Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Freedoms of Westboro Baptist Church

Pretty amazing series of photographs by Anthony Karen inside -- and we do mean inside -- the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. (that's NOT one of them to the left).

Old man/preacher Fred Phelps has 13 children, 11 of whom are lawyers (as is he).

Even without all that legal fire-power, our prediction is that they'll win the Supreme Court case upcoming about their right to hold up offensive signs (like "Thank God for 9/11") at funerals or anywhere else they please.

I don't see the claim that they are intentionally inflicting emotional distress on the families of, say, dead soldiers -- or Elizabeth Edwards, recently -- outweighing their First Amendment rights to free speech.


RV said...

I don't see how they can be effective in getting their message across in such a mean-spirited way.

Brushfire said...

How is their speech different from vulgar curse words? Do we have the first amendment right to parade carrying signs with F*** and Sh**, or Ni***** in public places?

amjp said...

If you really knew anything about Phelps and his creepy family, you'd realize that they are not like anyone else. I have known about them for several years as I didn't live far from Topeka.

They are despicably nasty. They picket religious congregations that they disagree with, scream at members, and, in general, act outrageously. Such congregations have had to hire police protection because of them.

They come off as collectively insane. Perhaps they do have 1st amendment rights to act as they do, but I wish they'd shut up and go away.

amjp said...

You might take a look at this piece from last May in the Kansas City "Star":

Moose said...

Brushfire, that is an interesting question. Do we have the right to carry a protest sign that has the F word on it? Aren't there obscenity laws or regulations? Free speech does have limits. The Phelps clan is certainly guilty of inflicting emotional distress and intimidating people. If they were barred from protesting funerals, would their rights be violated? They would still be free to spew their crap on all their web sites.