Members of a motorcycle club called Journey 4 Justice pled not guilty to picketing a religious event in November. The group maintains a presence outside Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., where its members use a large American flag to hide the church’s offensive anti-gay signs.
If the Rev. Fred Phelps’ hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church gets swept away in a tornado, should the taxpayers be responsible for rebuilding it?
Some folks in Congress seem to think so. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for reconstruction and repair of houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 592) passed 354-72.
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers two cases dealing with same-sex marriage, the Religious Right and its allies are attempting to sway the justices with a barrage of briefs in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8.
Most of these groups are tossing around some pretty flimsy secular arguments in a weak attempt to make it seem like their opposition isn’t based in religious dogma. We know better.
As I’m sure everyone knows by now, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church to picket near the funerals of soldiers who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In any writing about Westboro Baptist, it is important to immediately make it clear that the messages from Pastor Fred Phelps and his family are vile, obnoxious and disgusting. But, as the high court has made clear, even jerks have free-speech rights.