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Elizabeth Edwards' Funeral: Church to Protest

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on December 10, 2010 11:47 AM

Resting in peace may not come easy at Elizabeth Edwards' funeral. The 61-year-old Edwards, who passed away after a six-year battle with cancer is scheduled to be buried in Raleigh, North Carolina. In attendance will be Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church to picket the funeral.

The church known to take extreme and public stands against topics has taken a bizarre case against John Edwards' estranged wife. The Huffington Post quotes the Church: "She is now a resident of hell, where her rebellion and rage will take full flower." Westboro Baptist Church made references to the death of Edward's 16-year-old son and the couple's choice to have more children with the aid of fertility treatments as the primary source for their resentment of Elizabeth.

The First Amendment may be the source of some solace for funeral attendees. Yes, the same constitutional right that allows for free and offensive speech can at least place restrictions on the time, place and manner of the speech that protesters intend to convey.

After all, this is not the first funeral the Westboro Baptist Church has protested. In 2007, the Church leader and its members were ordered to pay compensatory and punitive damages to the tune of $10.7 million after protesting at the funeral of an American soldier. The Supreme Court is currently deciding the constitutionality of Westboro's funeral protests as it relates to the free exercise of speech. Although Westboro Baptist Church may have the constitutional right to protest Elizabeth Edward's funeral, this right will hopefully be exercised at a reasonable distance from the church.

Related Resources:

  • Westboro Baptist Church Says It Will Picket Elizabeth Edwards' Funeral (CNN)

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