Skip to comments.The Death of Common Decency
Posted on 03/03/2011 4:23:00 PM PST by OwenKellogg
The Supreme Court ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church's behavior in demonstrating at the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder was protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The Court of Public Opinion must hold the demonstrators to a different standard.
Lance Corporal Snyder swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. He died defending the very rights of the people who violated his and his family's right to mourn.
I too took that same oath.
As a retired Marine Colonel, please allow me to defend my Marine Lance Corporal Snyder in the court of public opinion where I pray he receives a fair hearing.
To deny the family of a slain serviceman or woman a peaceful burial is immoral, despicable, and dishonorable. It is the highest form of hatred imaginable. Whether it is what I saw in Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq, the physical violence is horrible but psychological violence leaves scars that only prayer will heal.
I have personally made a casualty call which means that I was tasked with telling a Marine's family that a terrible tragedy had befallen his family.
Bear with me as I describe for you that moment in the lives of six people that fateful day. May you see through your eyes what I saw through mine.
On that cold November day in the mid 1980's, I was a young Marine major. At the end of a Marine Corps birthday celebration with the unit I commanded, our First Sergeant and I were notified that a Marine in our area had died in Okinawa. We were given the opportunity and honor of being with one of our brother's family as the horrific news was delivered.
As we drove the three or so hours to the home of our fallen comrade, the First Sergeant and I talked about how to deliver the news. We were wearing our Dress Blue Marine uniform which was standard when we honor our fallen.
Nothing could have prepared the family for that moment. Nothing could have prepared us.
As we walked to the door of the home in rural, upstate Pennsylvania, a very young child came around the corner scampering with joy to go the door whose door bell had just rung. Recognizing the uniform, he screamed out in joy "Mommy, daddy's home". His mother came running to the door excitedly I seem to remember with her two other children by her side. She suddenly stopped dead in her tracks when she saw two Marines and not her loved one. She screamed and the children become totally bewildered and confused by the sudden twist in their young lives.
We took the children and mom to the living room in their home and while fighting back tears, the First Sergeant and I delivered the news to three beautiful children and a horror stricken wife that their loved one would not be coming back home again.
I remembered so vividly the reaction of our brother's three children.
My mind went back to the day when I watched as a three year old my own dad's death. As I sat is his lap as he gasped for breath, I knew my life had changed but I did not know how or why. I saw that same fear in their eyes.
Despite the tragedy that befell our Marine family that November day the family had some semblance of closure in the peace and support from their friends and our fellow Marines.
To deny the Snyder's, my new Marine family, that right to mourn peacefully is a disgrace and dishonor to all Americans.
The Supreme Court may rule that the Westboro Church action was protected speech. I can almost certainly assure you that our Founding Fathers would have felt that they did not need to address this travesty in a document as sacred as our Constitution.
Our Founding Fathers would have told you that common decency did not and could not be addressed in a document. They would have told us that character and honor are in your heart and your soul. They knew that you cannot legislate morality or common decency.
Lance Corporal Snyder died defending the very rights of those who dishonored him and his family.
His reward is in heaven and the knowledge that he will NEVER meet those who picketed his funeral service for the remainder of eternity.
For Mr. Snyder, I can merely say to you, God bless, God speed and Semper fi,
Col. Frank Ryan, USMCR (Ret) CPA specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics and management for CPA's. He is on the boards of numerous publicly traded companies as well as not for profit charitable organizations.
The Marines are my heroes.
Follow Colonel Ryan at
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This ruling disturbs me. As much as I believe in free speech, I also believe that a funeral is a private, sacred, and often times religious ceremony.
What these Westboro people do disturbs the peace and that is a crime.
They do NOT represent the Christ I know. They have taken His name in vain by calling themselves Christians and acting in such an anti-christian way.
These folks will face judgement with Jesus Christ himself.
Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. I will repay.
During the years of when we had Statesmen in our government who upheld the Constitution, the real men would have been able to attack those despicable parasites and they would not have been held responsible for their death even if it should have occurred. The parasites would have received their just dessert, so to say.
Of course, NOW that our legal system has been destroyed by man-made-up political laws that always reward their friends and colleagues, we no longer have laws based on Natural Law Theory and God’s Laws which the Founders all new to be the ONLY source of Just Law.
This type of thing would have never happened 50 years ago, because of the consequences that honest, virtuous men would have inflicted on the parasites. Our government binds the hands of the good and have enabled the evil to prevail with no consequence for their actions. (They do the same with our troops.)
Of course, the cultural Marxists are trying to destroy us from within by removing God from our public square and schools and inserting secular humanism into the schools and military (DADT) and producing media that glorify all perversion and dysfunction to our young children. It is intentional to destroy all morality, which always creates chaos and destroys the family because it promotes evil.
It is sad to see evil triumph in this country with the sanction of the “laws”.
You are two fast for me, Owen!!!
What is sad is the realization that the Constitution was for a people capable of governing themselves—and this no longer describes the people of America. The Founders had in view a people with all the built-in reasonable restraints of decency and then set forth a document that delineated, for the most part, how to ensure respect for individual rights and property against men and government.
We are now living in a time when men and government no longer restrain themselves. As in the days of the Judges, everyone is now doing what is right in his own eyes.
“Our government binds the hands of the good and have enabled the evil to prevail with no consequence for their actions.”
“What these Westboro people do disturbs the peace and that is a crime.”
Agreed. As Colonel Ryan said, “His reward is in heaven and the knowledge that he will NEVER meet those who picketed his funeral service for the remainder of eternity.”
>> The Supreme Court may rule that the Westboro Church action was protected speech.
To be clear, the govt must not restrict speech which is not the same as protecting it.
I don’t have a remedy for the WC obscenities, but neither should the govt attempt to solve this problem by legislating against exploitations of the Constitution. There must be some legitimate alternative to prevent the abuse.
This ruling should be used to the advantage of the good citizens of this Country. Sarah had it right when she tweeted about the gross injustice waged against Christians in comparison to the judicial nod given to the lowest form of scum.
The thing that bothers me most about this ruling is that it means a porn star can perform in front of an elementary school. A homosexual parade can disparage any main street in America. We do have the right to free speech, but there has to be rules about when, where, how, and to whom. This should have been struck down because of inappropriateness to the venue. This group is protesting homosexuality and that has nothing to do with a funeral. Seems to me that Supreme Court has, in fact, lost not only a sense of common decency, it lost its common sense period.
I get special delivery.
“Seems to me that Supreme Court has, in fact, lost not only a sense of common decency, it lost its common sense period.”
What do you expect from wise latinas and other assorted nuts?
It is a tribute to the training and self-control of our military that these creeps remain vertical. In theory, it would be so easy....
I’ve said this before: everyone has a right to free speech, but no one has a right to an audience. And no one should be forced to be an audience for anyone else’s free speech.
This is simple. A specific place and time had been set aside for a funeral. So the funeral attendees are exercising their right to assemble at that place and at that time to attend a funeral. No one else should have any right to come there and intrude upon that funeral.
The Westboro goons can exercise their free speech at countless other places at almost any time. But if their right is so inviolable, then I guess they could come onto the floor of the House of Reps during the State of the Union and exercise their free speech?
Of course they can’t, and there are endless circumstances where people can’t exercise their free speech because it intrudes on the rights of others.
School kids were once taught that one person’s rights end where another’s begin. On this case, the Supreme Court has their heads so far up their rear ends that they failed to apply that basic common sense rule and protect the rights of those attending the funeral.
They have conditioned our males in the classroom to allow bullying and have encouraged rude, obnoxious behavior because of it. The lack of discipline in the schools have destroyed civility and has created people who never have to suffer any consequences.
Our schools have inserted Marxist ideology under Dewey to destroy the individualism and Paternalism and Nationalism which made this country the best country and the most respectful of individual rights in the history of the world.
This intent to kill Christianity (because of the individualism and self-reliance) and create group think and conformity (Prussian design written by Gato) so they can heard the sheeple and redesign man to some perverse design where they become dependent on the State.
Kill God and they kill good and evil. If they kill morality, you will get chaos and a need for a totalitarian government.
They test the patience of this Christian ( Catholic). In no way do they represent Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Their using HIS name like this is an abomination. And any funeral IS a religious service and deserves dignity, privacy and respect. No one lives forever. Monitor this group. Learn who they are, where they live and when one of them is called up yonder(or down below, more precisely) find out where the funeral is going to be. See if they like a taste of what they done to others.
Are Pro-Life protesters now protected if they choose to display graphic images of aborted fetesus in front of Abortuaries, Hospitals, Elementary and High schools?
When you remove God from the classroom you don’t usher in The Age of Reason.
Vengeance is the L-rd’s, ‘tis written. This is true.
But now one of these Phelps goblins is soon going to be taken out, good and hard. Bloody pix, screaming ACLU, and all.
Not saying that’s right, I hasten to add. But desperate mourners may do desperate things, just sayin’.
The Supremes have denied any other available sanction. End of discussion.
We have seen what taking God out of societies has done (Nietzsche predicted it): Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Mussolini, Pot.
I certainly do not think that the irrational thinking of the Postmoderns has anything to do with reason and logic, when they have tried to destroyed the most rational and universal religion in the history of man—Christianity.
To deny the moral aspect of man is more irrational than the concept of God.
“To educate the mind and not the morals is to educate a menace to society’’— President Teddy Roosevelt.
That is a great quote....it is the same as our Founders philosophy.
Too bad we have dumped our Constitution for some breathing marxist/atheist thing allowing our laws to degenerate into political (unjust) laws, instead of based on God’s Laws which is intent of our Constitution.
Thank you for the ping and the posting, dear OwenKellogg.
The ruling missed the point: those Westboro haters are there not for free speech, but to inflict injury.
That's exactly what Justice Alito said, among other things, in his dissent.
If these scum can speak the most horrid things and their speech is protected, then there can be no where where we cannot pray.
Of course, only Congress (or at least the Federal government) can violate the First Amendment. Local/state laws do not. But try making that point today.
Resistance to this ruling bothers me greatly. It’s Alito, unfortunately, who’s wrong. For one thing, he’s confusing compassion with justice. More importantly, he’s missing the logical extension of his minority ruling: if it’s okay to nail Westboro with hate-speech, it’s going to be just fine to nail priests, ministers, rabbis—even in the semiprivacy of their churches and synagogues—with exactly the same “reasoning.” I’m surprised Mark Steyn hasn’t weighed in on this.
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