Eric Giunta
January 28, 2013
Florida Catholic, Baptist spokesmen weigh in on proposed funeral protest ban
By Eric Giunta


A bill that would greatly restrict the staging of protests at funerals has passed through the first of several hurdles in the state Senate committee process, and spokesmen for Florida's Catholics and Southern Baptists tell Sunshine State News they support the principles contained in it.

On Thursday, the six Republicans and four Democrats sitting on the Florida Senate Committee on Regulated Industries unanimously approved SB 118. The bill, filed by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and titled "Funerals, Burials, and Memorial Services," would criminalize protest activities within 500 feet of the property line of any location where a funeral, burial, or memorial service is being held, and during or within one hour before or one hour after the conducting of such services.

(The bill defines "protest activities" as "any action, including picketing, that is undertaken with the intent to interrupt or disturb a funeral, burial, or memorial service.")

Violation of the prohibition would constitute a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. (Florida law already makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to "willfully interrupt or disturb any lawful assembly.")

The bill's introduction was motivated by the activities of a Kansas sect, the Westboro Baptist Church. The church's pastor, disbarred attorney and Democratic political activist Fred Phelps, regularly stages protests at the funerals of military servicemen and other famous victims of tragedy. One of their most infamous slogans is "God Hates Fags."

Sunshine State News spoke to state spokesmen for Florida's two largest religious denominations, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, to get their take on the proposed legislation and its implications for both religious worship and free speech. . . .

Catch the rest of the story at Sunshine State News!

© Eric Giunta

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

 

Alan Keyes
Why de facto government (tyranny) is replacing the Constitution (Apr. 2015)

Stephen Stone
Will Obama be impeached now that Republicans control both houses of Congress? (Nov. 2014)

Chip McLean
The end of the Wicked Witch of the Left?

Clenard Childress
Black Life Matters collaborates with Planned Parenthood

Tim Dunkin
The United States need a Brexit strategy

Tabitha Korol
Musings of a Muslim father

Curtis Dahlgren
31 genders and becoming Venezuela: Signs of decline (by design)

Judie Brown
Alleviating Catholic madness

Rev. Austin Miles
MilesTones: Yes you're the man--OOPS--a forbidden word !

Michael Gaynor
Donald Trump must continue to counterattack liberal media bias, not ignore it

Alan Keyes
Having no choice means bearing no responsibility

Selwyn Duke
"Sexism" at the Olympics? How's this: Why do women's sports even exist?

J. Matt Barber
Still 'pro-choice' after this? Then you have no soul

Dan Popp
The compassion monster
  More columns

Cartoons


Michael Ramirez
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites