“God Hates Fags” church reaches the limit of free speech
America’s fierce attachment to freedom of speech as a sacred right of all of its citizens however offensive or dangerous will be tested tomorrow when the US Supreme Court plunges into the case of a little church in Kansas that likes to preach that God hates homosexuals.
In the past when quandaries regarding the First Amendment rights have come before America’s highest court, the outcome has been consistently in favour of protecting them, however distasteful the circumstances. A soft-porn magazine got away with lampooning the late Rev Jerry Falwell (Hustler suggested his first sexual experience had been with his mother); and all punishment was deemed misplaced for a man who burned the Stars and Stripes 20 years ago.
This time may be different, some legal experts say. The justices will be confronted by Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka and the question will arise again: when, if ever, can contemporary standards of decency, ethics and common sense trump the edicts of the American Constitution?