January 11, 2011 |
Arizona lawmakers moved quickly Tuesday to try to block protesters from the funeral of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green, passing an emergency measure prohibiting protests within 300 feet of any funeral services. In addition to the new law, hundreds of Tucson residents were making contingency plans to try to protect the family of the girl who was slain in Saturday's rampage. The actions were prompted by the Westboro Baptist Church, a publicity-seeking Kansas congregation known for demonstrating at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, arguing that their deaths are retribution by God for America's acceptance of homosexuality.
March 3, 2011 |
Ruling in a case that pressed the outer limits of free speech, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that even anti-gay protesters who picketed the funerals of U.S. troops with signs reading, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," cannot be sued. In an 8-1 decision, the justices upheld an appellate court's decision to strike down a jury verdict against Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. Phelps and his family gained national attention ? and stirred deep anger ? for using military funerals as a backdrop to proclaim an anti-gay and anti-military message.
March 9, 2010 |
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide the outer limits of free-speech protection for protests and to rule on whether a dead soldier's family can sue fringe religious protesters who picketed near their son's funeral carrying signs that read, "Thank God for dead soldiers." Like the famous case of the American Nazis who marched in Skokie, Ill., the new case of anti-gay picketing at military funerals tests whether the most hateful protests must be tolerated under the 1st Amendment, even if they inflict emotional harm.
October 4, 2010 |
More than 500 mourners walked quietly through rows of flags and into a white chapel on a recent Saturday afternoon to honor a dead soldier. Army Lt. Todd Weaver was remembered as a scholar, athlete and born leader. He served in Iraq after high school, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary two years ago and was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Sept. 9. He left behind a wife and a 1-year-old daughter. But before entering the church parking lot, the mourners drove past an unusual demonstration.
January 30, 2006 |
At least five Midwestern states are considering legislation to ban protests at funerals in response to demonstrations by the Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan. The church has been protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in the Iraq war because they say the deaths are God's punishment for U.S. tolerance toward gays.
October 16, 2003
Re "Intolerance Chiseled in Stone Hits City Hard," Oct. 12: I'm pleased that the good Rev. Fred Phelps has made it his mission to torment the memory of gay murder victim Matthew Shepard. His hateful, venomous ramblings illustrate how bigotry is a form of mental illness, and those suffering from it are in dire need of psychiatric help. Of course, in order to receive help, one has to first acknowledge that he has a problem. Somehow I feel that Phelps is too far gone to be redeemed. Blake Simpson Joshua Tree