But, really, at a ritualistically sacred space like a funeral
(in our culture, it is a separate space. Like, you can yell FIRE at a picnic and not get arrested; but you cannot yell FIRE in a theatre as it is a Space that can not be violated that way)
perhaps it is not free speech but psychological violence.
A Compelling Dissent?
READ entire ruling here:
a couple of excerpts:
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES SNYDER v. PHELPS ET AL No. 09–751. Argued October 6, 2010—Decided March 2, 2011
For the past 20 years, the congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church has picketed military funerals to communicate its belief that Godhates the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particu-larly in America’s military. The church’s picketing has also con-demned the Catholic Church for scandals involving its clergy. Fred Phelps, who founded the church, and six Westboro Baptist parishion-ers (all relatives of Phelps) traveled to Maryland to picket the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq inthe line of duty. The picketing took place on public land approxi-mately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held, in ac-cordance with guidance from local law enforcement officers. The picketers peacefully displayed their signs—stating, e.g., “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Fags Doom Nations,” “America is Doomed,” “Priests Rape Boys,” and “You’re Going to Hell”—for about 30 min-utes before the funeral began. ..
JUSTICE ALITO, dissenting.
Our profound national commitment to free and opendebate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case. Petitioner Albert Snyder is not a public figure. He is simply a parent whose son, Marine Lance Corporal Mat-thew Snyder, was killed in Iraq. Mr. Snyder wanted what is surely the right of any parent who experiences such anincalculable loss: to bury his son in peace. But respon-dents, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, deprivedhim of that elementary right. They first issued a pressrelease and thus turned Matthew’s funeral into a tumul-tuous media event. They then appeared at the church, approached as closely as they could without trespassing,and launched a malevolent verbal attack on Matthew and his family at a time of acute emotional vulnerability. As a result, Albert Snyder suffered severe and lasting emo-tional injury.1 The Court now holds that the First Amendment protected respondents’ right to brutalize ...
|Phelpses at KSU Arts and Scinces graduation|
|Our group blocking the families' view of phelps for over a decade now.|