Allow Anti-Gay Protests at Military Funerals?

Readers share their thoughts.

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Law professor Timothy Zick argued that anti-gay protests at military funerals are protected free speech; attorney Walter Dellinger said they can be banned and that there is a “right” to a proper burial. Your views:

The kind of demonstration put on at the funeral of one of our soldiers by the Westboro Baptist Church is certainly not an action Jesus would approve of. It makes me ashamed to be called Christian in the same breath as the protesters. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To upset those who are mourning, and who have nothing to do with the law the demonstrators are referring to, is not only uncaring but a sin in itself. We don’t have to agree with many things in this life, but if we call ourselves Christians, we should be more Christ-like and approach with love, not bitterness.

MARY MURPHY San Jose, Calif.

I do not believe these people are communicating any kind of message except the message of hate. I would like to apologize for those hateful people who have somehow lost the meaning of love and forgiveness. How could any mother allow herself to protest this way? I am tired of the protection of hate speech while we, as an entire country, have allowed polluted thinkers to squelch free speech that is about love or religion. So people can protest at a funeral, but we can’t pray for the safety of our athletes at school-sponsored public events. Something has to change. This kind of speech needs to be stopped because it only results in violence and tears and will not accomplish anything.

CHRISTY CLARK Valley Village, Calif.

What is forgotten here is that the real purpose of free speech is to petition, criticize, and influence the government. There is simply no free-speech issue to be protected at a private funeral, be it military or otherwise. Such demonstrations should be out of earshot from the funeral so that family and friends can say goodbye to their loved one in peace. If anyone is entitled to that dignity, it is our fallen fellow citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

RONALD SMITH Williamsburg, Va.

These people are among the most miserable on the planet. They have every right to express their repugnant views, but they have absolutely no right to do so at the funerals for soldiers. That is abhorrent and a deliberate provocation. To allow them to do so would be not far removed from allowing them to go into the homes of those fallen soldiers and preach.

SCOTT BROWN New Brighton, Minn.

Tar-and-feathers should become a just and useful tool in dealing with these absolute idiots. To align them with any established church is an insult to that church and to Christianity.

GEORGE LANG Munfordville, Ky.

These people make me sick to my stomach. I could care less what they believe. They should go to their church and express their feelings. They can be bigots there. That is where they belong. Leave the grieving families and others alone. What kind of an example are they setting for their children and others? What do think they are accomplishing? Absolutely nothing but gathering disgust and repulsion for themselves.

ROSEMARY SHAY Allegan, Mich.