An outrageous 8 to 1 ruling of Supreme Court in Snyder v. Phelps case, where the Court sided with the extremist Kansas’s Westboro Baptist Church, upholding its right to engage in hateful protests at military funerals, endangers the very rationale behind the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court used the Amendment as an excuse to shield the Westboro Baptist Church on the bases of protecting the speech on public matter. The Court had all formal means to do so, but, trying to promote toleration for the free speech and religious beliefs, it plainly violated core moral norms of human society. Even archaeological evidence (see Shanidar cave materials) shows us that even Neanderthals were respectfully treating their dead, decorating their burials with flowers. However, fundamentalist Christians do not believe in Evolution, and in this case we should agree with them – here we see a clear example of rather Degradation of mores, even in comparison to our caveman ancestors.
The obvious contradiction of the ruling and moral norms shutters the very foundation of the First Amendment. It raises the question: “Is the toleration and promoting religious diversity a really good thing?”.
Montesquieu, the Enlightenment Age thinker, whose grand works have shaped the views of Framers of the Constitution, in his book The Spirit of Laws offers a surprising look at these matters:
“When the laws of a state have believed they should allow many religions, they must also oblige them to tolerate each other. Therefore, it is useful for the laws to require of these various religions not only that they not disturb the state, but also that they not disturb each other.”
“As there are scarcely any but intolerant religions that are greatly zealous to establish themselves elsewhere, for a religion that tolerate others scarcely thinks of its propagation, it will be a very good civil law, when the state is satisfied with the established religion, not to allow the establishment of another.”
We see that the religious freedom means not the freedom of the active end – freedom of imposing one’s religious ideas, advocacy and practices on others, but the freedom of the passive end – i.e. freedom to be shielded from such activities.
The Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment goes totally across the Spirit of our Constitution.