Funeral Protests

629 Words3 Pages
Are Funeral Protests Protected Speech? Should the Westboro Baptist Church be allowed to protest at military funerals? This argument has become a very popular and heated debate throughout the United States. Though I strongly disagree with the Westboro Baptist Church, according to the United States Constitution, their First Amendment right allows them to picket military funerals. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides individuals with important personal freedoms. The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First Amendment to the United States Constitution) Freedom of Religion keeps the government from establishing an official religion. Freedom of Speech keeps the government from…show more content…
Phelps was a case taken before the United States Supreme Court on whether the First Amendment protected protests of public protestors at a funeral against liability. The claim made by Albert Snyder, the father of a soldier killed in Iraq, stated that the Westboro Baptist Church caused intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Snyder v. Phelps) In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church, stating that their speech related to a public issue and was assembled on a public sidewalk. The holding read; speech on a public sidewalk, about a public issue, cannot be liable for a tort of emotional distress, even if speech is found to be “outrageous”. (Snyder v. Phelps) The court noted that the Westboro Baptist Church “stayed well away from the memorial service”- some 1,000 feet. (Gregory) The Supreme Court also acknowledged that the WBC protestors gathered lawfully, in a public area with police supervision and did not interfere with the funeral

More about Funeral Protests

Open Document