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Texas seeks to protect Westboro Baptist Church

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Well, not directly. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, an amendment to the state constitution was recently proposed that would "prohibit the government from interfering in situations where an individual chooses to act or refuses to act in a certain way on the basis of religion unless the government proves it has a compelling interest". Among the proponents of the bill is the father of Angela Hilderbrand, her school's valedictorian who was sued for including a prayer in her speech.

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The ironic thing is that lawsuits are supposed to be ways for people to seek justice for violations of their rights, and this amendment would block people from doing that in when religion is an issue. Among the religious groups that would benefit from the protection offered by the amendment is the Westboro Baptist Church, whose claim to fame is trolling funerals of military officers and other newsworthy public events. That alone might be enough to ensure that the amendment isn't passed.

But doesn't the WBC have the same freedom of speech as the rest of us? Never mind freedom of religion. Religion is just a word people made up as a euphemism for their superstitions. Speech is a real thing, and everyone has the right to share their opinions no matter what those opinions are. A constitutional amendment preventing the government from interfering with people's ability to act on their superstitious opinions shouldn't even be necessary. It's already covered in the first amendment of the United States constitution, as is the separation of church and state.

There is no shortage of people who would love to see the Westboro Baptist Church silenced, but if an opinion can be silenced, then any opinion can be silenced, including necessary critical opinions of corrupt government officials. Whoever has the power to put down a message with force will abuse the power. The WBC is a religious hate group, but it is also a group of peaceful people* who do not deserve to have force used against them.

(*Peaceful except for how they treat their children. They are monstrously abusive, according to Nathan Phelps, son of WBC founder and leader Fred Phelps.)

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