Giving the Devil His Due

I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

Even Beelzebub is protected by the Constitution of the United States, and that’s a good thing.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that God-fearing (if not God-inspired) Baptists who like to attend military funerals — and scream at grieving survivors that the reason their sons or daughters were killed is that God hates America because we don’t stone gay people — are protected by First Amendment freedom of speech.

Just so all Baptists don’t get smeared with the same broad brush (my mother was a Baptist), these particular folks are Fred Phelps (I believe the Devil owns a driver’s license issued in that name) and six American idiots related to him — to be fair, they may only be morons — who comprise the congregation of the Westboro Baptist Church. That Topeka, Kansas, outfit spends an inordinate amount of time thanking God for dead soldiers.

One dead soldier’s father sued, and a jury — gratefully not of Fred’s peers — held Fred and kin (collectively the Flintstones) liable for millions of dollars. The Flintstones challenged the verdict as grossly excessive, especially considering the weekly collection plate averaged a buck ninety-eight. The case made it to the Supremes, who rightly found that even stone-age sentiments are protected by the First Amendment.

Fred and his Flintstones, as noted in Justice Alito’s sole dissent, have brought their hate parade to almost 600 military funerals. They also like to picket the funerals of police officers, firefighters, and victims of natural disaster, accident, and crime. They even announced their intention to picket the funeral of the 9-year-old girl killed in the Tucson shooting spree. I don’t know if they did; that might have been too much even for God.

I’m glad I wasn’t there if they did: some people are just too ugly to look at. I would like to be there, though, if Fred ever gets his personal meeting with God. I’d like to see the look on his face when he discovers God is a cross-dresser.

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