The facts for this story, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article on the blog site of the Baltimore Sun, on 6 December, 2007. The Westboro so-called Baptist so-called Church is in Topeka, Kansas. It consists primarily of Fred Phelps, his children, their spouses, and his grandchildren. It was a telling moment, for instance, to see a TV investigation of this “church” that showed cherubic five to ten year olds singing one of their “hymns” whose opening words are “God hates America….”
The case in St. Louis comes from a suit by one of Phelps’s daughters, who is a lawyer, against a Missouri law which told these people they must stay a specified distance away from any military funerals. The trial court denied any relief. The appeals court reversed and sent the case back for a factual hearing.
This case is entirely separate from a civil damages award against Phelps, his family and his so-called church in Baltimore early this year, awarding the father of a fallen soldier $10.9 million in his claim for “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Both cases will eventually result in final, Circuit Court decisions. If those decisions go in opposite directions, then the US Supreme Court will probably sort out the question of whether this hate church is protected by the First Amendment. Since these words at these funerals by these defendants are every bit as offensive as the display of a noose is to black Americans, the stench of hypocrisy will be in the air if the Supreme Court rules for, rather than against, this “church.”
Looking at the blog of the Baltimore Sun was educational in another way than just this story. There are twelve websites listed as links from the Baltimore Sun. Most are blogs for other news media, all of whom share the liberal viewpoint of the Sun. Of the non-media sites, exactly one is conservative and might challenge the viewpoints of the Sun’s editors. All the rest are hard- to looney-left sites, like The Daily Kos and Huffington Post. One of the greatest editors ever to get ink on his sleeve, and certainly the greatest ever to work at the Sun, was H.L. Mencken. He would never tolerate “his” newspaper stacking the deck like that. Mencken is surely spinning in his grave at this moment.
Source for the original story on the Net: