Several years ago, members of the Phelps family picketed a prayer breakfast in Topeka at which I was the main speaker. Sitting next to me was then-Kansas governor (now Health and Human Services secretary) Kathleen Sebelius. I was vaguely familiar with the Phelpses but had never seen them up close and I asked the governor about them. I recall her saying, "Oh, don't worry about them. They picket everybody." At first I found them faintly amusing, but upon reflection I consider them deeply offensive, un-American and anti-Christian.
My speech was not curtailed and neither was theirs. The big difference was that the event at which I spoke was quite different from a funeral. Suggesting that a member of the military died because God is judging America for the way it treats homosexuals is worse than outrageous. It is the moral equivalent of crying "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire, which by the way is not protected speech.
The Supreme Court was right to take this case. It should rule in favor of the Snyder family and put a stop to Fred Phelps and his spiritually corrupt family. They are by no decent standard serving God. In fact, quite a good case could be made that they are in service to God's adversary.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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