I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.Nathan Phelps • Writing on his Facebook page that his father, Fred Phelps, was excommunicated from his own Westboro Baptist Church last year, and is sitting in hospice care, close to death. The younger Phelps left the church long ago and has since changed his ways; it’s unclear whether (or why) his dad was let go. Either way, Nathan—and other family members who have left the church—isn’t allowed to see his father. “I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved,” he wrote. “And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.” source
» Sad, not surprising, but understandable: The fact of the matter is, while we would’ve loved to see Westboro blocked from picketing funerals as a political message, the First Amendment is pretty set in stone and, as much as we dislike the ramifications of this decision, it certainly was the right one. (By the way, the lone dissenter? Samuel Alito.)
spacecowboywhit said: Unless you could claim that Phelp’s protest falls under “fighting words”, which are not protected under the 1st amendement. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fi…
» We say: Agreed. If the SCOTUS decides against Phelps, it will probably be on this line of thought. The Phelps folks know the law (one of the members of the Phelps family is a lawyer who argued the military funeral case in front of the Supreme Court) and have tailored their message around it. Even so, our feeling is that the Supreme Court will likely decide against them. It’s still at least somewhat questionable that Arizona is jumping in front of this, though, and we fully expect another Westboro lawsuit here.
idroolinmysleep said: As despicable as the Phelps clan is, doesn’t this legislation set a bad 1st amendment precedent?
» We say: It probably does (and that admittedly is our big hang-up with it), but this does seem like a “act now, ask questions later” type of situation. (Note how we used “act now” instead of the usual term.) That said, we bet that the Supreme Court will clarify this when they decide on the military funerals decision. If anything, their eventual decision may be broader in the wake of the Giffords shooting.