Freedom of Expression,  Stateside

Supreme Court upholds hate church’s free speech

The US Supreme Court has ruled by an 8 to 1 vote that even when they protest a military funeral, the disgusting denizens of the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to free speech under the First Amendment.

It’s a painful but correct decision, I think.

The decision ended a lawsuit by Albert Snyder, who sued church members for the emotional pain they caused by showing up at his son Matthew’s funeral. As they have at hundreds of other funerals, the Westboro members held signs with provocative messages, including “Thank God for dead soldiers,” ”You’re Going to Hell,” ”God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11,” and one that combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, with a slur against gay men.

Although Matthew Snyder was not gay, the Westboro thugs believe God is killing American soldiers to show his wrath for, among other things, permissive attitudes toward homosexuals.

Because it is named after a reputed homosexual, the high school I graduated from many years ago was one of their targets. They also demonstrated outside a synagogue in Brooklyn.

It’s something of a cliche, but nevertheless: the test of a society’s commitment to free speech is its ability to tolerate the most appalling forms of it.

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