I have always felt that with freedom of speech comes responsibility. I hear people say, "I have a Constitutional right to say_____________", but then are shocked and angered when the replies come pouring in.
You have a right to say whatever. I have the right to voice my opinion. That also is freedom of speech.
What if the message is so inflammatory, so vile, so devastating, so demoralizing that is shocks the majority of the population? What if the message isn't really a message, but abuse, one that causes undue mental pain and suffering?
Shirley Phelps-Roper, ringleader of the Westboro Baptist Church, is often seen with family members (the church is compiled mostly by relatives of the patriarch, Fred Phelps), some as young as seven, holding signs stating "God Hates________". Fill in the blank, as the church has a stockpile of signage decrying that God hates everyone from gays, most celebrities, to more or less, the World...everything and everyone with the exception of the Westboro Baptist Church.
And those are the milder signs. Other signs spouts words and depicts images that couldn't be shown on prime time television. How these signs sneak pass public obscenity laws is beyond me.
To reach the largest audience possible, they picket funerals and now recently high schools that dare show "The Laramie Project", a play depicting the story of Matthew Sheppard, who was beaten to death for being gay.
I don't know God personally, but I highly doubt He appreciates being used as a personal pitbull.
According to a documentary from the UK, entitled "The Most Hated Family in America",when a a young boy who was participating in a hate protest was asked if he knew what the sign he was carrying meant, he answered that he didn't know.
Why is a seven year old boy being forced to represent a idea he doesn't even understand? This boy is being taught how to hate. He is being taught how to be a bigot. That is child abuse, in my opinion.
Speech is a tool. Like any tool, in the hands of young children, that tool can hurt or maim. Any responsible adult would explain to a child that a knife was sharp and one needed to exercise caution when using it.
Phelps-Roper, more or less, is handing this child a knife and telling him to "have at it", not warning him of the inherent danger that lies within. Not only is he hurting others, he is hurting himself.
A seven year old child being taught that the supreme being of his Universe is one of hate. If a "religion" wasn't involved here, we'd be calling it "brainwashing".
Spew hate in the name of your god if you must, but please keep your children out of it.