Letters to the Editor

Phelps parallel?

June 17, 2011


To the editor:

This letter is in reference to the Leonard Pitts Jr. column published in the June 6 Journal-World, “Dancing spurs legal overreaction.”

In 2008, Mary Brook Oberwetter and some friends were arrested for doing a silent interpretative dance at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. Oberwetter sued. “Last month,” Pitts wrote, “a federal court dismissed the case, ruling the government is not required to allow ‘the full range of free expression’ in a space built for ‘a solemn commemorative purpose.’”

What is more solemn commemorative space than a combat soldier’s gravesite? Yet the Supreme Court ruled that Fred Phelps and his brood of hagglers can demonstrate in a manner they choose. Can Fred and family do in Washington, D.C, at the National Cemetery as they do in small town U.S.A.?


beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

"What is more solemn commemorative space than a combat soldier’s gravesite?"

Jefferson is buried at Monticello, not at the Memorial.

The Jefferson Memorial is a monument built in the 1940s to honor the man and his achievements. It isn't a tomb.

Oh, and before you get upset about Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert holding rallies at the Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln isn't buried their either.


Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

"What is more solemn commemorative space than a combat soldier’s gravesite?"

He was a marine. Do you not know the difference or do you just not care?

Phelps and his clan were demonstrating on the sidewalk, on public property with the requisite permission and did not infringe on the rights of others. Do you think that brave marine died so the government could stifle offensive speech? You should be ashamed to think that. I signed the same oath (the wimpy army version), and I signed it to protect freedom, not to see the constitution trampled on behalf of hurt feelings and greedy civil lawsuits.

Your entire LTTE is based upon a logical fallacy and therefore null.

The people dancing should have been left alone to do anything that did not damage property or infringe upon the rights of other people. Period. It is sad when the buildings, spaces and flags are more valued than the concept they represent.

Maybe it never occurred to you that both Phelps and the memorial dancers are protected by the same law that allows either to express their opinion in ways that other people may find offensive. IMNSHO, The more people offended, the better the message.

To you the parallel is just a chance to ask "they can do it, why can't we" when you should be asking "why can't everyone"? You must be a liberal.


somedude20 2 years, 10 months ago

I want to dirty dance with Christina Hendricks (or Anne Hathaway or Zooey Deschanel or Jennifer Connelly or Marisa Tomei or Monica Bellucci or Elizabeth Hurley or Elisha Cuthbert or Heather Graham or Thora Birch or Scarlett Johansson)

I want to protest something very important by dancing with these ladies. I served my Country in the Corps and I will be happy to serve again by d-d-ing with those female human beings


grammaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

Nothing better than a good "flash mob"!!


Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Next thing you know, people will be morris dancing all over the place.


jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm no legal scholar, but I suspect that if the dancers were to appeal the 2008 decision, they would win on appeal in light of the more recent Supreme Court decision.


Brock Masters 2 years, 10 months ago

Bruce, I am sure most people find the Phelps' actions disgusting and vile, but let's be truthful about facts. The Phelps cannot protest on a gravesite. In the recent case the father did not even know they were protesting his son's funeral because they were kept far away from the actual funeral.

I didn't see the original dance, but there is a video of protesters dancing to protest the decision and I can't see how their dance would be disruptive. But, where do we draw the line to protect the rights of others?


Floyd Craig 2 years, 10 months ago

if they wouldnt or couldnt win all the time then they couldnt afford to go to our service mens funrels my son is army and Im proud of him I belive in GOD and trust to keep my son safe from harm


Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

Fred Phelps and the clan are "different" because they sue a lot.

Well, among other things too, I suppose.


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