Thursday, March 03, 2011

Freedom of speech means freedom of speech

The US Supreme Court has upheld the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest at military funerals. Good. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech, even for people whose speech you find repellent. Phelps' speech may have annoyed. It may have angered. That was, in many ways, the point. But that does not justify banning it. Phelps is not doing the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. And absent that sort of clear and present danger to public safety, he should be free to speak and free to protest, no matter how revolting and hateful his message.