Jacob McGuire:

In an attempt at providing security for friends and family members of the congress members that were killed in Arizona, Jan Brewer with the Arizona Legislation has passed an emergency bill that creates a 300 ft barrier around the funeral procession for an hour before, during and an hour after the time of the funeral service. As this is an attempt to make funerals civil, I personally do support the ban.

When attempting to think objectively about a funeral service, it is a very personal occasion which typically involves family, friends and sometimes admirers. As this is the case I think funeral services should be as private or as open as the family (or person/persons otherwise stated by the deceased) desire.

While some could consider this a violation of the First Amendment, I wonder if it would be appropriate for protesters to be present during birth, or even out in the parking lot of the hospital after receiving the child? The First Amendment is in place to give people a right to have an opinion, but not the right to degrade others.
This is particularly curious due to the nature of the protesters, Christians. Though Interestingly enough each time I have witnessed protesters they have always been Christian.

As I am a Philosophy and Religion major as well as a Christian myself, the two most important commandments given as Jesus says (Matthew 23:41-46) are to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor. If this is the case then loving your neighbor means protesting at funerals as opposed to comforting and giving condolences to those who have lost a family member or a friend. This seems to me to be unethical and simply stupid as love is an action of grace and forgiveness not hate and fear.

Jacob McGuire is a junior majoring in philosophy & religious studies.


Jean-Gabriel Jolivet:

In the wake of the tragic events in Tucson, Ariz., and fol­lowing the decision by the West­boro Baptist church to protest the funerals of those killed, the Arizona legislature introduced SB 1101 to ban the protesters from the funerals.

The bill underlines the need to balance free speech and public safety. This bill is based on an Ohio statute that barred protests for one hour before and one hour after a funeral procession within a 300-foot radius. The Ohio law was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court heard an appeal from the West­boro church last October. The Justices are expected to issue a decision by the late spring in re­gards to that issue.

Some would argue that such statue prevents the Westboro church to freely exercise their constitutional rights. However, despite the special protection accorded by the First Amend­ment, there is no absolute right to use public property for free speech activity, and the govern­ment should have the right to limit such display in the name of public safety.

The Westboro Church needs to respect any funerals and find peaceful and respectful ways to push its extreme political agen­da.

Jean-Gabriel Jolivet is the as­sistant professor of political sci­ence and the pre-law advisor