Pretty much everyone is familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church. It’s the family led by Fred Phelps who travels around the country protesting military funerals, with their “God Hates Fags” signs.
Well, yesterday, after a four-year court battle, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the church’s hateful protests.
Westboro was sued by the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed while serving overseas. Fred Phelps and his crew showed up at the soldier’s funeral in Westminster, Md., just outside of Baltimore, in 2006. The family responded with a suit claiming slander and intense emotional distress, which they ended up winning in the lower courts, but lost after several appeals.
I’m not surprised about this ruling at all. And, as a journalist, I hope that the Sup. Ct. always rules in favor of the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech. But this is a tough one, because I also think that families should have the right to bury their loved ones in peace. Luckily local governments around the country have started instituting laws that restrict how close these protesters can be to the actual funeral.
What I am surprised about is Bill O’Reily’s ardent attack on the Sup. Ct. ruling. And in gays’ favor no less. The below features his take on the subject as he debates it with a former government lawyer. I’m loving everything he’s saying, but hearing Bill O’Reily rail against others verbally attacking people seems a bit hypocritical.