TODAY'S QUESTION: Do you agree with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | 4:16 p.m. CST

The Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday that the Westboro Baptist Church's protests at military funerals  are covered by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court decided 8-1, saying freedom of speech, hurtful or not, is still protected.

The church has attracted nationwide attention for its anti-gay protests at U.S. military funerals. Fred Phelps, who leads the Topeka, Kan., church, claims God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality."

The protest that spurred the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court decision occurred in Westminster, Md., at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died in 2006. After the group protested at his funeral, Snyder's family sued the church in 2007 for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

Do you agree with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church?

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David Rosman March 2, 2011 | 5:25 p.m.

Yes. See commentary at

Westboro and the Supreme Court - Where do we draw the line between hate hate and free speech? Http://

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Patrick Fallon March 2, 2011 | 5:59 p.m.

The National Press Photographers Association has a good write up about the case here and why media organizations came out to support it.

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Greg Allen March 2, 2011 | 10:24 p.m.

As one politician put it, you have the right to speak your mind, but you don't have the right to be taken seriously.

Technically, they are covered by the First Amendment. But this is where the vox populi comes in: we don't have to accept hate speech. The creative solution of protesters blocking the Westboro Church members from getting close to a funeral is great. So is having people pledge money to a cause that the Westboro Church preaches against for every minute that they spew their hatred publicly.

I suppose we'll always have ill people using religion as a storefront for their twisted agendas. Government can only do so much. We, the people, will do the rest. Creatively and nonviolently, of course.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 3, 2011 | 10:52 a.m.

I think the Westboro people have an absolute right to say whatever they want, stupid and misguided though it might be. In fact, I think we've gone a bit far with the invention of the term "hate speech", as its definition depends on whichever groups are considered more deserving of protection by the political powers that be. No one has to listen to inflammatory rhetoric - the most mature and peaceful thing is to simply ignore it.

However, I wouldn't mind seeing it made unlawful to hold any sort of protest at funerals of any type. That's just in poor taste (like profanity and obscenity). In fact, I'd think the Westboro people have done far more damage to their cause (such as it is) by demonstrating at these venues than if they had simply set up a Web site, or held signs in front of the post office. They really don't seem too bright.


(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire March 4, 2011 | 1:22 p.m.

They do seem to be brighter than the Missouri legislature, who is preparing to write another law essentially against them personally.
You know they are stupid as hell. If they aren't they sure pretend well. But hey, I've got to like anybody if they can get politicians so incensed that they write frivolous laws against them and then go sue the entities they represent and win.
So at this point, I am at a loss for what I should say. Maybe "Go you xenophobic inbred morons!!!"?

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