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Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church 1061

Posted by timothy
from the which-side-are-you-on-boys dept.
elashish14 writes "The Westboro Baptist Church stated earlier this week that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of Newtown Connecticut's tragic shooting in an effort to bring awareness to their hate messages. In response, the Anonymous hacker collective has hacked their website and posted the personal information of all of its members."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church

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  • Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:37PM (#42309609)

    Happy to see Anonymous making themselves truly useful for the first time since Operation Chanology. I can think of nobody more deserving than a kick in the arse than the Westboro mob.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:44PM (#42309639) Journal
    Westboro Baptist Church is an object lesson in why it's good to have some restrictions on speech, such as limiting it to a reasonable time and place.
  • by magarity (164372) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:44PM (#42309641)

    these scum do it because they get the attention they want. ignore them, please!

  • Streisand Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:51PM (#42309665)
    Westboro Baptist Church wins. Anonymous and Slashdot brings more attention to hate group
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:51PM (#42309669)

    . . . if they're alive.

  • lawsuits (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slothman32 (629113) * <<pjackso5> <at> <rochester.rr.com>> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:52PM (#42309675) Homepage Journal

    I think they are horrible but I am glad they won many of their lawsuits.
    Even though most people, including me, disagree with their opinions that should still be able to picket and print whatever stuff they want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:53PM (#42309689)

    Or a lesson in the fortitude to live up to the harsh strictures of freedom.

    To let others be free is to chain yourself.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:53PM (#42309695) Journal

    I dunno...

    I figure once a few of those members have protesters of their own driving to Westboro, KS and showing up at their homes, schools, and everywhere they go, maybe they'll get the hint and STFU? Once their mailboxes get the Ralsky Treatment [slashdot.org] (Gay pr0n suggested, of course), maybe they'll get the hint and realize that maybe harassment is a bad thing?

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TemperedAlchemist (2045966) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:54PM (#42309699)

    You would destroy all of the freedoms so many have died for you to obtain -- if only because a group is using speech you deem unacceptable. Shame. Shame on you sir.

  • by poity (465672) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @07:55PM (#42309711)

    Just the opposite, I see it as a test for those who claim to be champions of the freedom of expression.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Truekaiser (724672) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:04PM (#42309809)

    Free speech is not just speech you just like. It's any speech.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:04PM (#42309813)
    "I figure once a few of those members have protesters of their own driving to Westboro, KS and showing up at their homes, schools, and everywhere they go,"

    Its been done. They are all lawyers. They provoke people for the sake suing them. They all live comfortably, but they don't work.

    The best thing to do with a troll is not to feed it.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:05PM (#42309815)

    Bullshit. Picketing the funerals of kids is not acceptable.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:05PM (#42309823) Journal
    Wait. This is vigilantism, and while I would happily convict them if caught, I cant say they are wrong. Just as I can absolutely abhor capital punishment carried out by the state, i can also believe in repaying a personal vendetta in blood, i jsut dont expect to be let off if caught.
  • Re: Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:06PM (#42309831)
    Being able to say anything you want wherever you want comes with the responsibably to know when and where it's appropreate to do so. Misusing it ruins it for eveyone.
  • Re:Slashdot trolls (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:07PM (#42309837) Journal
    No they are not. They are emboldened by our willingless to tolerate them becasue we love our country more then we hate them.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:07PM (#42309841)

    WBC isn't exercising free speech. They're exercising hate speech. Burning a cross on a black man's lawn is free speech, and yet is also a hate crime. WBC is a community of criminals and needs to be stopped.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spottywot (1910658) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:07PM (#42309843)
    While I agree that we have to honour this groups freedom of speech, do you think that anonymous are curtailing others freedom of speech, or simply exercising their own? They don't seem to be stopping anyone from expressing themselves, just exposing the members of that particular church. I sincerely hope no-one gets hurt over this, but maybe it'll make a few members of this sect wonder what the fuck they're doing being a part of it.
  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:08PM (#42309847) Journal

    What about the rights of the victims' families who don't want to be subject to harassment at a funeral? You have the right to say what you want, but you don't have the right to force me to listen to you by screaming your message outside my house.

    WBC's freedom of speech should not be infringed upon. They should not be thrown in jail for their speech, or fined. But "free speech" does not mean "forced listening."

  • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:12PM (#42309875)

    Westboro Baptist Church is an object lesson in why it's good to have some restrictions on speech, such as limiting it to a reasonable time and place.

    I absolutely agree that Westboro Baptist Church's proposed action here is beyond poor taste in this situation -- it is deplorable and disgusting.

    However, I also think that limiting speech "to a reasonable time and place" is a really problematic standard as well. Who decides what is "reasonable"?

    I think the Bush administration that created "free speech zones" would have argued that they were limiting free speech to places that were "reasonable." The Bush administration did in fact make a similar argument that protestors with a different message and agenda would be disruptive to the purpose of the events that the administration was organizing.

    Is the argument about funerals any different? Believe me, I wish the Westboro people wouldn't do this crap. But is there any way we can prohibit peaceful assemblies of people on public property who just happen to have a different message than some other neighboring event, without also condoning crap like "free speech zones"? Or, if we allow families or churches to dictate free speech in surrounding areas on particular occasions, who decides what occasions and what areas? Can corporations take advantage of such protections as well?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative here. I'm really wondering if people have good answers about how we can draw a line without also making it a lot easier to trample on free speech rights in a lot of situations that might matter.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:12PM (#42309877)

    Making your point about your views on the matter on a blog, or in a newspaper/newsletter, in a letter to the editor, or just on the street corner to whoever will listen is free speech. Picketing the funeral of elementary school students is more than just rude, it is disruptive of a privately funded memorial service. This is hardly anything foreign to our free speech protections; you can picket outside of a politician's home, but if you're doing it at 3 AM with a bullhorn, or sitting outside and shining in a strobe so as to disrupt the occupants of the house, you're not so protected.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nschubach (922175) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:19PM (#42309921) Journal

    All speech is free speech. If you start classifying what is and isn't "hate speech" you only serve to erode away what Free Speech really is.

    Do you classify "Hate Speech" by popular opinion? If so, then burning a cross in someone's yard was at one point not considered "Hate Speech." So who's the inevitably curator of what you classify as "Hate Speech"? Is it the government? What if you say that our Electoral College is fucked up and should be replaced... could the Government classify that as "Hate Speech" against America?

    This whole "Hate Speech" movement is really starting to concern me. It's censorship.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:19PM (#42309923)
    So is the return of that free speech.
    When free speech is something they dont like, they should not be surprised when that free speech is their personal information.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:19PM (#42309925) Homepage
    ...and this is how it starts. "I support freedom, but group X is so bad that they're not even human." Having now established the fact that people can be classified as subhuman (untermensch) based on their religion, the rest flows naturally from there.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:20PM (#42309935)

    That's disdain, learn some English.

    This is a non-issue, and here's why - Unlike Anonymous, the Westboro Church can and does actually reveal themselves in public every time they pull a stupid stunt like picketing the funerals of dead soldiers (and now, children). The whole point of Westboro is that they're the opposite of Anonymous. They are a gazillion times more offensive in the public meatspace and are brave (and/or stupid) enough to do it all without wearing silly masks.

    Not that my opinion matters in the grand scheme of things, but if I could appeal to Anonymous as a whole, I would ask them to keep the moralfaggotry to tracking down animal abusers. We must continue to allow religious people to discredit themselves and religion in general. Allowing the Westboro church to carry on their business is not only good for free speech, but the advancement of society as a whole.

    -- Ethanol-fueled

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:22PM (#42309953) Journal

    And yet if someone is harassing you, you can get a restraining order against them, can you not?

  • by hendridm (302246) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:25PM (#42309969) Homepage

    It's difficult to ignore them as you're walking into the funeral home to say a final goodbye to your child who was just shot in the face at the elementary school they attended.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:25PM (#42309975)
    One person's rights end where another's begin. They have the right to free speech, just as those holding a funeral have a right to avoid unwanted speech.

    If you disagree with that, post your address, and we'll get someone in front of your house with a bullhorn at 2 AM so they can exercise their freedoms.
  • Re:lawsuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cdrudge (68377) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:25PM (#42309979) Homepage

    Even though most people, including me, disagree with their opinions that should still be able to picket and print whatever stuff they want.

    Whatever they want? At what point does it cross over from them exercising their freedom of speech to infringing on others rights not to give a fuck, to feel safe, or not to be harassed? Even with freedoms, there are limits to how far those freedoms extend.

  • Re: Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:26PM (#42309987)
    When your 8 year old kid is killed in a school shooting feel free to let people walk around you, while your burrying them, yelling that your kid is burning in hell eternally. Till then maybe you should show a little compassion for the people it's actually happend to.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:29PM (#42310013)

    I think there's a distinction between 'freedom of speech', and 'freedom to spread hate'. People don't always recognise the latter (which is why there are so many laws against hate speech).

  • by drnb (2434720) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:29PM (#42310015)

    You would destroy all of the freedoms so many have died for you to obtain -- if only because a group is using speech you deem unacceptable. Shame. Shame on you sir.

    I think you are confusing the perspective of ACLU lawyers with the perspective of military veterans. As for the combat veterans I have known they seem perfectly fine with the notion that some speech will get you a kick in the ass or a punch in the face from your fellow citizen.

    You seem to have made the error that freedom from government consequences somehow implies freedom from consequences from your fellow citizens.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:39PM (#42310075)

    The WBC should never be prosecuted by the government. But that doesn't mean that they get to act like a-holes. If they were picketing a kids funeral and the father or uncle went up and punched them in the nose and I was on the jury I would find them not guilty. If I was on a jury of the government trying to put them in jail for hate speech I would side with the WBC.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:47PM (#42310127)

    By the same measure, discussing out loud in a public place plans to kill and harm people should be "protected" as a human right?

    It's not bad because it's a crime, it's a crime because it's bad. When bad things aren't crimes, you should expect some amount of vigilante action, even if you fundamentally believe in civilization.

    We as a nation can't find a middle ground between our principles and protecting the populace from hatespeech. When we do, vigilante action will happen less, or at least be less applauded.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:48PM (#42310141)

    Im willing to bet all the hate comments in here towards them are from americans. Americans love to preach freedom and tollerance but they never want to tollerate things they dont like. The only time they preach tollerance is when someone isnt tollerating them, the only time they preach free speech is when they want to be heard.

    If you dont like what that group has to say then dont pay attention to them. Its really that easy. But dont be a stupid american jerk when it comes to someone elses thoughts or opinions you dont like.

    Do I agree with them? No. But I will never, I mean never tell them they shouldnt be able to print, say, picket or express their opinions. Nor will I ever approve of censoring them. They should be allowed to say what they want and think what they want. Nazis, whatever the black against white people group there is, KKK or whatever I wont agree with them but I always defend their right to say and think what they want to.

    If you tolerate something that means you put up with something you dont like. If you dont tolerate that group then youre not tolerant, your just a closed minded moron. If youre a person who think this group is wrong and youre happy anon attacked them or made some kind of hate comment yourself then youre a bad american and the very people who give us all a bad name.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:50PM (#42310153)

    What does this have to do with free speech? Nobody has been censored, nothing has been covered up. Freedom of speech is not anonymous hate speech.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:55PM (#42310203)

    I've often made the comment that just because it's right, doesn't mean it's legal. Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's right.

    Westboro (I refuse to align them with a church or religious denomination, and I wish the media would as well) is doing that which is legal, yet not right. In response, Anonymous is doing what is right, yet not legal.

    This, too, will be the first time that I congratulate Anonymous on being more than useless.

  • Re: Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:58PM (#42310213)

    When your 8 year old kid is killed in a school shooting feel free to let people walk around you, while your burrying them, yelling that your kid is burning in hell eternally. Till then maybe you should show a little compassion for the people it's actually happend to.

    I promise when some madman takes an automatic gun and lots of ammunition, visits the Westboro Baptist Church and kills every single one of these f***ers, I won't be gloating.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by disambiguated (1147551) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:59PM (#42310223)
    Off topic. We're talking about common decency here, what does the law have to do with it?
  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:59PM (#42310225)

    It isn't a religion. It is a way to sue communities that block them to make themselves rich.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:00PM (#42310227) Journal

    You have it backwards. Having established that it is acceptable to call gays subhuman because their religious beliefs demand it, the rest flows naturally from there. We saw in Germany during WWII what happens when the seeds of hate are not weeded out.

    No one is calling Westboro less than human because of their religion. People are calling Westboro less than human because their actions betray a decided lack of humanity.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:11PM (#42310293)

    In the US at least, hate speech is protected by the constitution. Direct quote from Wikipedia: "Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States; the United States federal government and state governments are forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech." In the United States, there is no (nor should there be) a distinction between these two things, legally. It is only illegal to act on hate, in the form of some other criminal activity.

    It's pretty typical, really. People are all for freedom of speech right up until the point where it actually matters: people saying things that you or "the public" find offensive or unacceptable.

    The people of Westboro are not only mistaken and committing acts of evil, but they also give me and every other Christian a bad name. Yet I will not ask that their speech be legally restricted in any way. Like everyone else in America, I have the right to ignore them and/or encourage them, legally, to not speak that way or say those things.

    And by the way, it irks me to no end how much people care about hate. Hate is a feeling. It can't do anything. If your doctor HATES you, but otherwise gives you normal service when you're at the hospital, who cares if he hates you? Likewise, if a girlfriend in a fit of jealousy kills her boyfriend because she LOVES him too much to let him talk to other girls, who cares how much she loved him? You might care personally, but legally, the emotions should not matter. Human beings are only fit to judge actions, not the feelings behind those actions. Hate and criminal activity are often associated, but they are not the same thing, and neither necessarily causes the other.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:13PM (#42310309) Homepage
    We are all human, no matter how "bad' or "evil" our actions may seem to fellow humans. It's all relative. There is no right or wrong, just different points of view. What seems to you appalling can seem to others as acceptable or even righteous. At one time, it was a good thing to enslave Africans because their seemingly barbaric actions betrayed a decided lack of humanity.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:26PM (#42310407) Journal
    There is a difference between how i expect my government to act and how individuals act. If caught, i expect anonymous to be prosecuted, but man-to-man i dont find what they are doing is out and out 'wrong' and would tell them so even as i lead them to their prison cell. If Westboro engaged in activities that could be legally described as vigilantism, then i would expect them to be prosecuted too. What i dont want is my GOVERNMENT to silence Westboro because then we all lose.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:27PM (#42310409)

    If you demand censure of someone's speech, you allow him a loophole to demand the censure of yours. Westboro baptist' right to free speech is the same right we all share. Attack theirs and you attack everyone elses, including your own. This right is far more important than the melodrama they cause..

    I think westboro baptist is a joke. They should not be taken seriously. 90% of the 'bandwidth' given to their message comes from the overly sensitive sorts when they demand legal protections for their butthurt feelings on national tv. Just ignore them.. They're morons who are not worth losing liberties over.

  • Re: Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:31PM (#42310425)

    No it doesn't. 'misuse' gets defined by those hating the message who manage to garner 'authority'. This authority is then what ruins it for everyone. Be careful. Authority figures use 'blame chain' unlogic whenever they want to dictate badly thought out, yet emotionally satisfying policy.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:33PM (#42310433)

    Shouldn't the actions of WBC be considered some form of harassment, which definitely has established laws to deal with it? At the very least, I would think a rather large radius restraining order is called for.

  • by spazmonkey (920425) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:41PM (#42310489)
    They are all the same families, and the list is legit. You have to remember its a family business, not a church per se. Not only are they all related, they are mostly lawyers. Old man Phelps finally got disbarred, but his offspring and in-laws are mainly lawyers too, and they file for the church now. Its a lawsuit mill, and its a family business. The ones that go out and protest are only the bait to get either adverse crowd reactions and/or official denials of permits so that the lawyers can file suits against cities and universities for either failing to protect their people from crowd harassment or for 'violating their civil rights' for not giving into their usually pretty unreasonable protest demands as to exact time and location. They especially love universities, as invariably there are students that throw stuff at them or spray them with water, colleges are usually for more prone to settle than some other entities, and its a freebie two-fer anyway as there are usually city or county law enforcement involved as well in 'failing' to protect them from that, so they get two entities to sue for damages instead of just one. The 'Church' makes up to several million dollars a year on the settlements to all the nuisance suits, and have hundreds going at any one time, more than 1000 concurrent ones at some points in the past. Its strictly a business model.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:46PM (#42310521)

    I think there's a distinction between 'freedom of speech', and 'freedom to spread hate'. People don't always recognise the latter (which is why there are so many laws against hate speech).

    There's not. It's an important part of the whole concept of free speech. What YOU decide is hateful may not be what I decide is hateful. That's kind of the whole point. Same thing with that whole freedom of religion thing. If this wasn't the case, it wouldn't be important enough to have written it into the constitution.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:50PM (#42310543) Journal

    It is not speech it is an act at this point but an act.

    Not protected.

    They can have their own racist sermons and I do not care. They can say whatever they feel right. However if they tell and harass these teachers and childrens families that they are going to hell and provoke them then I am grabbing the ditch diggers shovel and beating them up senseless and I assume the families would be more than happy to join.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:56PM (#42310571)

    Freedom of speech is only free to us as long as we do not infringe on others rights, and in this case, the Westboro Baptist Idiots have abused their freedom and infringed on other people's rights.

    The fact that their speech offends you or others does not mean that they've infringed upon your rights.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:08PM (#42310645)

    I'm as liberal as they come. But my dislike for a group of people who go nuts over zombie Jesus is greater than ... well, even greater than my indifference towards kids I don't know getting killed.

    No. Seriously. There is a line that you simply do not cross. You don't dance on your enemy's grave. You don't kill a soldier and take a dump in his helmet. And you effin' do not picket funerals. And while I usually don't really understand what's the bigger tragedy when kids die (actually, from an economy point of view, the death of an adult in the employable age bracket is a much bigger economic tragedy), the parents have enough to handle already without a bunch of nutjobs telling them how happy they are about it.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:13PM (#42310673)

    Can you show me an example of a culture where it is acceptable to mock people engaged in a funeral ritual? I'm fairly certain that's a universal no-no, but I would find a counter example very interesting. I'd wager it is even more universal than a taboo on killing children.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nschubach (922175) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:13PM (#42310677) Journal

    So... why haven't the WBC folks been arrested for indecency?

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Progman3K (515744) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:16PM (#42310687)

    No, I don't want the WBC people to be hurt.

    I want them to realize the suffering and hurt they've caused.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:16PM (#42310689) Homepage Journal

    and freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences

    if you traffic in hate, you reap what you sow

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:19PM (#42310719) Homepage Journal

    yes, and neither is revving your motorcycle engines and holding flags in front of such picketers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Guard_Riders [wikipedia.org]

    freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. if you traffic in hate, you reap what you sow

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:20PM (#42310721) Journal

    Concur. It is so unfortunate that we have folk like the Westboro Baptist Church to hold up as examples of why speech must be free. Their members should be ashamed of themselves. Their actions are despicable. They appear to be organized to make the worst possible use of free speech.

    The law protects them from the government. The government cannot act against them. We, their neighbors, can choose to not associate with them - to not shop in their businesses, to not employ them, to not let them in our homes. So by showing who they are, Anonymous had done us a great service.

    But to engage some arm of the government in shutting them up - no, I'm not in favor of that and would never be.

    They seem so determined that they will not change. Shunning them might motivate them to behave in a more civilized way.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:22PM (#42310733)

    Hmm... what about threats about going to hell (or other imaginary punishments)? Protected or not?

    If not, I guess we can shut down every church in the country.

  • Re:Kudos God Win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:26PM (#42310775) Homepage Journal

    right

    and we can't legalize gay marriage because then we have to legalize pedophilia and necrophilia

    and we can't legalize marijuana because then we have to legalize meth and crack

    the slippery slope is a form of fear based logical fallacy

    i can tell the difference between homosexuality and necrophilia. i can tell the difference between marijuana and meth. and i can tell the difference between political speech and hate speech

    the slippery slope is an idea that only works in a world where nobody can think and identify different topics. therefore, the slippery slope never works as a persuasive argument

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:28PM (#42310791) Homepage Journal
    In United States "laws against hate speech" are unconstitutional. There may be many laws against hate speech in other countries, but if you are talking about US, you are wrong.
    Umm, are you being FACETIOUS or what? While I agree that laws against hate speech are unconstitutional, there are plenty of laws against hate speech on the books. Most of the time, if they make it to the supreme court, they get overturned. But most people don't have the wherewithal to take it that far and just do the time and/or pay the fine.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JasoninKS (1783390) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:35PM (#42310841)
    Oh they fully realize it and they take joy in it.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:41PM (#42310879) Homepage Journal

    Yes, I would incite violence against these people. But, I take issue with your description of these "peaceful demonstrators". The wounds they cause grieving widows, widowers, children, and parents are no less serious than the wounds caused by thrown rocks and bottles. Maybe more serious.

    These slime are treading very carefully, picking their targets, and choosing their victims with the goal of causing as much pain and grief as possible, while using the law to "protect" them from the consequences of their actions.

    And, no, a punch in the face is not adequate, or appropriate. These sumbitches WANT to be punched in the face, so that they can sue the "offender".

    One certified looney-tune who can call on the Veteran's Administration for defense in court should unload on these low lifes, and put them all out of everyone's misery. That is what riot guns were made for. Let the Westboro freaks bury about half of their own, AND be forced stand silently while suffering the verbal abuse of an outraged nation. Poetic justice, as well as real justice, IMHO. And, I certainly DO NOT use the word "justice" in the sense of "Whoever has the most money gets the most justice".

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:42PM (#42310883)

    I'm not aware of any such right. Surely you have a right to not listen to them, but there is no right to not be offended that I recognize.

    Ignorance is no excuse, but kudos for admitting it. I said nothing about being offended, so your attempt at a straw man argument fails.

    "Freedom of speech" does not include forcing speech upon individuals who do not wish to hear that speech.

    Snyder v. Phelps was decided because the speech took place on public property (a sidewalk), and did not directly interfere with the funeral ("Westboro stayed well away from the memorial service, Snyder could see no more than the tops of the picketers' signs, and there is no indication that the picketing interfered with the funeral service itself."), an indication that the court considered that a significant factor in allowing the speech.

  • by HungWeiLo (250320) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:52PM (#42310957)

    There were a lot of Christians on my Facebook feed - none of them extremists or anything, mind you - but they certainly felt the need to tell the world that the shootings were a direct result of removing God from the school system.

    To me, that is intellectually the same as what the Westboro folks believe. Just without the picketing.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:54PM (#42310973)

    I think there's a distinction between 'freedom of speech', and 'freedom to spread hate'.

    Sure you do. And that's an easy "distinction" for a powerful government to grossly abuse. Keep in mind that governments won't always be in the hands of people you trust in any way. I'd rather cretins like the Westboro group exist, than hand yet another considerable power to governments that already abuse what they can.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tolkienfan (892463) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:59PM (#42311007) Journal

    We are not the government. We do not have all the powers of the various branches of government, and we are not restricted by all the government's restrictions.
    It's a government of the people, not vice versa.

  • by swamp boy (151038) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @11:08PM (#42311069)

    More violence and killings is the answer???

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @11:14PM (#42311099) Homepage Journal
    I also wonder how many baptist churches preach against what this church is doing.
    I would imagine quiet a lot of them. I am not affiliated with the Baptists, but my Church certainly condemns their tactics, as do all of the Christians that I know. I am surprised that the Baptist Convention has not attempted to sue them to stop using Baptist in their name. I am sure they have no more affiliation with the Baptist Convention than the "Franklin Mint" has with the Federal Government.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KermodeBear (738243) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:32AM (#42311721) Homepage

    Nor should it ever be.

    As much as these Westboro people irk me, I wouldn't want the government stepping in to tell them that they are not allowed to say what it is they say.

    If the government can do that, well. Someday, someone is going to get into office, and tell me that I can't say things. It won't even be hate speech; just political opinion. Or maybe not even so political opinion.

    If you think this can't happen in the US... Well, you're wrong. It already has. [chicora.org] Dear reader, I'd like to introduce you to President Woodrow Wilson.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FatRichie (1456467) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:52AM (#42311797)
    Though I'm not the AC that which you're responding to, I feel you're berating his use of Wikipedia when what you should be directing your conversation at is his point of view.

    Legal argument aside, he used Wikipedia for what it's very good for: citing factual or directly inferred information, not information up for thats typically debatable. And the reason Wikipedia is good for that is because the users (are supposed to) cite their information.

    In this case, his one sentence quote is backed up by citing four separate court cases.

    If you don't like his argument based off of that information, that's fine. But to deride him for using Wikipedia, and then imply his resulting argument is faulty because no good can come of Wikipedia is frankly BS. Note: I'm referring to your opening and closing statements, not when you actually get to the issues at hand.

    I apologize for venting my Wikihate frustrations towards you specifically, but I finally have time to reply this one of many, I feel, unwarranted assaults against a very useful source of information.

    Wikipedia, like all things on the internet must be taken with a grain of salt, but unlike almost all other things on the internet, at least Wikipedia tells the user on what the information is based.

    /rant
  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hawkinspeter (831501) on Monday December 17, 2012 @03:50AM (#42312163)
    The fixation on children's funerals is probably that losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a person. To harass these afflicted parents is inhumane. As a fan of free speech (although not an American) I don't care too much about what the WBC are saying, but to say it right outside the funerals is quite simply dick-ish.

    I'm glad Anonymous have done this - they don't worry about justifying their morality; they're more like a force of nature.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Monday December 17, 2012 @04:23AM (#42312293) Homepage

    Isn't that akin to shouting "fire" in a theatre though? Potentially the personal information released could have very serious consequences.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Monday December 17, 2012 @05:08AM (#42312439)

    I was thinking of something infinitely better myself - when Fred kicks the bucket (however it happens, how old is he?) get a million or two angry Americans to surround the entire perimeter of the graveyard and every inch of the street the procession goes down. No placards, no chants, no insults, nothing but the accusing stares of a million people who won't sink to their level - wearing masks of Fred's face.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vix86 (592763) on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:10AM (#42313157)

    If you demand censure of someone's speech, you allow him a loophole to demand the censure of yours.

    Then I wish someone would explain to me how WBC can picket almost anywhere with relative ease, but something like "Occupy Wall Street" gets relegated to "free speech zones" out of the way of all eyes and ears.

    If that's not censure, then I don't know what is.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:08AM (#42313469) Homepage Journal

    you are an idiot. i mean that as sincerely as possible

  • Re:Kudos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:43AM (#42313673) Journal

    Hacking someone's website is not speech. It is a criminal act. IF someone didn't like your speech, would it be acceptable for him to hack your computers and publish your personal information?

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:53AM (#42313773) Homepage Journal

    That was insightrul, interesting, and informative, thank you. I'd figured they were misguided nuts, I had no idea they were purposely evil.

    Secondly, you may notice that all or nearly all of the Phelpses are LAWYERS. In fact, they are all very accomplished tort lawyers and/or law staff. When you look at their history you will see that they ALWAYS sue people that assault them, and they almost always win. They have made MILLIONS off of suing people that attack them for their repugnant views.

    Luke 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 47Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. 52Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

    This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Freedom Riders. Basically a motorcycle gang that specifically follows the WSBC around whenever they protest a soldier's funeral.

    I admire the Freedom Riders, and they're bikers but they're NOT a "motorcycle gang." Motorcycle gangs are organized criminals like the Hell's Angels and The Outlaws. "Gang" as in "James Gang" and "Capone Gane" and "Bloods" and "Crips." The Freedom Riders are not gangsters, they're normal, law-abiding citizens (mostly veterans iinm) who happen to ride motorcycles.

    This is why I say that the Phelpses are NOT a Christian church.

    Well, whether or not they're a church, Jesus hates what they're doing.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:12AM (#42313983)

    The reason you predict people are going to respond that way is that you know full well that is exactly the logical fallacy you are indulging in.

    No, it is not. I list the TWO things that they have in common with Christian churches, and then go on to list all the things they do NOT have in common with Christian churches. In fact I very specifically point to that they are FEIGNING being a church for tax purposes, and use their lawyer skills to retain that classification.

    The problem with using the "No true Scotsman Fallacy" argument is that it:

    A. Is only an informal fallacy. (Sometimes Angus really ISN'T a true Scotsman.)

    B. Due to (a) it is used overbroadly to shut down argument. The WSBC case is almost textbook:
    1 - Crazy group uses Christianity as cover for evil.
    2 - Atheists conflate this group with all Christians everywhere as a way of pushing their own agenda.
    3 - Christians of all stripes roundly condemn crazy group and reject them while pointing out that these people aren't really Christian.
    4 - Atheists start screaming "No True Scotsman! No true Scotsman!" and continue to conflate the two groups.

    C. If you are going to conflate a small group engaging in clearly fringe behavior with a larger mainstream group, it is YOUR responsibility as the accuser to show the links. NOT the responsibility of the accused to show lack of links.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:52AM (#42314921) Journal

    Vaguely defined "public order" is one of the most easily abused reasons to arrest someone. I feel far safer in a country where WBC is able to protest freely than in one where I could be arrested for disturbing the public order if the police don't like my message. After all, the entire point of protests is to disrupt the public order and institute a new one.

    Look at how the government treated Occupy Wall Street. Do you really want to give them more power to shut down protests? If anything, protesters need more rights in the US, not less.

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