March 03, 2011


I spent some time yesterday afternoon thinking about the Westboro Baptist Church and yesterday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Obviously, I am disgusted by the rhetoric and actions of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is a bit hypocritical of me since I too profess to be a Christian but don't let a lifetime of Bible study get in the way of often using my sharp tongue to ill effect on this blog, via my Twitter feed, etc. I have been just as guilty as Fred Phelps of employing poisonous language in debates over policy. (Unlike Fred Phelps, I am not proud of this.)

But as a veteran, I have particular empathy for the families of those fallen servicemen whose mourning has been disrupted by the hatred of the Westboro Baptist Church. You might even expect me to argue that there must be reasonable limits to freedom of speech. Instead, again speaking as a veteran here, I was quite satisfied by yesterday's ruling. As horrified as I am by the rhetoric of the Westboro Baptist Church, I am incredibly proud to have served in uniform to defend a remarkable document that protects even -- no, especially -- the most unpopular speech.

Yesterday's court decision was not a slap in the face of those fallen on the field of combat wearing the uniform of a U.S. soldier but was rather a validation of the ideals for which they died and for which those in uniform serve every day. The founding ideals of the United States are bigger than a collection of Kansas bigots. God bless America.