A Funeral For Free Speech Analysis

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Many articles have been written on the controversial nature of the Westboro Baptist Church. One such article is titled “A funeral for free speech?” by David Hudson Jr. and Ronald Collins. In this article, the two scholars argue that freedom of speech should be upheld even in the instance of funeral protests. They write that “even if the messages of the funeral protesters are offensive, one of the core purposes of the First Amendment is to protect offensive, obnoxious, and even repugnant speech.”[20] The authors do not condone the hateful nature of the protests but recognize that they are indeed protected by the Constitution. The two men close their article with an enlightening quote; they write that “the highest respect we can pay to our fallen war dead is to respect the…show more content…
We honor them by honoring those principles of freedom – even when a callous few vainly attempt to demean the dignity rightfully due them.”[21] The intended message is that these soldiers fought to protect America’s freedoms, including that of free speech. In honoring them we should honor what they stood for, because even if a select few wish to abuse free speech it is still for the greater good. The opinions of Hudson Jr. and Collins are consistent with the viewpoints of this essay. Westboro Baptist Church may be a revolting group, but the First Amendment protects exactly these types of people. The Phelps family has the right to voice their opinions, and preventing them from doing so would be unconstitutional and only add another wrong to the equation. Another relevant text to this discussion is The Irony of Free Speech by Owen Fiss. In this piece, Fiss addresses hate speech, and openly wonders how it should be handled by the courts. He discusses free speech and how difficult it is to balance the issues of freedom and equality. He acknowledges, “the difficultly, perhaps
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