Earlier this week, the designer John Galliano was summarily fired from his job at the House of Dior over his arrest for drunkenness and for making racist slurs and threats against a couple he encountered in a bar. He has been notified of the plan to try him and he faces a fine and up to six months in prison if convicted of these hate crimes. It was a swift fall from grace for a remarkably talented but seemingly deeply troubled human being.
While these events unfolded in Paris, a different event, also over hate words, was unfolding in the U.S Supreme Court. The Westboro Baptist Church, had filed a suit with the SC over the decision made by lower courts to ban them from protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, based on a suit brought by the family of one marine whose funeral they picketed. Their basic premise is that God is punishing the U.S. for tolerating homosexuality, so they feel obligated to protest at soldier's funerals, to alert America to God's wrath. Now, you would think that this would be a no-brainer--bile-spewing, hate-filled words shouldn't be tolerated in the U.S. as they are increasingly not tolerated in countries around the world. Think again. The justices voted 8-1 in favour of the Church's suit, declaring that the right to free speech under the constitution allowed them the same opportunity as anybody else to say what they want, however bilioius that may be. So their protest signs, "God hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11," "America is doomed," "Don't pray for the USA," "Thank God for IEDs," "Thank God for dead soldiers," "Pope in Hell," "Priests rape boys," "God hates fags," "You're going to hell" and "God hates you," are permissible under the first amendment according to the justices. I heard the lawyer for the Church, Margie Phelps, daughter of church leader Fred Phelps respond on the radio, basically spewing her hate, and later read some qotes from her about the victory,
"I read the decision and it's 10 times better than I ever imagined," Phelps said. "They did not meddle in our religion. They kept their mitts off it. ... There's no shutting up the church of the Lord Jesus Christ...This is not my victory," Phelps said. "This is God's victory."
God's victory indeed. With victory's like this, who needs defeats? That a church would find any solace at all in hurling insults at grieving families is beyond me and why anyone would think any God worth following or even acknowledging would be happy with this kind of action is simply beyond me. I think it is personally completely and totally fucked, and I think it is yet one more example where the letter of the law kills the spirit.
Galliano gets the potential of jail, these people get protection for the their hatred--something is out of whack here. And yes, I get the intricacies of the First Amendment, but I don't support this in any way, shape or form.