The Supreme Court started out its first term with new Justice, Elena Kagan, and taking on the controversial challenge to the First Amendment. The court is taking on the case of unwanted and down right disgusting protests at military funerals that are being carried out by Westboro Baptist Church. It is really the first time, other than issues with the 2nd Amendment, that I have actually cared what the Supreme Court was doing.
The fools over at Westboro Baptist think that it is perfectly fine to protest a soldiers funeral, where grieving family members say there last goodbyes, with signs like “Semper Fi Fags.” The congregation, almost entirely family, thinks that “God” is punishing the United States by killing its soldiers because the U.S. is kinda ok with gays. The issue of there funeral protests became an issue after a Albert Snyder became outraged at their protests at his sons funeral. His son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, was killed in combat in 2006 and his funeral was subject to disgusting signs carried by the Topeka, Kansas group.
“When you have a private funeral we will not be there. When you have a public funeral, and you broadcast to the nation that that dead soldier is a hero and that God is blessing America, we will be there and tell you God is cursing America,” said Westboro Church Attorney Margie Phelps. Mr. Snyder says that there are plenty of ways of protesting without offending others and in my opinion he is 100% correct. “There is a civilized way to express an opinion in America, but it does not involve intentionally inflicting emotional distress on others, intentionally harming a private citizen at a private funeral,” said Albert Snyder.
The case made it to the Supreme Court after Mr. Snyder appealed an overturning of a verdict for $5 million that was awarded to him by a lower court. The award was thrown out entirely when another judge ruled that it violated the churches right to free speech and protest.
The signs the church carry are offending to most Americans with an IQ higher than 5 because things like “Thank God For Dead Soldiers” doesn’t usually go over very well here. I fully support there right to protest anything they want; just not at funerals. What there signs say doesn’t matter because that is protected but doing so at a funeral crosses a few lines for me and many. I also don’t think it’s wise to carry “Semper Fi Fags” on a sign outside of a Marines funeral but that is just me. It appears the Justices on the Supreme Court agree as even the most skeptical Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, questioned the morality of their cause.
It would be a big step for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Mr. Snyder and add an exception to the 1st Amendment and I think it would be a step in the right direction. I’m not surprised by what the Supreme Court does anymore, especially after they gave cops the choice in helping someone or not, but I’d be incredibly disappointed if they didn’t vote in favor of Mr. Snyder. A lot of people in this country think the 1st Amendment gives them a free pass to say whatever the hell they want and often make it an excuse to say disparaging things so I for one wouldn’t mind this one limit to “free speech.”