In a democracy sometimes the bad guys win. That was the case today when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that Westboro Baptist Church - the radically anti-gay, anti-abortion "church" - has the legal right to protest outside of military funerals (Westboro claims U.S. deaths in war time are God's punishment for "permissive" attitudes toward gay and lesbian rights). Not only do they protest outside of military funerals but also at funerals of such American heroes as Elizabeth Edwards, at school yards (my neighborhood high school this past fall), and at churches (like my own several years ago). I'll leave it to legal schloars to debate the merits of this court decision but I'm struck that both wings of the court ruled in favor of free speech. Sometimes to protect the liberities of all you need to defend the rights of the most offensive among us. But let this be clear: there is nothing Christian about the Westboro Baptist Church. Their actions and their theology have been condemned by religious leaders across the theological spectrum. They may have the right to free speech but their speech is hateful and at odds with the Gospel message.
Related Link from The Oregonian: Articles of faith: Westboro Baptist Church ruling by Supreme Court evokes double-edged reactions (includes quotes from this blog post)