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Ban Immoral Rhetoric This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

On a sunny day, an eight-year-old clutches a sign as another child might hold a doll. Printed on it in big block letters are the words “God Hates F*gs.”

Signs with similar sentiments were displayed at the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested outside his funeral, claiming that his death was a result of America's support of homosexuality and a “war on God.” They handed out pamphlets that read, “Thank God for IED's – Come witness the burial of an a**.”

Matthew's father sued the church in a case that has reached the Supreme Court. However, the Westboro Baptist Church continues to organize protests across the country. They even attempted a protest at the funeral of Christina Taylor-Green, who was killed in the recent massacre in Tucson, Arizona.

I know that a legal precedent protecting hate speech of this sort was created in National Socialist Party of America vs. Skokie (a case in which Neo-Nazis planned to marched through a predominantly Jewish part of Chicago that was home to many Holocaust survivors), yet I cannot condone the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. What is more important – creating a legal precedent that could potentially eliminate hate speech from this country forever, or protecting the rhetoric of a group that “thanks God for the shooter” who killed a nine-year-old girl in cold blood? What is more important – allowing the wounds of the grieving to heal, or protecting the rights of a group to “thank God” for a mother who shot her own kids. The Founding Fathers did not intend free speech to be used as an instrument to broadcast the message “thank God for five more dead soldiers; only 5,000 more to go.”

Protecting such putrid speech must not be considered a righteous cause. If we, as citizens of the United States, want to bask in the light of morality, we must cast aside the immoral rhetoric and “thank God” that we did so with such fervor.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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savetheplanetThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm:
I don't agree anymore with the Westboro Baptist Church than you do, but unfortunately it is their right as free speech. I don't think the church should have been allowed to protest at the funeral on the grounds that it was a private affair, not because they don't have the right to say what they did. If we tried to censor free speech to only what's politically correct and unoffensive to everyone, we wouldn't have free speech at all. No longer would you be able to disagree with someone, because... (more »)
 
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malatov2This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm:

if someone can say something that offends you you can say something that offends them. 

 

instead of using the threat of violence to shut them up, make a march saying god hates westboro

 
Jetsrock10210 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm :
At which point in this piece did I ever make any threats of violence?
 
Austin_Thomas replied...
Jan. 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm :
Taking away the freedom of speech is a more violent act than you would think.
 
Jetsrock10210 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 11:58 am :
What I'm advocating is ending hate speech. There are already limitations of free speech in the first place (you're not allowed to scream fire in a crowded movie theater) and would you call those violent? My idea is in the same vein as what Germany did when it made it illegal for it's people to deny the Holocaust. I am advocating ending hate speech for the sake of our society. if this is violent to you then so be it.
 
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ImaginedangerousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm:
The problem: where do you stop? How do you draw a line between something that should be banned because it's hateful and cruel to a minority group, and something that should be banned because it's hateful and cruel to the US government? Although it's not always the best solution, it's easiest and fairest to let everyone have their say. Free speech, unfortunately, has a bad side, but it's impossible to pick and choose what's okay.
 
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ambnycThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm:

I hate the Westboro Baptist Church. And I agree that it would be satisfying to ban them or shut them down somehow, but they're protected under our First Amendment rights... and taking away our right to free speech would be scary, no?

"I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire

 
Jetsrock10210 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm :
Thank you for your comment! I love the Voltaire quote. I would say that there are limits to free speech though. When it encourages violence or causes panic it must be stopped. I believe that the Westboro Baptist Church does this in the most putrid way possible.
 
Drock17 replied...
Dec. 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm :
I agree with what you said jetsrock. People should have the right to free speech. but there is a fair visible line between free speech and hateful speech. Sometimes our goverment should not act like mindless robots and not allow hateful speeches.
 
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