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God Loves Hate Speech

By Steven | March 3, 2011

The vile Westboro Baptist Church, whose favoured method of proselytising is picketing funerals with signs like “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God For Dead Soldiers” has won its appeal in the United States Supreme Court against a $10 million damages award.

The 8-1 majority said the speech was in a public forum, on a matter of public concern and wasn’t truly aimed at a captive audience. The First Amendment serves to “protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.” There’s an interesting review of the court’s jurisprudence on what counts as “public concern”.

The church’s pastor (whose family makes up most of the congregation) is also involved in a series of cases working their way through the courts about the extent to which the government can regulate this sort of picketing by creating buffer zones.

Topics: Protest speech | No Comments »


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