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Pat McMahon: Free Speech

I was born in Kansas. Occasionally, I quietly wish some others had not been — or born anywhere else for that matter.

Yes, the folks at the Westboro Baptist Church are at it again making it bad for soldiers, military families, gays, Baptists and humanity in general. You must know these are the people who show up at the funerals of war casualties, gay people and folks they have personally labeled as sinners, holding hateful signs like “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “God hates fags.”

I remember them at Gammage Auditorium cruelly protesting at Barry Goldwater’s memorial service. Why? Simply because Barry had a gay family member.

Tasteless, insensitive, un-Christian — absolutely. Legal? Yes! Yes! Yes! Why? Because this is America and the Constitution says no matter how annoying, we have the right to be offensive. And the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled 8-1 that even the plankton from Kansas can vomit at funerals.

But of course cities and towns can enforce zoning restrictions to keep them far away from the services. About the court ruling, a father asked, “What’s this country going to be? My answer is “free.”