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Debate Info

12
37
YES NO
Debate Score:49
Arguments:36
Total Votes:52
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Argument Ratio

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 YES (11)
 
 NO (25)

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PrayerFails(11165) pic



Should protesters be allowed to protest at funerals?

YES

Side Score: 12
VS.

NO

Side Score: 37
2 points

I think that WBC has every right to be at the funeral spreading their message. They are certainly protected under the freedom of speech. However, they are taking their lives and safety into question when treading on the feelings of families who are hurting. If their members get hurt or are attacked, I can't say that I will feel sorry for them. I don't know why we give them so much attention, we don't give much thought to those certain crazy people in the streets. All WBC wants is attention and whether that be supportive or destructive, we are still enabling them to continue to spread their poisonous message.

Side: yes

Absolutely!!

The Arizona legislature is pursuing a bill that will require protesters to protest at least 300 feet from the service, but this is a clear infringement on the freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech should be an absolute regardless.

It is abundantly and explicitly strict in the First Amendment to the United States of America, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,"

There are no exceptions.

Side: yes
zombee(1024) Disputed
2 points

While I am not yet completely certain how I feel about the principle of this bill, I feel its context is important.

The Westboro Baptist Church made it clear they were intending to picket the funeral of a 9 year old victim of the Gabriel Gifford shooting. I would not advocate that the WBC or anybody be forbidden from protesting everywhere, but their style is extremely disruptive and disrespectful, and I can imagine few things that would make someone feel angrier or more violated than having the death of a loved one joyously celebrated by hateful strangers who believed it was well-deserved divine punishment. Freedom of speech does not and should not guarantee the right to harass or threaten people, even on public property, and the actions of the WBC (and anyone slimy enough to picket a funeral) are harassment of the mourners.

They can still say whatever they want, in any case, they just have to do it 301 feet away.

Side: No
1 point

The Westboro Baptist Church made it clear they were intending to picket the funeral of a 9 year old victim of the Gabriel Gifford shooting.

Nobody has the right to stop them unless you are the government.

I would not advocate that the WBC or anybody be forbidden from protesting everywhere, but their style is extremely disruptive and disrespectful, and I can imagine few things that would make someone feel angrier or more violated than having the death of a loved one joyously celebrated by hateful strangers who believed it was well-deserved divine punishment.

Freedom of Speech isn't about hurting feelings, being respectful, or concerned if being disruptive, it is about freely exercising speech without abridgment. Some people apparently like yourself are a little too sensitive to others feelings.

Freedom of speech does not and should not guarantee the right to harass or threaten people, even on public property, and the actions of the WBC (and anyone slimy enough to picket a funeral) are harassment of the mourners.

They are not threatening anyone nor harassing anyone. They are protesting about their hatred of homosexuals. Not one word has been spoken in hatred of the victims or military soldiers.

They can still say whatever they want, in any case, they just have to do it 301 feet away.

No, they should be able to say whatever and wherever they want even right outside the door of the church. This is America. The founding fathers were clear in First Amendment to the United States of America.

Side: yes
aveskde(1935) Disputed
2 points

The Arizona legislature is pursuing a bill that will require protesters to protest at least 300 feet from the service, but this is a clear infringement on the freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech should be an absolute regardless.

Are they or are they not allowed to say what they wish?

If yes, then it is not a violation. If not, then it is, which means it must be carefully considered.

It is abundantly and explicitly strict in the First Amendment to the United States of America, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,"

There are no exceptions.

Unless of course you yell "fire!" in a theatre, threaten to kill someone, leak classified information, explain how to construct weapons of mass destruction, etc.

But harassing the parents of a deceased child? No, any restriction is condemned I suppose.

I think Samuel Clemens said it best when he wrote, "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either."

Apparently WBC hasn't the third.

Side: No
Posionus(76) Disputed
1 point

Unless of course you yell "fire!" in a theatre, threaten to kill someone, leak classified information, explain how to construct weapons of mass destruction, etc.

Yelling "fire" in a crowded auditorium is totally different from matters of respect like this. Yelling "fire" causes mass disruption and is also a lie (unless there really is a fire, in which case it would be OK). Teaching people how to commit illegal activities (like building a WMD) also can cause mass disruption and loss of life, as can leaking classified information. Peaceful protesting in front of a funeral is not causing any loss of life or mass disruption and, thus should be protected by the 1st amendment. If being disrespectful violates the 1st amendment, then making fun of politician, or ridiculing them would be illegal. Also any media that could possibly offend someone would also be illegal. I'm simply not willing to give up my rights over something like respecting funerals.

Side: yes
kuhl95(1) Disputed
1 point

The government holds the power to say where and when you can protest on public property but they cannot prevent you from protesting. This was done due to possible conflicting events of protesters. so this means that Arizona is within there right to make such a law. Arizona can back this up by saying because conflict between groups might happen that would require law enforcement they can and should make this law.

Side: No
1 point

As long as they are not on private property (in which the owner of the property doesn't allow it) there should be no reason to limit someone's speech.

Someone mentioned verbal assault. Verbal assault is insinuation of a crime (a crime that infringes on another). That is different from merely saying "your boy's going to hell". That doesn't insinuate a crime.

Side: yes
2 points

I know the constitution is how we engage ourselves on a daily basis, but no any document by man is flawed, besides

"...the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

forgot that part. That is where I come from on this.

Side: No
2 points

The constitution gaurantees freedom of speech. And anyone is free to speak. It however does not gaurantee where and in what manner you are free to speak. This is not a slippery slope, it is a common and understood condition of man, that we die, and upon death loved ones should be allowed the grief any human expects in similar circumsance regardless of your argument with that individual.

Side: No
Posionus(76) Disputed
1 point

Yes, protesting at a funeral is very disrespectful and mean, but I still have the right to protest however I choose so long as I don't cause excessive disruption or trespass, ect.. Restricting rights based on respect is simply a gateway to more rights being take by the government. For example, in Australia media like videogames and pornography are being censored because it is considered, "disrespectful". I think that my freedom is way more important than respect.

Side: yes
iamdavidh(4856) Disputed
1 point

1. The rights of friends and family to grieve supersedes the right of protest in this instance.

2. We're speaking of the right to protest, not to speak. They are still allowed to speak so you are defending the wrong right.

3. If one is protesting fire for instance there is Supreme Court affirmed precedence that you do not have the "right" to scream fire in a crowded theater. Law is based on precedence and has been for over 200 years so any slippery slope argument is null at this point.

4. In your Australia example, they misinterpreted the definition of "respect" mistaking an ideology's validity with the extent to which one who does not accept that ideology is free to practice in a way counter, and the extent to which your examples effect those with a specific ideology - ie, one can turn off porn, and one can not buy a video game. One cannot "turn off" the protests of lunatics at a funeral so it is two different circumstances.

Ironic example though. Born Again psychos pass a law limiting freedom in one nation, and you attempt to use it to expand the rights of Born Again psychos in another. Rarely do you see a true instance of irony in real life. Leave it to Christians to pull it off.

Side: No
1 point

This is a very interesting question. Honestly I am very divided on this myself. I see valid points on both sides.

Technically the protesters can still say what they want to say, they are just limited to 'where' they can say it. Does the constitution grant us the right to express our free speech everywhere? Is a regulation of a Right, a violation of it? It is entirely possible to regulate a right to the extent that it is no longer feasible.

I really do loathe the Westboro Baptist Church (the church of bigots) and hate the Idea of them desecrating the memory of a dead loved one. Especially as someone who is in the armed forces, the WBC, an organization that has picketed the funerals of dead soldiers, soldiers who have sacrificed more than these bigots will ever comprehend. This may not even be a 'free-speech' issue, it could be a form of harassment, and thus wouldn't be protected by the first amendment anyway. I don't know all the intricacies of the law, and what is considered harassment and what isn't. If this isn't considered Harassment, it should be.

Side: undecided
3 points

I also wanted to add, that if the WBC, were to chant their hate at the funeral of one of my comrades, I would have no qualms over showing one of them what pavement tastes like.

Side: No
2 points

You make an excellent point, it could, indeed fall within the boundaries of harassment.

Side: No
2 points

This may not even be a 'free-speech' issue, it could be a form of harassment, and thus wouldn't be protected by the first amendment anyway. I don't know all the intricacies of the law, and what is considered harassment and what isn't. If this isn't considered Harassment, it should be.

I agree. This is what I found on the legal definition of harassment.

http://definitions.uslegal.com/h/harassment/

I would say that the unwelcome picketing of a funeral falls well within the bounds of that definition.

Side: No
Posionus(76) Disputed
1 point

There is capacity for it to be harassment. Protesting at a funeral does not have to be harassment however. The question is "Should protesters be allowed to protest at funerals?". It says nothing about what kind of protesting (like silent protesting). By voting no you assume that all forms of protesting, including silent ones, or even protesters protesting for the deceased.

Side: yes

Couldn't have said it better myself. It is important to honor the constitution, but where do we draw the line?

In the case of the WBC, our armed forces fight and die to defend their right to spew their hate. It's sad. I guess people should use the constitutional rights more responsibly.

I too, would have no hesitation in knocking out some of their teeth if they were at one of my buddy's funerals.

Side: undecided
1 point

No. It is disrespectful, and more importantly, the police have a right to break them up as they are not a peacefull group of people.

Side: No
1 point

Should is the key word used in your question.

Therefore in my personal opinion: No.

The ideals in which they protest makes me sick to my stomach, those people are infected with a horrible disease of the mind.

Side: No
1 point

I think it is unacceptable for people to protest during funerals. While many may argue that is a constitutional right to freedom of speech, they are also forgetting that there is a difference between speech and place. Take for example that everyone has a constitutional right to freedom of speech but that does not give someone the authority or right to interrupt a criminal trial because they believe they can speak or do something that is part of their right, because then that will lead to contempt of court. Also, if we allow protestors to protest at funeral proceedings, what good does it serve when the person is already dead and if we allow protestors to protest during funeral proceedings, then the mourners will react with anger which can lead to violence creating the chances of another funeral arriving from that conflict.

Side: No
1 point

I don't think they need to go be making laws banning that, that would infringe upon freedom of speech. It's just not the right thing to do no matter how much you disagree with the deceased. Have some respect for the families that are grieving.

Side: No

No one should be allowed to protest at anyone's funeral. Such a person should be ashamed of himself.

Side: NO