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Arizona Bans Westboro Baptist Church Protest at Nine Year Old Victim's Funeral Should Protest Be Permitted at Young Arizona Shooting Victim's Funeral?

It's a horrible idea to protest the funeral of the Arizona shooting victims, but do we want the government passing laws to stop it?

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, did what it always does after national tragedies: It threatened to protest a funeral and say horrible things. This time it was set to be the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Green because "God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous America." Sigh.

The Arizona legislature didn't like the sound of that and took emergency action. They mustered rare bipartisanship and unanimously passed legislation banning protests at or near funeral sites.

A church member said her organization decided not to do it anyway—in exchange for airtime on a couple of radio stations. The group still has plans to picket the Friday funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll at the intersection where the shooting occurred.

Now, I'm by no means supporting the delusion-based and logically flawed protests of the controversial church. But I'm not sure the legislation is cause for celebration. Should we be comfortable with a government telling any citizens when and where they can and can't protest? It's a question the Supreme Court is currently weighing as well, in a case where a father sued the Church from protesting his son's funeral.

On the other hand, maybe we can all agree that certain areas at certain times are just not the right place. What do you think?

Image: (cc) of Westboro Baptist Church protester in 2008 by Flickr user k763.

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