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The First Amendment and hate

Free speech for me, but not for thee?

The American President (1995)

....America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours....

The First Amendment and free speech don't appear to be as absolute with some Americans as other single digit amendments.

At the White House petition site:

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.

This group has been recognized as a hate group by organizations, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, and has repeatedly displayed the actions typical of hate groups.

Their actions have been directed at many groups, including homosexuals, military, Jewish people and even other Christians. They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation.

Created: Dec 14, 2012

Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Human Rights, Veterans and Military Families

Signatures needed by January 13, 2013 to reach goal of 25,000 0

Total signatures on this petition 316,998

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Investigate the IRS Tax-Exempt Status of the Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church is better-known for homophobic displays, suing people and picketing funerals than for providing Christian care to a community. Due to their harassment and politicking, their IRS tax-exempt status should be immediately investigated.

Created: Dec 16, 2012

Issues: Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Human Rights, Veterans and Military Families

Signatures needed by January 15, 2013 to reach goal of 25,000 0

Total signatures on this petition 77,641

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Revoke the tax exempt status of the Westboro Baptist Church & re-classify Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.

Westboro Baptist Church is legally recognized as a religious organization and therefore receives a tax exempt status under our laws. The Phelps family and their supporters use these tax exempt funds to finance a country-wide campaign against any person or group they feel promotes values that do not meet with their own. Most prominently they are anti-gay.

The members of this hate group make a practice of targeting funerals to make their case, routinely inflicting further pain and anguish onto the mourning families of deceased soldiers and, even worse, the victims of tragic crimes. They hold signs thanking God and celebrating the deaths of these people. They wave these signs in the faces of the families.

By granting their tax exemption WE ARE FUNDING THEIR HATE. This must change.

Created: Dec 16, 2012

Issues: Budget and Taxes, Human Rights, Veterans and Military Families

ignatures needed by January 15, 2013 to reach goal of 25,000 0

Total signatures on this petition 72,056

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Remove the Westboro Baptist Church's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and make it retroactive.

The Westboro Baptist Church operates as a tax-exempt church. While it speaks volumes that many Americans value their right to free speech, this does not mean that we have to pay for their vitriol.

The WBC is not and should never have been considered a legitimate church for tax-exemption purposes, and this could be declared so either directly or with legislation affirming any or all of the following:

1) The WBC does not engage in any charity comparable in scope to their public image. They are only known for hate.

2) The WBC is not inclusive of its surrounding community, restricting membership. It is regarded by some as a tax shelter for its family's law operations.

3) The WBC uses invective speech under its name, actively denigrating classes of people - soldiers, homosexuals, and others

Created: Dec 16, 2012

Issues: Budget and Taxes, Civil Rights and Liberties

Signatures needed by January 15, 2013 to reach goal of 25,000 0

Total signatures on this petition 53,950

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Define the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group due to promoting animosity against differing cultural demographics.

The Westboro Baptist Church has surpassed the point of free speech and has crossed into the realm of harassing citizens. They vocally promote hate against every demographic that they are not a part of. Their own website URL is made of obscenities that directly carve out a specific demographic: "www.godhatesfags.com". They even picket military funerals - when our soldiers and their families are at their lowest. The hatred is clear and they fit the definition given by the SPLC with no deviation. The only possible reason to exclude them would be the extent of the effect that they have had on society, but the legal "hate group" designation will prevent further damage and harassment before it has to happen.

Created: Dec 14, 2012

Issues: Civil Rights and Liberties, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, Human Rights

Signatures needed by January 13, 2013 to reach goal of 25,000 0

Total signatures on this petition 39,345

Actually, the constitutional way to counter free speech is with more free speech. This tactic has been successfully applied to the Westboro Baptist Church pickets in the past.

A hate group, the First Amendment, and a funeral in a small town (November 23, 2010)

"...Maybe the good thing is that good people showed up today to speak out..."

Previously:
Proposition 8 rally in Kansas City (November 15, 2008)

Proposition 8 rally in Kansas City - more photos (November 16, 2008)

"God hates fags"--according to the Westboro Baptist Church (November 9, 2009)

Where to start? (November 23, 2010)

A hate group, the First Amendment, and a funeral in a small town - part 2 (November 29, 2010)

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