Free Speech Does Not Mean Hate Speech

 One of the things I love most and tell myself is greatest about the United States is our right to freedom of speech. Since my late teen years, however, I’ve realized more and more that freedom of speech is not as free as my once optimistic perception led me to believe.

In college I found myself in debates galore–they call it Liberal Arts for a reason. Most of the debates centered on what was appropriate to broadcast and what should be censored. While I’m all about free speech, I think we need to be wise (especially in radio) with what we air.
I recall one intense Communications Law class where the focus was on Howard Stern. Before he went to Sirius I argued that he should not be on the public airwaves because there are children, teens and ears listening that have no control over whether or not they will press scan and wind up hearing raunchy, foul talk, that most parents, (liberal or conservative), don’t want their children exposed to. I also found/find it interesting that while people took no issue over Stern and couldn’t see the forest for the trees on issues of children, those same people stood staunchly against prayer in school when it came to freedom of speech. It’s okay for kids to wear “I love Satan” across their shirt, but if a peer is seen bowing their head before lunch or wearing “Christ loves you” they are sent home to change because it infringes on other people’s rights. I could go on and on, but the point is speech seems to be free only when it suits the masses.
All this brings me to the Supreme Court decision yesterday allowing members of a very non-Christian church, called Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, to continue blasting hate speech at the funerals of American troops—the same troops who died so these crazy, should be locked up, batch of people could have their “freedom of speech”. While I understand these people were born in America, there’s not one part of what they promote that is American. We lock people up for murder and we stop abusers in action, so why aren’t we putting an end to a radical, racist, completely hate-filled micro populace of society?
In the Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling, the lone objector, Justice Samuel Alito said, “our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault in this case.” This group of people from Westboro Baptist crosses many a line and deliberately brings cruel and hateful messages to places where those who are deserving of honor, peace and a beautiful celebration of the life they gave so people could have freedom of speech—not hateful speech.

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