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
'A Bucket Brigade': The most simple, feasible way to take back America!

Stephen Stone
Will Obama be impeached now that Republicans control both houses of Congress?

Maureen Scott
Obama's immigration plan: don't fix the leaky roof, just get more buckets

Michael Bresciani
Second Coming of Christ -- beware of the gainsayers

Laurie Roth
Our new Congress must impeach Obama--Attacks will happen anyway

Kevin Fobbs
IMPEACH - Obama's executive order allows illegal aliens to destroy America's soul

Rev. Mark H. Creech
No room for divided loyalties

Sylvia Thompson
As goes the National Cathedral, so goes the nation...if we allow it

Tabitha Korol
ASA -- Anti-Semitic Association

Bryan Fischer
Why we oppose the normalization of transgenderism

Cliff Kincaid
Chuck Todd and other media dimwits

Alan Caruba
Is there anywhere safe to be a Jew?

Ellis Washington
On Cervantes: when morality is replaced with madness

Michael Oberndorf
Amnesty? No, treason!
  More columns

Cartoons


Michael Ramirez

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

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

Sister sites