Skip to comments.Odious but protected
Posted on 03/03/2011 3:07:18 AM PST by Scanian
Let's start by stating the obvi ous: The Westboro Baptist Church is a hateful, odious fringe sect, less a "church" than the extended family of founder and "pastor" Fred Phelps, that has picketed nearly 600 military funerals with signs like "Thank God for dead soldiers," "Pray for more dead soldiers," and "God hates fags."
The Topeka-based "independent Baptist church" is animated by extreme anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic views, and blames America's tolerance of homosexuality for what it sees as the country's moral downfall.
In 2007, the "church" was sued by Albert Snyder -- whose son Matthew, a Marine lance corporal, died in Iraq -- after Phelps and his family picketed the funeral. In his suit, Snyder cited emotional distress and invasion of privacy, and a jury in Maryland found for Snyder and awarded him more than $10 million in damages, later reduced by half. The judgment was reversed on appeal in federal court on First Amendment grounds, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Yesterday, in an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court found in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church and denied Snyder any damages. It was right to do so.
If the First Amendment's free-speech clause protects anything, it protects the most hateful of speech. If it protects anyone, it protects the meanest and worst among us. And if there is one class of speech protected above all others, it is political speech.
"Speech is powerful," wrote Chief Justice Roberts for the majority. "It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and -- as it did here -- inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
One has to wonder who is paying their bills?
The rumor is the “church” consists largely of lawyers who cruise around the country in a van to show their asses at military funerals and gay events in the hope that their provocations will inspire physical attack so they can sue the attacker and the local jurisdiction where it ocurred.
I haven’t seen any documentation but the talk is that they have received some substantial settlement money.
Westboro may have started as a Baptist church in the ‘50’s but it has degenerated into nothing more than a corrupt family enterprise.
Phelps is in with the Democrats, that’s why.
Yes —and any Democratic Politician can desecrate our Flag and call it protected “speech” and any Demoncratic Politician can use Our flag as a floor cover and call it art and not only protected but funded by taxpayer dollars.And any progressive art gallery pimp can say some anti-American Zipper Head can shove Our flag in a crapper and call it protected Art? And when Patriots ask Our flag be treated with respect the Patriot is charged as criminal? Oh the humanity of a world where evil is called good and good evil.
Didn’t the Supreme Court also say that it was illegal for antiabortion protestors to demonstrate outside of abortion clinics?
If there are any Mafia hit-men out there who would like to take a stab at paying society back for their own evil ways...
...just thinking out loud. Sorry.
Screaming abuse at a funeral should be treated as “fighting words”.
How protected would they be if they used the “N” word