The Felps Phreaks* have crawled out from under their rock again, this time getting gratuitous news coverage over an Appeals Court decision in their favor. With their reappearance in the public eye comes the renewed calls for bans on protests at funerals.
Look, I probably agree with your assessment of them. I think they're scum. I think they give religious fundamentalism a bad name. I find their protests at funerals to be among the most un-Christian of activities possible, short of murder. As a means of encouraging change it ranks up there with flag burning. The group's actions diminish the message of its protests.
But here's the rub: Political protest is one of the fundamental elements of the American way of life. The heroes at whose funerals these inbred wastes of oxygen protest pledged to defend that way of life. Thousands of men, women and children died to bring forth that way of life, and to continue its existence.
Political protest is firmly ensconced in our Constitution in the First Amendment. Remember...the Bill of Rights doesn't give us rights - it specifies rights that the Federal government is not allowed to take away from citizens.
Political protest done correctly is always going to be ugly to someone. You may think this form of protest is over the line and should be banned, but odds are pretty good that some form of protest YOU find acceptable is over the line to someone else and THEY think it should be banned! (Hint: Tea Parties!)
Think about how a protest ban could be used against an issue you are passionate about. A law against protests written too specifically will be easy to challenge in court and/or get around, a law written broad enough to resist challenge will be easy to use against other forms of protest!
Political protest, though protected, isn't unlimited. It's quite common for 'protest zones' to be established at political conventions and international conferences. Often times these zones are well away from the venue. This may be a better solution to the funeral protests than trying to ban them altogether.
These idiots feed on press coverage. Deny them the publicity and they'll either become more and more outrageous in their attempts to capture the spotlight, thereby exposing themselves to more legal scrutiny and/or public ridcule, or they'll run out of money and go away. Paying attention to them just fuels their cause.
* Yeah, I know it's spelled the other way around, but why feed them search engine hits?