For every Westboro Church protest, there is a debate on legitimate public policy or government abuse that also demands protection.
It seems to me that, since we must live with Westboro, we may as well learn something from it. Can a church that preaches savage hatred really have anything to teach us? Yes.
Washburn University sophomore Zach Phelps-Roper spent his Wednesday morning like many other college students: glued to his cell phone. But he wasn't getting texts about last night's party -- he was waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Roberts said the Founding Fathers designed the First Amendment to encourage shouting matches not just at funerals, but at wakes and morgues.
When the boundaries between helpful and harmful speech are unenforceable, what can we do, in church or state, to reinforce and protect those recognized boundaries?
As 2010 comes to a close, it's clear that this year offered few favors for the American Muslim identity or reputation. Indeed, Pew reports that Muslims in America had a higher approval rating after 9/11 than in 2010.
It's worth acknowledging that what Fred Phelps does is just an extreme example of what society does to women on a daily basis. Any woman who shows independent agency in her childbearing decisions is open to questions and even vilification.
Popular speech doesn't need protection. Nor does popular religious belief. Seeing the Westboro Baptist Church protesting is (at the very, very least) a sign of our freedom.
After my post Friday morning about how to combat Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptists, one of the many who commented linked to this press release on ...
What can be done about the Westboro Baptist Church's protests of military funerals? Take refuge in the 2006 law banning protests within 300 feet of national cemeteries, and above all, do not engage with them.
It's easy to shrug off responsibility when you figure God is in the driver's seat. But what if God's grant of free will to humanity includes full responsibility for what happens next? What if the evidence suggests that God isn't even aboard the bus?
Last Friday (Oct. 8) I published a commentary discussing the case Snyder v. Phelps currently before the U.S. Supreme Court; a case that, at first glan...
Using free speech to intentionally and maliciously inflict pain, harm and emotional distress on others, should have legal consequences.
In Snyder v. Phelps, what of the grieving families? Are they not entitled to the respect, privacy and dignity accorded individuals at a time of great anguish?
A funeral is an occasion at which mourners should be free to grieve without having to confront offensive messages. As a matter of common sense, this is reasonable. As a matter of First Amendment law, however, it is flat-out wrong.
I am a staunch supporter of the First Amendment. But having the right to do something brings with it a certain responsibility for common sense and fairness.