The Westboro Baptist Church is back to its hateful protests.
In March, the Supreme Court ruled that a deceased soldier's father could not recover tort damages from members of the Westboro Baptist Church for picketing his son's funeral. Now the group has announced plans to picket Apple Founder Steve Jobs' funeral. Proving that religious zealots know not the boundaries of irony, the announcement came via Twitter ... for iPhone.
According to the Westboro folks, they will protest Jobs' funeral because "he had a huge platform; gave God no glory, & taught sin." If Jobs were alive, "he might point out that the iPhone/iPad app store contains somewhere around 100 religious apps, including a confession app approved by the pope," The Washington Post noted.
While the Westboro Baptist Church protests are usually focused on harassing families of deceased soldiers, the group has made a few notable exceptions:
- In December 2010, five members of the group picketed Elizabeth Edwards' funeral in response to her 2007 comments that she was "completely comfortable with gay marriage." The Westboro protesters were vastly outnumbered by a "human buffer" of people singing Christmas carols and carrying signs saying, "Grace" or "Hope," reports The Christian Science Monitor.
- In January 2011, the group announced plans to protest the funeral of Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest victim in Jared Lee Loughner's Tucson, Ariz., massacre.
- Last month, the Westboro protested New York Fashion Week's "Slutwalk Extraordinaire," and advised that people "put some jeans on and fear God," reports The Atlantic.
While acknowledging the group's poor taste, courts have repeatedly held that the First Amendment protects the Westboro Baptist Church protests. In the Supreme Court's Snyder v. Phelps decision, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "Westboro believes that America is morally flawed. Most people might feel the same way about Westboro."
Jobs' funeral was rumored to have been held today. As for Westboro's plans, the group is more likely to show up for a public memorial service, where we hope that they will be outnumbered by an iBuffer of Jobs' fans.
- Steve Jobs, Westboro Baptist, iPhones and iRony (The Washington Post)
- Snyder v. Phelps (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- Westboro Baptist Church Protests Win Again (FindLaw's Eighth Circuit blog)
- Steve Jobs Funeral Is Friday, Sources Say (Fox News)