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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up This Is Good News

    Been talking with other Forum members about this. Glad to see some positive action on it, just hope that some form of respectable enforcement comes with it.

    House Bill Restricts Protests At Military Funerals

    POSTED: 8:15 am EDT May 10, 2006

    WASHINGTON -- The House voted Tuesday to restrict demonstrations at military funerals, a measure aimed at a Kansas church group that has carried its anti-gay message to the last rites for those killed in Iraq.

    "We will not allow the repugnant acts of a few to define who we are as Americans," said Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer, R-Ind., before the 408-3 vote on the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act." Buyer spoke at a news conference joined by motorcyclists who attend military funerals to shield families from the anti-gay protesters.

    Protesters, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., claim that U.S. military deaths in Iraq are a sign of divine punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuals.

    Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chief sponsor of the bill, said he took up the issue after attending a military funeral in his home state where mourners where greeted by "chants and taunting and some of the most vile things I have ever heard."

    Under the legislation, unapproved demonstrations would be banned at Arlington National Cemetery and other federal burial grounds. It also bars protests within 500 feet of a military cemetery from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral if those protests involve disruptive noises or other disturbances.

    Those violating the act, which still needs Senate approval, would face up to a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

    The measure urges states to pass similar legislation to cover nonfederal cemeteries. More than a dozen states are considering laws aimed at funeral protesters.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against a new Kentucky law, saying it goes too far in limiting freedom of speech and expression. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said the House bill was crafted to meet constitutional standards for "a reasonable time, place and manner restriction."

    Phelps heads the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination and is made up mostly of Phelps' extended family.

    Phelps, in a telephone interview, described Congress as "an American Taliban" that is "patently, blatantly violating the First Amendment." The nation, he said, "is rapidly reduced to having as much liberty as a frog in a snake's belly."

    He said that if the bill becomes law he will continue to demonstrate but will abide by the 500-foot restriction. During the 1990s, the church group also picketed the funerals of those who died of AIDS and gay murder victim Matthew Shepard.

    His group has carried signs saying "God Hates You" and "Thank God for IEDs" -- the improvised explosive devices responsible for killing many military personnel in Iraq.

    In response, a motorcycle group, the Patriot Guard Riders, has begun appearing at funerals to pay respects to the fallen service member and protect the family from protesters.

    "We turn our back to them and let the police deal with them," said Frank Baranyai, a Navy veteran from Leesburg, Va., who heads the Virginia chapter of the group. He said there are about 30,000 participants nationwide.

    The bill is H.R. 5037

    Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.
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  2. #2
    Forum Member tfpd109's Avatar
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    I've heard a lot about this, and seen it on tv. I'm glad someone is doing something about it. The people that protest these funerals just makes me sick.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
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    Just as a clarification, they aren't protesting the funerals, they are protesting at the funerals.

    In their sick and twisted world view, they come across as celebrating that the funerals are occuring because they see them as God's will and punishment on our "decadent" society.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    The First Ammendment protects the speech that you do not like.

    While I loathe what these people do, it is a Constitutionally guaranteed right for them to do what they wish so long as they do not cause physical harm. You do not like it? Then counter protest.

    Hopefully this will be challenged and thrown out in court. Where do you draw the line? I am offended by seeing 40 foot billboards on I-95 for strip bars. So should there be a ban on this?

    Again, I loathe these people's message but they should be allowed to protest as they wish. It is our job to ensure that we, as individuals acting collectively, show our unhappiness with them and their message. Passing a law against them is not the way to do it. Be careful what you wish for.
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    The First Ammendment protects the speech that you do not like.

    While I loathe what these people do, it is a Constitutionally guaranteed right for them to do what they wish so long as they do not cause physical harm. You do not like it? Then counter protest.

    Hopefully this will be challenged and thrown out in court. Where do you draw the line? I am offended by seeing 40 foot billboards on I-95 for strip bars. So should there be a ban on this?

    Again, I loathe these people's message but they should be allowed to protest as they wish. It is our job to ensure that we, as individuals acting collectively, show our unhappiness with them and their message. Passing a law against them is not the way to do it. Be careful what you wish for.
    True, but I believe that many people believe that they cross the line on the right to "peacefully assemble". I think this law works on the same presumption that groups like the KKK fall under in that while they have the right to say what they want....they can't say or assemble in a way that infringes on others (in this case the mourners) right to peacefully assemble.

    I heard one of these wacked out freaks on the radio..... obiviously the lifeguard was off duty at the gene pool the day she was concieved.....

  6. #6
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    The First Ammendment protects the speech that you do not like.

    While I loathe what these people do, it is a Constitutionally guaranteed right for them to do what they wish so long as they do not cause physical harm. You do not like it? Then counter protest.

    Hopefully this will be challenged and thrown out in court. Where do you draw the line? I am offended by seeing 40 foot billboards on I-95 for strip bars. So should there be a ban on this?

    Again, I loathe these people's message but they should be allowed to protest as they wish. It is our job to ensure that we, as individuals acting collectively, show our unhappiness with them and their message. Passing a law against them is not the way to do it. Be careful what you wish for.
    You may be true, but I think that in this case, they should not have the right to protest. Hmmmmmmm, who gave them that right in the first place.......the soliders who for the past 230 odd years have been dying to keep our American way of life. The least they can do is respect that. If they don't agree with it, don't take it out on the grunts and their families, protest in Congress or something. If I was having a funeral for a loved one who died in Iraq, I can guarantee that they would not be a problem, whether it be PD, private security, or whatever, they would not be a problem. I'm sorry I just REALLY have a problem with these people, sure they can exercise their rights, but this is too far.
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  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer
    You may be true, but I think that in this case, they should not have the right to protest. Hmmmmmmm, who gave them that right in the first place.......the soliders who for the past 230 odd years have been dying to keep our American way of life. The least they can do is respect that. If they don't agree with it, don't take it out on the grunts and their families, protest in Congress or something. If I was having a funeral for a loved one who died in Iraq, I can guarantee that they would not be a problem, whether it be PD, private security, or whatever, they would not be a problem. I'm sorry I just REALLY have a problem with these people, sure they can exercise their rights, but this is too far.
    You gotta be careful...they do have a right to protest, even if it is for something as disgusting that they are doing.....the minute you say that those wacko's can't protest, you are opening yourself up to be silenced by someone who doesn't agree with you......

    HOWEVER, this law still gives these losers the right to protest, but it restricts them from doing it within 500 feet of mourners who also have the right to peacefully assemble.

  8. #8
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Look, I am a former Marine looking to re-enter the military in a few months. My brother in law is a Captain on active duty in the Air Force with combat service. This is not far from a potential reality for me.

    That being said, you have to let people say what they want. People have a right to speak out against teh government and to speak up for what they feel is right, regardless of what other people think about it.

    Like it has been said, be careful or you might have your own rights to protest restricted.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  9. #9
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    Look, I am a former Marine looking to re-enter the military in a few months. My brother in law is a Captain on active duty in the Air Force with combat service. This is not far from a potential reality for me.

    That being said, you have to let people say what they want. People have a right to speak out against teh government and to speak up for what they feel is right, regardless of what other people think about it.

    Like it has been said, be careful or you might have your own rights to protest restricted.

    Sharkie,

    Sorry if I didnt come across that way. I was trying to recognize the fact that they do have rights and that I disprove of the protests. Sorry for not being clear.


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  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Ya, this is a very fine kettle of worms. I find it very difficult to give support to "their cause" because I am a soldier first and then everything else second, or something like that.

    I am forced to agree with the comments regarding freedom of speech, and mostly I dont have a problem with protests... to a point. When they become disruptive (although more often as not that is the primary purpose of a protest ) then the riot training in me tends to kick in and well.... then ... anyhow. In 1988/89, my Regiment spent 6 months in Cyprus and aside from the daily Buffer Zone patrols, our primary focus was riot control, because that is what happened most often. Generally they were a peaceful event, and not much happened, but there were two or three that were not so peaceful. Its because of those, that I react poorly to most protests.

    Its a tough go, knowing that these people have a civic right to their opinion and the civic right to express it, add the fact that my primary job in life is to protect that right. And then they go and abuse (in my mind - what little of it there is) those same civic rights. Talk about internal conflict!

    I guess mostly, I hope that some form of happy medium (if thats a good term to use?) comes out of this. The protesters can have their say - albeit from a distance, and the families that are grieving the loss of a loved one, are able to do so with peace and dignity.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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