One of the basic tenets of the United States is the First Amendment - freedom of speech. That doesn't mean that you can say WHATEVER you want, WHEREVER you want, WHENEVER you want, but for the most part, it means that you can say things that are offensive and objectionable and hurtful and despicable. Awww, the First Amendment is the proverbial double-edged sword. It protects not just your right to free speech, but it also protects the free speech rights of those who are the polar opposite of you in any kind of thinking.
Polar opposite of good taste, decency, humanity - that's a good description for the so-called Westboro "church", who find it appropriate to protest against homosexuality at the funerals of military personnel killed in the line of duty, as well as other high-profile funerals. They're pretty much media whores. Which is fine in itself - there are lots of media whores in our society. But I can't imagine how hurtful their signs and chantings and disruptions are to the families of soldiers who are having a hard enough time saying goodbye to sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, comrades, good friends.
The courts recently upheld their right to do such protests. While my heart breaks at the thought of them being given the right to spew their hate and rub salt in the wounds of those already mourning the loss of a loved one, my head understands that it's the correct decision, that EVERYONE's right to free speech must be protected.
Today, a friend posted a link to a video of a group called the Patriot Guard Riders who have taken it upon themselves to do something about these protests. They are invited to military funerals and set themselves up as a curtain to protect the families from seeing and hearing the hate being spewed by the protesters. God bless these people for what they're doing.
You might need a tissue, or two, or a box. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I don't have the ability to embed the video, so here's the link to click to watch the video.