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.
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 24, 2012 |
In what has been billed as “the largest secular event in world history,” athiests will gather in Washington D.C. today to rally in support of secularism. The event, known as the Reason Rally, also will feature a collision of estranged family members. Nate Phelps, the atheist son of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps, will address the crowd as his father's church pickets the event in protest. The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., has become infamous for using military funerals as a backdrop to promote an anti-gay, anti-military message.
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.
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 17, 2014 |
Fred Phelps, Sr. -- the 84-year-old founder of one of the most-hated churches in America and possibly the world -- has been placed in hospice and could be at " the edge of death ," according to an estranged son. The lack of public sorrow over this news has been frequent and unapologetic, for reasons obvious to anyone who has been forced to pay attention to Phelps and the legacy he is expected to leave behind. Since 1991, under Phelps' direction, the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church has picketed the funerals of soldiers and prayed for the death of more , and has held up signs saying "God Hates Fags.