Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Chris Tormos



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Photo by J.C. Wilmore

The Westboro Baptist Church has unfortunately wriggled their way into our lives through the bizarre, attention-seeking behavior they have become known for. The engine of the media is fueled by controversy of any sort, so when a group started protesting with signs claiming “God Hates Fags” it is no surprise they gained attention for their cause. The problem with this organization is not their message. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, regardless of how hilariously absurd they might be. Issues arise when this behavior starts affecting the lives of those around them in a negative way. Protesting the funerals of victims in any circumstance, be it for soldiers, school shootings, etc. is provoking violence from those who are not seeking anything but peace on a solemn day. The Westboro “Church” has decided that their doctrine is so important they can no longer keep it to themselves, but must recruit all the psychotic minds that have not yet found their time occupied by some other equally mindless cult.

Choosing to declare this hate-filled doctrine in public is already in a legal gray area due to the Brandenburg v. Ohio Supreme Court case. This case determined that, “the government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action.” Protesting the funerals of anyone, let alone dead soldiers and children, should certainly fall into the category of “likely to incite lawless action.” However, because these bigots with entirely too much free time have declared themselves a church, we have entered a vague and frustrating fog of lawmaking that will leave anyone with two brain cells to rub together fuming in disgust.

The “church” status of this organization immediately puts people in fear of opposition because of their supposed rights to belief and free speech. Our society has become so consumed by the anxiety of offending someone’s beliefs, regardless of how anti-socially ridiculous they may be, groups such as this get away with much more than they should. Swimming in the proverbial pool of IRS tax-exempt status with a cocktail in hand, the Westboro Baptist Church is taking full advantage of the unadulterated reverence we have given any cult labeled a “church.”

By ignoring ridiculous ideologies, we take away the power of influence they contain. However, this is only within the ideal situation when they are not taking advantage of the social tax-structure we have created and abide by. If taxes are going to be taken out of citizens’ paychecks, these nut-jobs are going to pay as well, regardless of their omniscient ability to recreate God’s inane slogans on pieces of poster-board. The “sticks and stones” idiom has been proven false with countless examples of people being affected negatively by hateful speech. While others may be offended and injured psychologically, it only perpetuates their power, which is why we must ignore anyone that displays this level of mental incapacitation.

The real victims of the Westboro group, or any other hate-fueled organization, are the children of these morons. Brainwashed from birth, children are so impressionable and only know what their environment dictates. If mommy and daddy are teaching the insane catch-phrases of hate that God has dictated, the poor children of these people are going to grow up with the same cultural blindness they were taught; perpetually continuing the cycles of insanity.

However, everyone will grow to the age of adulthood and make decisions for their selves, regardless of the absurd ideals parents may have laid upon them. Question everything. For example, if someone consumes their entire lives with the idea that God does, in fact, hate homosexuals, is that not the case of protesting too much? Perhaps someone harbors hateful feelings that were created by a drunken uncle who stumbled into their bedroom and touched them inappropriately. Perhaps someone is so unable to cope with the lifestyle they crave that instead they decide to protest in the polar opposite direction in the vague hope that nobody will see what they truly desire. Doth protest too much, methinks.