Monday night’s program about the pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Phelps family of Topeka is exactly the kind of civil dialogue the Dole Institute of Politics and other venues across the country should encourage.
In honor of Constitution Day, the Dole Institute invited two constitutional scholars — one from Kansas University and one from rival University of Missouri, no less — to discuss opposing viewpoints concerning the Phelps case. The experts focused on the free speech questions and other aspects of the case, which will be argued in Washington next week.
It’s a complicated case and valid points can be made on both sides. Providing a forum where an audience can hear those points presented and disputed by knowledgeable experts surely is exactly the mission former Sen. Bob Dole had in mind for the institute that bears his name.
It’s also great to see that an audience of about 300 people were interested in listening to an intelligent discussion of both sides of such a complex issue. Their interest seems to confirm the desire of some Americans to rise above the combative, contentious nature of too much of the current public dialogue.
Congratulations to the Dole Institute for its continued efforts to promote civic involvement and civil discussion of difficult topics.