Most days, I settle for the Anne Frank view on things – that most people are basically good. Good, or good enough. If they weren’t, life would be much harder, shorter, scrappier, and brutal…kind of like Hollywood, but everywhere. But there are bad people out there, whose natures and activities cause pain and misery for the people around them most of the time. And THEN there are the Bad People Who Are REALLY REALLY BAD. Sometimes you will find these people in prisons. Sometimes they find their ways to positions of power. And sometimes you find them yelling hateful slurs to grieving people and calling it free speech.

So there we have the almost-universally-despised Westboro Baptist Church members, better known as the “God Hates Fags” folks. As you might gather, they really don’t like the idea of homosexuality and they believe that their righteous God doesn’t either, and is smiting our United States left and right because of it. In what even Hitler would likely find over-the-top behavior, this group makes a point of picketing the funerals of gay people, anyone who doesn’t hate gays, students who died in a house fire, soldiers killed in battle, natural disaster victims, victims of random violence, atheists, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Orthodox Christians, and, yes, Baptists. Their message is that unless you believe exactly as they do and join with them to preach “God’s hate,” you are going to Hell and should hurry up about it. You too, Grandma Betty, crying over your 5-year-old granddaughter’s hit-and-run death. Don’t you know God struck that sweet little girl down because America tolerates fags? Jump in the grave with her!

These creepy mental cases have stirred up enough trouble to earn themselves yet another day in court – this time, The Supreme Court of The United States will hear an appeal from the father of a dead soldier whose funeral was marred by Westboro church members. I don’t really understand how it all had to get this far. Think about it: if I decided to randomly attend someone’s burial service and started yelling at the top of my voice that Safeway had 2-for-1 pints of strawberries, someone would call the cops and the cops would tell me to move on or arrest me for causing a disturbance. RIGHT? Even if I were PASSIONATE about letting the mourners know about the strawberries, it would never be my right to so infringe on their personal business as to cause them distress. HELLO, LAWS ALREADY IN PLACE. Now, if I wanted to stand a few hundred feet away holding a large ad with said strawberry deal on it and wave it around a bit, that seems reasonable, even if I may know that the mourners are in fact allergic to strawberries or simply do not enjoy them at all. It’s weird and stupid and useless, but protects my right to Strawberry while reasonably protecting the mourners from my stupid weirdness.

The right to privacy may outweigh even our cherished unfettered free speech guarantee. There are moments in any life that are so difficult and that make us so vulnerable that if not protected, can disrespect and crush a piece of the core of what it is to be human. This goes past politics, current cultural mores, and religious ideology. Your voice defines your place in the world, but your privacy = human dignity. Don’t go anywhere without it.

I understand that the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t really give a flying f about the laws of this country, or their fellow man. They believe that they are doing their bi-polar God’s work, and that goes above all other things. They have done a fine job of drawing attention to their outsider beliefs, haven’t they? Now…how about SCOTUS doing a fine job of protecting the good, or good enough, from REALLY REALLY BAD? Let Westboro have their say, but stop letting them destroy the privacy and dignity of others with HATE CRIMES (more laws in place there, folks). How very sensible, huh?