In 1906, S. G. Tallentyre wrote "The Friends of Voltaire" words commonly attributed to Voltaire:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Only rarely have those words been more true than in considering the Westboro Baptist Church. The Supreme Court found for WBC, saying that their First Amendment rights could not be infringed upon by preventing them from appearing at the funerals of fallen service members.
Inasmuch as I generally haven't agreed with the conservative interpretations coming out of SCOTUS, there is little doubt that this was the only conclusion they could come to with respect to the Constitution.
Maybe every generation needs a case to learn that the First Amendment is tested and grows stronger when it defends speech that's unpopular, even reprehensible.
In 1979, American Nazi Party members wanted to march in the streets of Skokie, Ill., a Chicago suburb in which a number of Holocaust survivors lived. Skokie said such a march would be an assault on people who had already survived Nazi death camps.
The Illinois Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the march could proceed. But after winning the right to assemble in Skokie, the Nazis decided instead to march through Marquette Park, near their headquarters on the city's southwest side.
That small, squalid group of puffed-up buffoons wearing swastikas and spewing hate had the whatever-it-was — I refuse to say sensitivity or intelligence — not to march where their monstrous message would be most personal.
That's a low standard to meet. But maybe members of the Westboro Baptist Church are up to it.
That said, there is an argument to be made over the wisdom of Fox News to validate WBC by having on Margie Phelps, attorney and member of WBC, to discuss the ruling. Yes, they have a Constitutional right to Free Speech, but like Glenn Beck, they have no such right to an international multi-media platform from which to speak.
I'm always dumbstruck by those self-identified Christians whose message seems to completely ignore the one of love and non-judgment that Christ himself taught. Like Gandhi remarked, these Christians are so unlike Christ that the real abomination in my mind is calling themselves such.
Phelps, who declared that "the default for mankind is hell," stated that she had no "objective indicator" that will prevent the Supreme Court justices from going to hell, and declared the president's fate without hesitation.
"Absolutely on the president. That's a big 10-4," Phelps said. "The president is going to be king of the world before this is all said and done, and he is most likely the beast spoken of in the revelation."
The beast is a figure in the New Testament book of Revelation, which is full of apocalyptic themes.
"Unless you bring forth fruits, meet for repentance, the assumption is that you will end up in hell when you quit your life on this earth. There is a duty of every human to bring forth fruit meet for repentance. I have seen no evidence of that in a single leader in this nation," she said.
You know, I'm reminded of this John Fugelsang video.
Westboro Baptist Church's only successful protest continues to be their boycott of every single thing Jesus ever said.