Friday, October 1, 2010

Taking Fred Phelps to task, er court

A lawsuit against Fred Phelps is going all the way to the Supreme Court:

I suffer from extreme dislike of Mr. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. They picket funerals of AIDS victims, soldiers who have died in the line of duty. They picket Jews, Catholics, and gays. They claim that 9/11 happened because God was angry with the US for tolerating homosexuality.

The lawsuit in question is by a man whose son died in Iraq. Westboro/Phelps picketed his son's funeral. Can you imagine anything more mean-spirited?

Snyder filed suit on the basis that what Westboro did (picketing the funeral and publishing a mean-spirited poem mocking their son's death) constituted harassment.

Is it free speech? Or is it harassment? And when is it considered hate speech? Burning a cross near someone's house is illegal, but picketing a funeral isn't. I don't know what's right in this situation (well... what's right is for the Phelps clan to go home and learn to play nice, but I doubt THAT'S going to happen), but I'd like people to think about it.

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