Their ha­tred is pro­tected by law

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

Rabbi Bach­man urged the crowd to thumb their noses at the pro­test­ers. Peo­ple danced the Ho­rah. There was a car­ni­val at­mos­phere.

If only West­boro Bap­tist Church could be laughed off so eas­ily.

The church’s favoured tac­tic is protest­ing at mil­i­tary funer­als. Fol­low­ers claim mil­i­tary deaths are god’s vengeance for ac­cep­tance of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Their mes­sage: “Thank God for dead sol­diers.”

Griev­ing rel­a­tives do not have the lux­ury of be­ing able to shrug off such bile with danc­ing or jokes.

Mean­while, Amer­ica’s First Amend­ment, which guar­an­tees free­dom of re­li­gion and free­dom of speech, shields the ha­tred.

Last week, a fed­eral ap­peals court threw out a $5 mil­lion judg­ment against WBC, awarded to Al­bert Sny­der, who sued af­ter the church pick­eted his son’s fu­neral in 2006 and was awarded the money for in­va­sion of pri­vacy and emo­tional dis­tress.

In toss­ing out the de­ci­sion, the ap­peals court ruled that WBC’s signs are pro­tected by the First Amend­ment. Per­haps it is time for an­other amend­ment, one to pro­tect an­other in­alien­able right — a hu­man be­ing’s dig­nity.

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