Westboro Baptist: How would Solomon have ruled?

March 09, 2011

The most offensive word in Raymond D. Burke's column "Free speech is a right — but not the only right" (March 8) was "absolutely" — as in "the actions of the church were absolutely protected under the First Amendment."

The very term "absolute right" is an oxymoron. One person's rights end at the threshold of the next person's rights. It is clear that the right of the Snyder family to mourn their loss in peace has been denied them by the court.

Still, many of us were less outraged by the Westboro clan's hateful rhetoric than by their assertion that their actions were constitutionally protected expressions of religious faith.

The rights of one group sometimes trump the rights of another. Sadly, decisions about this conundrum still depend on the Solomonic wisdom of judges, who may not all be gifted with the wisdom of that ancient Jewish king.

Thad Paulhamus, Baltimore

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