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cool 7 years ago

actually the GOVERNOR should sign committment papers for Mr. Phelps to the insane asylum.....

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cool 7 years ago

fabulous comment SARAH !

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cool 7 years ago

BAN the ridiculous FRED PHELPS idiots. really it should be 1000 feet.

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Kathy Getto 7 years ago

We should fight hate speech with MORE speech, like the Patriot Guards.

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Harry_Manback 7 years ago

It's disturbing that there are individuals who feel the need to picket a funeral, but free speech is Constitutionally protected, and like it or not, we need to uphold free speech. Protecting the Constitution is more important than hurt feelings, in my opinion.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

sue,

"I know that words have incited me to do many things I would not have otherwise done. The whole "sticks and stones" is BS. (Even 5 yr olds know this"

From your post it is evident that you were not incited, but rather you had a reaction.

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Crossfire 7 years ago

Would not a Honeywagon with a sprayer be a High-Velocity Liquified Buttnugget Delivery System?

Hivel Bud-Sys...

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75x55 7 years ago

Rushisright- huh?

Pure freedom of speech question.

Doesn't stop anyone from hooking up a spray unit to a honey wagon and spraying them down either.

Not without consequences, but that would have to be a judgement call.

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Jace 7 years ago

excuse me, I meant "grandmesa".

And as far as the question goes.....I think that keeping the Phelps clan about a block or so away from the church (during a military funeral) is sufficient enough.

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Jace 7 years ago

Gee, the posters "buttnuggets" and "gandmesa" sure didn't last long...did they?

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sunflower_sue 7 years ago

I know that words have incited me to do many things I would not have otherwise done. The whole "sticks and stones" is BS. (Even 5 yr olds know this)

Buttnuggets is a great word.

H_L, you crack me up (hopefully not literally).

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paladin 7 years ago

They just may be picketing right outside the Pearly Gates, cause they've all been refused admission. And, I'll be astanding around there a laffin my buttnuggets off, out.

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ksmom 7 years ago

Don't go making some law that will not hold up in court. I'd rather let them picket and then get their arses rearranged by some other "buttnugget" group. What goes around comes around. I'm almost certain that when Phelps and all his clan start to die off, there will be picketers at their funerals as well. Most likely from all over the country.

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ksmom 7 years ago

Word for the day: BUTTNUGGETS

Now, we just need the definition. LOL I love it!

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RushIsRight 7 years ago

"grandmesa said yeah 75x55.... get your guns get your truck watch your FOX news from your trailer... praise that non existant god....

yeah buddy!!!"

Wow.. Implying someone is a rightwing redneck from a leftist comment.. Remember, more lefties cry about their 1st Amendment Protections than righties..

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years ago

As much as I detest the Phelps clan protesting at funerals, if you restrict one form of free speach, you restrict all free speech. This is why the ACLU has represented the Phelps clan, defending their right to free speech. To protect any form of free speech, all free speech must be protected.

The bill Sebelius is proposing to sign will not go into effect until it has been ruled constitutional. This will reduce the liability of the State in paying legal fees. If the bill is found to be constitutional it would restrict protesting within 150 feet of a funeral one hour before, during or two hours after the end of the service. The bill also would potentially allow surviving family members to sue to collect damages if they feel the deceased is defamed. As Babboy stated, speech can not be regulated, but actions can. Hatred is not an action in itself. INCITEMENT requires intent, and is an action. If the the Phelps clan protests can be proved as intent to INCITE, then there "speech" becomes an action, and thus can be regulated.

Where is the line between speech and incitement?
It seems to be one of the questions of the ages.

One aspect of this bill is support of the philosophy of dualism. By allowing for damages to be pursued for defamation of the deceased, the state is in effect creating an "eternal soul".

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Aileen Dingus 7 years ago

I'm torn on this.

Yes- it would be wonderful if grieving families and friends didn't have to put up with stupid BS while they're quite possibly trying to pick up pieces of shattered lives and figure out how to go on.

On the other hand- quite often, it could be said that the very soldiers' whose funerals are being picketed had died supporting the US Constitution and all it stands for. INCLUDING the right of buttnuggets to picket funerals and hurl epithets etc. So to deny the buttnuggets that right would be kind of, um- disrespectful? I can't think of the right word.

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Agnostick 7 years ago

Tell ya what, let's compromise....

Give the Westboro Bigot Cult 100% ironclad protection from criminal liability or prosecution for peacefully exercising their First Amendment right.

And give them zero protection from people seeking redress from personal grievances, damages etc. in the civil court system. If somebody wants to try to sue them in civil court for monetary damages, like this:

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/news.aspx?id=18241

then the cult has to face the music. If they lose the suit, they pay up.

Deal?

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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Bone777 7 years ago

I don't know why there is all this "Phelps" bashing.

He is setting swimming world records right and left...

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H_Lecter 7 years ago

Weddings need to added to that legislation.

The man has ruined the two most significant life/death events of people's lives.

I love to spend some time with him in my basement (to get inside his head).

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Agnostick 7 years ago

"So much for freedom of speech."


So then, the freedom of one person or group should override the freedom of another person or group?

And "responsibility"... that goes out the window, too?

Are you saying that "responsibility" only applies to women carrying babies in their womb?

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com http://www.uscentrist.org

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grandmesa 7 years ago

Fred's funeral? He is dead?

FRED IS DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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paladin 7 years ago

Yeah, sure. Why not? Might stir things up some. Make the news more interesting for awhile.

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grandmesa 7 years ago

yeah 75x55.... get your guns get your truck watch your FOX news from your trailer... praise that non existant god....

yeah buddy!!!

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BABBOY 7 years ago

Mick is right. I am pretty sure that attorney fees can be awarded in a civil rights action which is what a claim under the first amendment would most likely be. I know that the City of Topeka has lost thousands (100s of thousands I think) fighting the Phelps in legal battles. I believe part of the problem is that each time they (the City) loses they have to pay the Phelps their legal costs.

I believe in free speech. The Phelps are entitled to their opinion and they are entitled to express that opinion as long as they do not hurt anyone else in doing it. Part of free speech is that some will find others views very offensive. But. in having free speech, government does not regulate speech even when the majority finds it wrong.

But, with the funeral protests, I believe that such conduct is beyond speech and rises to level of conduct which can be regulated. In other words, speech can beyond simply stating an opinion and rise to level of conduct. In other words, some who threatens someone verbally cannot claim free speech to excuse an assault. In my opinion, some of what is done at funeral protests is beyond expressing an opinion and rises to level of some form of assault or inflection of duress on to the families. This type of conduct can be regulated.

The problem is what conduct is and what is speech.

In other words, yes there is going to be a huge legal battle.

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75x55 7 years ago

So much for freedom of speech.

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Das_Ubermime 7 years ago

My funeral will be guarded against picketors by a legion of flaming zombies.

http://www.strk3.com/webimages/zombiesflammable.jpg

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mick 7 years ago

The Phelps' will just find something else. Their livelihood depends on offending people to the point that some government will violate their constitutional rights and then they sue that government for a lot of money.

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psychofan 7 years ago

I was wondering when we were gonna get that Phelps funeral picketing organized...should we do it here?

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sgtwolverine 7 years ago

Seriously, Gootsie. Nothing else need be said after Sarah's genius.

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