The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Farting On Entrees

It was a strange conversation between my father and me. He told me that he was planning on protesting a group of protesters at a fallen soldier's funeral. He asked me if I had heard of the church that was doing this and I told him that I had. (I will not name the church or link any of their articles because I don't want them to get any publicity from this site.) He asked me if I understood why they were doing it and I told him I didn't.

"You know," he said, "they told us that if someone spit on us not to fight back, but to get a police officer and tell them. You know what I would do if some dumb son of a bitch spit on me?"

I replied yes, but he wanted to make sure I knew.

"I don't know how it would end up. I would be lying on the ground or someone else would, but I can damn sure guarantee you one of us would."

"Dad," I said in my best fatherly advice voice, our roles suddenly reversed, "Just be careful."

Luckily, it rained the day of the planned protest and my father wasn't feeling to well so he didn't attend. So a potential sticky situation was avoided.

I have read a few things in the papers about this church that goes around protesting and publicizing it's hate. They hold up signs that say "God Hates Fag Enablers" and "Thank God For IED's." They have a website that promotes their agenda, however misguided it may be. They believe that God is punishing America because we are tolerant of homosexuals. So they have decided to protest people that are killed in the war to get their message through.

Their message makes no sense to me. If God is punishing America because of our tolerance of sin, then He should be punishing America for a lot more than just one issue. A sin is a sin is a sin. If God is punishing America for one sin, then why is God not punishing America for another. Why not punish us for our greed? Why not punish us for our hatred? Why not punish us for our negligence of how we treat our sick, elderly, homeless, and people that are different than us?

The fact of the matter is that these people are just plain wrong. They have simply let their hatred of others cloud their love of God.

I read today in the paper that many states are now creating new laws that bar people from protesting funerals. I applaud states for passing such laws, but the fact that we need laws like this saddens me. It tells me that people now, maybe they always have, care more about their rights than what is actually right.

Sure, I will defend the 1st amendment of the Constitution for anyone. I will. I own a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. I read it every so often. I read the words like notes on sheet music, when I read it I can hear brass bands playing. And when I read the 1st amendment, then I can see how a church can have the right to protest a soldier's funeral.

But I don't think they should.

That's the rub with free speech. It' not so easy.

Many people like to say that free speech isn't really free, but I disagree with that statement. Free speech is free. It is the most essential freedom that we have as Americans. Anyone can say anything that they want. But as everyone should know, our actions and speech has consequences. And sometimes consequences are good and sometime they are rather grave.

The fact of the matter is many people forget about the consequences. Instead they just want to boast about their rights. Just because we have rights and laws on our side does not mean that we are justified. In the battle for rights, people forget about what is the right thing to do.

Do I have the right to speed past a funeral procession going down 71B flipping everyone off? Yes, I do. But do I? No, because it is tasteless, tacky, and just plain wrong. My conscious just won't let me.

I have many rights. There are many laws that protect me. But the thing that protects me the most is my common sense, conscious, and plain old decency. All the laws and rights in the world can't protect me anymore than I can protect myself.

There is a line in a movie (Big Trouble) from a few years ago that I am reminded of when it comes to laws, rights, courtesy and decency. A man is eating a steak at a steakhouse and there is a table full of men smoking big cigars at the next table. The man goes over to the table and asks the gentlemen to please put out their cigars so he can enjoy his steak. The gentlemen refuse and tell them that their isn't any law against smoking. The man who wants to enjoy his steak agrees. But he adds, "There is also no law that says I can't come over here and fart on your entrees, but I don't because it is rude."

Today's newspaper interviewed one of the church's lawyers (Why does a church need to have a lawyer on retainer?) and they said that they will abide by the law because they follow the law. I only wish they would follow their conscious and the old golden rule.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kristy said...

With freedom comes responsibility. I have made that statement SO many times in the last couple of weeks. I've been talking w/ people who think that if we don't use that freedom to the fullest extent, then it will be taken away from us. But isn't is more so that, if we don't use it responsibly, it will be taken away? Augh...I could go on forever.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

son,
you have written very well about this subject. your article makes a lot of sence unfortunatlly some people are just dumb son of a bitches.these assholes are smart enough to pick the ones where noyhing will happen to them. what do you think would happen ih a big mafi don would die and they went to protest?
your writting is very good and s always i am very proud of you and the way you think.
dad

6:20 AM  

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