Even animals express some kind of sympathy, or grief, or compassion when there is a loss among their kind.
The family members associated with a small U.S. religious fringe group do not see it that way. They see death as opportunity. They argue their right to advance their agenda in the middle of a family’s sorrow is protected by free speech.
Free speech indeed; the men who drafted the U.S. Constitution would be horrified to learn what “free speech” is currently permitting.
The Westboro tribe claim they are using the attention to show how far down the road of moral decay American society has gone. Instead, they are an example of it. Their actions highlight the degree you can take the idea of one man’s inhumanity to another man. And funeral after funeral, families simply have to let the voices of protest roll over them.
But not Albert Synder. The father of a soldier killed in Iraq doesn’t want any other families to have to suffer as he did. In what will certainly be a landmark case, the Supreme Court will rule on an argument for the privacy rights of grieving families. The court faces the prospect of passing an “enough is enough” ruling, with the option of declaring a funeral to be a venue worthy of a greater amount of privacy, regardless of the public thoroughfares adjoining the church, funeral parlor or grave site.
CNN notes, “The Supreme Court has never addressed the specific issue of laws designed to protect the ‘sanctity and dignity of memorial and funeral services’” Many of the Phelps family are trained in law.
Albert Snyder told the media outlet, “They are using the First Amendment as a sword and a shield. My son and thousands like him did not put their lives on the line so that someone could abuse the Constitution like this…”
Related Links: Fred Phelps has turned up in this blog before; the first time in a piece about his son Nate; the second time in a piece about is daughter Lauren. One can’t help but hope the attrition continues.
Repeat of a personal notation in one of the above items: “…It was then that I observed a fundamental difference between Canada, where the Phelps phenomenon would never happen, and the U.S.: In the United States laws protecting freedom of religion trump any prohibitions against hate speech. In Canada laws forbidding hate speech trump any protection of freedom of religion.”