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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 11, 2010 / 25 Adar 5770

Unprotected Speech

By Cal Thomas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Supreme Court has decided to take a case that may change the boundaries for types of speech protected by the First Amendment.


The case was brought by a Maryland man whose son's 2006 funeral was picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Members of the "church" consist of "pastor" Fred W. Phelps Sr., and his family who preach a false doctrine that basically claims American soldiers are dying in combat because of this country's increasingly tolerant attitude toward homosexuals. "Semper Fi F---" and "Thank G0d for dead soldiers" are two of the more outrageous signs displayed by members of the Westboro church at services for some of our war dead.


I put "pastor" and "church" in quotations on purpose. Others -- one thinks especially of "pastors" who preached segregation and barred blacks from their "churches" at one time -- have caused ridicule to be directed at believers in G0d, but the Phelps case may descend to an even lower level of evil.


The history of the case is this: a jury in Baltimore awarded Albert Snyder more than $10 million in damages. The amount was reduced on appeal and the case was eventually thrown out by the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond. That panel of three judges said the picket signs could not be reasonably understood to be referring directly to Snyder and his late son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder. The court said as distasteful as Phelps' rhetoric is, the expressions are part of a national debate on homosexuality and so it is protected speech.


I called Nat Hentoff, who is regarded by many as an authority on the First Amendment and a fierce defender of all sorts of outrageous speech. Hentoff believes speech that might be construed as leading a person to act "is a clear disturbance of the peace at a religious or any kind of event" and thus "is not protected by the First Amendment."


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Hentoff is right. The venue for military funerals is not a college campus or a political rally. Very often it is a church or synagogue. Even if it is a secular venue, the sexual behavior or orientations of dead soldiers and their families are unknown to the Phelpses, who are using a family's grief to advance a judgmental attitude that is rejected in the Scripture in which they claim to believe. Someone should remind them that the Devil could quote Scripture, too.


Several years ago, members of the Phelps family picketed a prayer breakfast in Topeka at which I was the main speaker. Sitting next to me was then-Kansas governor (now Health and Human Services secretary) Kathleen Sebelius. I was vaguely familiar with the Phelpses but had never seen them up close and I asked the governor about them. I recall her saying, "Oh, don't worry about them. They picket everybody." At first I found them faintly amusing, but upon reflection I consider them deeply offensive, un-American and anti-Christian.


My speech was not curtailed and neither was theirs. The big difference was that the event at which I spoke was quite different from a funeral. Suggesting that a member of the military died because G0d is judging America for the way it treats homosexuals is worse than outrageous. It is the moral equivalent of crying "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire, which by the way is not protected speech.


The Supreme Court was right to take this case. It should rule in favor of the Snyder family and put a stop to Fred Phelps and his spiritually corrupt family. They are by no decent standard serving G0d. In fact, quite a good case could be made that they are in service to G0d's adversary.


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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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