Sunday, March 06, 2011

Don't Listen

This morning Fox News Sunday had an interview with Margie Phelps, a member of and attorney for the Westboro Baptist Church. This is the small group that stages those obnoxious demonstrations near the funerals of American service men and women killed in action.

She recently won a Supreme Court case that affirmed the First Amendment rights of the Westboro Baptist Church to express opinions that most people find to be disgusting.

I agree with the Supreme Court, but Ms. Phelps has given us the antidote to her groups hateful speech. She said that the Supreme Court put a megaphone to the mouth of her tiny church. She is wrong. They didn't do that. They only said that governments could not silence them. Her group has a megaphone only if the news media gives them coverage and we listen.

The answer is to not give these people the attention they crave. They are irrational and delusional. Reason is not going to change them and attention only reinforces their delusions. If no one listens, if no one stages counter protests, if we all change the channel when they are given news coverage, then news organizations will stop covering them . This won't mute their hate or cure their ignorance or diminish their delusional view that they speak for God. They just go back to being a nameless group of kooks no one pays any attention to.

The beauty of our system is that our Constitution prevents governments from deciding which speech should be heard and which should be suppressed. It leaves it to people to listen or not listen and make our own decisions.

I've heard what the members of the Westboro Baptist Church believe and totally reject those ideas. From now on I choose not to listen.

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