Fans of WWPM MediaNet know me as the host of I-70 Baseball Radio. As people listen to that show and (hopefully) discover the various places on the web that I put pen to paper and lay down an assault on words, the discovery of how important baseball is to me becomes very apparent. When Jake invited me to write for the WWPM MediaNet Blog, I wanted a place to express my feelings on things other than baseball, thoughts and expressions that I did not have a home for. This morning, a news story catches my eye and I felt the need to sit down and express myself. I welcome any and all comments.
Disclaimer: The following article is a strict belief in the rights of American Citizens. Personally, I do not agree with what this group does, nor do I feel they should be doing it.
The conundrum of freedoms and those heroic individuals that protect it
The problem that arises before me centers around a group of people known as the Westboro Baptist Church. The “church” travels around the country promoting hatred of alternative lifestyles, war and people of Jewish faith. For the purpose of today’s discussion, I want to discuss the picketing of military funerals by the group.
The conundrum that comes to light is in the freedoms that the soldiers are sworn to protect. Most notably, the first amendment afforded to all American citizens, and their freedom to public assembly.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The situation produces an oxymoron of sorts. The soldier who is being honored with a military burial died while defending these freedoms for citizens of the world. The group of individuals will protest at his funeral in a peaceful manner, thus exercising the freedoms that the soldier died to defend. The protest that they express is based on the belief that the soldier should not have been fighting this fight.
This is not about whether or not I believe in the wars that we fight. This has nothing to do with whether or not we should be the police of the world. This does not reflect on political choices or what this nation should or should not be doing. This has to do with the young men and women in the casket.
I have long been someone to say “Support the soldier, not the war”. The soldier has signed away his life and given up many of the privileges that many of us take for granted. Ultimately he died defending the exact right that the Westboro Baptist Church is expressing. To tell them that they cannot protest the funeral undermines the purpose of the acts the soldier performs. To allow them to continue shows that the soldier did not die in vain.
If you do not agree with it, assemble peacefully against them. It is your American Right. It is their right as well. We do not have to like it, but we cannot be hypocritical in how we apply it.
Bill Ivie is the Executive Editor of I-70 Baseball, the on air host of I-70 Baseball Radio, the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com and a frequent host of the United Cardinal Blogger Radio Hour. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.