The inspiration for this article began when I was reading headlines and found one that said Judge Permits Flag-Desecration Prosecution in Nebraska. This was referenced by one Mark Godsey, a criminal law professor. So, as I read his article, I wanted to know more about the facts of the case and the ruling made by the Court, and I got very, very distracted… I’ve always known you could find anything on the internet, and this verifies it.
Given that there was a reference to the Defendant, Shirley Phelps-Roper, who is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, I looked up both, and was amazed at the amount of traffic out there. And, when you go to the church’s link, pay attention to their URL. To think that this is a "church" really makes the statement of Trust in God but Question Religion make more sense to me….
Check out this video for a really good taste for more about Shirley Phelps-Roper:
Yes, now I’m ranting, and this has little to do with me as an Austin criminal defense attorney, other than to point out that even people like Shirley and the members of her church deserve to be protected by the laws of this nation, to have the right to free speech, as protected by the Constitution. I must be clear, I am not defending or condoning Shirley or her "church" but I am saying that she should not be prosecuted for flag desecration, assuming it was a form of speech.
More coming on the flag desecration line of cases… even though it may protect a hate-monger like Shirley and the Westboro Baptist Church…. Quite honestly, I’m surprised that the Baptist conventions have not taken it upon themselves to expel this "church" from their flock.