The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects a fringe religious group that protested at the funeral of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq.
The court, on an 8-1 vote, ruled that the soldier’s father couldn’t sue Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., for celebrating his son’s death with vulgar funeral pickets and an online attack.
Thank goodness for SCOTUS and constitutional government. If this country allowed ANY group of fringe protesters to goad us into discarding the freedoms that make us special, it would have been a loss for all of us.
In many countries, even many enlightened European ones, freedom of speech is a privilege, not a right. This decision is a confirmation that in the US, constitutionally protected rights have weight – they aren’t just upheld when the people exercising them are popular.
Someday this decision will protect even some of the people who will now decry it.
My heart goes out to the people unfairly targeted by the Westboro Baptist church. They didn’t deserve that added trauma. But I am very, very glad that we remain a country that values freedom over protecting people’s feelings.
EDIT: And by the way, this group—which, notably, has failed to gather a following even among ultraconservatives—survives on media attention and conning people into suing them in cases they know they will win. Can we PLEASE stop giving them what they want now?
EDIT 2: Huh, just realized that the case stems from a funeral in the town I partly grew up in, half an hour from where I live now. Interesting. Doesn’t change my opinion, but interesting.