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Monday, March 7, 2011

Free Speech v. Hate Speech: God Hates The Internet (Part I)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Holy crap.  Anonymous actually did something worth really talking about.

Quick catch up: For those of you who've been snoozing since 2003, Anonymous is an online group organized around goofy, dramatic, interesting, and oftentimes bizarre Internet goings-on.  There's really no great way to define them, because there's never been anything like them.  They're responsible for tons of hacks, pranks, and demonstrations all over the World Wide Web.
Most recently, they took on the Westboro Baptist Church, a notoriously, uh, well... There's no great way to sugar coat the things they stand for.  Remember the "God Hates Fags" demonstrators?  That's them.  The people protesting with pictures of mutilated corpses at military funerals?  That's them.  They recently won their court case protecting their right to be completely tasteless.
The Westboro Baptist Church is no more a church than Church's Fried Chicken is a church. --Philadelphia Daily News
They're pretty much loathed by nearly everyone who isn't a member of their church, but since there's no narrowly defined legal description of hate speech, the opposition often finds itself falling short. On February 16, 2011 Anonymous posted a cease and desist-styled open letter warning Westboro Baptist Church to yield their wicked ways. In true Phelps family fashion the congregation responded by taunting Anonymous to "bring it!" And, in the fabulously over-the-top style of Anonymous, they took them down online during this live interview. Did Westboro Baptist Church have it coming?  Should hate speech have some solid legal definition?  Is there a "space in hell" for Anonymous?

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