Thursday, December 06, 2007

Freedom for me, but not for thee

A good discussion of the freedoms we enjoy under the First Amendment is always a good thing. I suspect Mitt Romney's speech today declaring that "Freedom requires religion" and that secularism is a "new religion," but then insisting that secularism has no place in America will prompt such discussions.

So will the Eighth Circuit's decision today (warning: pdf) that a district court in Missouri was wrong in refusing to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow the members of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funerals of fallen soldiers with their message of hate. In upholding the rights of even the Phelps family, the three judge panel started with a recognition of a fundamental right: "Peaceful picketing is an expressive activity protected by the First Amendment."

The Eighth Circuit knows that even unpopular and despised Americans have First Amendment rights. As a Mormon, one would have thought Candidate Romney would have seen that, too, but I guess not.

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