Justices to hear case over protests at military funerals

A small Kansas church that has gained nationwide attention for protesting loudly at funerals of U.S. service members will receive a Supreme Court hearing over free speech rights.

The justices Monday accepted an appeal from the father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq over efforts to keep members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating near memorial services and burials.

The Marine’s family won a $5 million judgment from the protesters, which lower courts overturned.

The church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, said it believes God is punishing the United States for “the sin of homosexuality” through events such as soldiers’ deaths.

Full story:  Justices to hear case over protests at military funerals – CNN

  • rick013

    Just think of all those service personnel who have given their most over the years just so a group of cranks can exercise “free” speech.

  • windrdr

    Phelps and his clan are beyond obnoxious. While they are free to hold whatever beliefs they choose, they should be checked when their actions cause injury and harm. A family participating in the ONLY opportunity to lay a loved one to rest – something for which there is NO do-over, is most certainly injured when a bunch of cranks show up, act like jackasses, and basically dance on the deceased’s grave. Whatever their excuse may be.

    Morally, Phelps’ actions differ only from shouting fire in a crowded theater, in that the potential for injury is mental, and spiritual, for those subjected to it, instead of physical.

    As a society, we recognize that yelling ‘fire’ in a theater is beyond the protections of free speech; likewise we recognize that ‘honor killings’ are beyond the protections of freedom of religion.

    Premeditated, planned harassment of grieving families, in the midst of their loss and suffering, at the graveside, should likewise be beyond the pale, for the same reason – exercise of a ‘right’ should never come at the unwarranted expense of someone else’s – in this case, the right of the families harassed by the Phelps to lay their loved ones to rest in peace, and in privacy.