I’ve reported on this case before, and on March 2nd the Supreme Court ruled on the case. By a vote of 8-1 the Court upheld the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at funerals. They have protested at several funerals of young men and women killed in uniform who died in service to our country, including the funeral of Matthew Snyder. The members of the church (who are mainly members of the family of pastor, Fred Phelps) carry signs that say: “God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11” or “God Hates Fags.”
The Court ruled that while this speech is clearly offensive and painful, it’s protected by the First Amendment. At the end of the day, I’m afraid I have to say that I agree.
As a Christian I hate the fact that Fred Phelps claims to worship the same God as me. And while I pray for his conversion from a life of hate to a life of love, as an American citizen I believe he has a right to his hate. He has a right to offend me, and large segments of the population.
The final good news here is that all of us also have the right to offend him. Since this case has made national news, several organizations have promised to show up at these same funerals to shout down Phelps, et. al. They also have First Amendment protection.