Are Protests at Military Funerals Protected Free Speech?

Does freedom of speech mean you have the right to offend parents at the funeral of their son?

By SHARE

Does freedom of speech mean you have the right to humiliate parents at the funeral of their son? That’s essentially what the U.S. Supreme Court was asked to decide in its opening week. The case of Snyder v. Phelps is one of those icky sets of facts, like Nazi protests and porn purveyors, that force you to think very hard about the line between the rights of society and the individual. Members of an odd Kansas church have long been appearing at the burials of soldiers with insulting signs claiming the deaths were God’s punishment for America’s sins.

[Read the U.S. News debate over whether these protests are protected free speech.]

Can they be sued for the emotional distress they cause? Or would stopping them ultimately squelch other kinds of political debate? I’d like to hear your views—post your thoughts below and share them with our readers.

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