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Snyder vs. Phelps: Was picketing the Snyder's funeral wrong of Phelps and his church to do?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,501 times Debate No: 17503
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Does the First Amendment of the Constitution protect our right to freedom of speech or the freedom of privacy? Recently, there has been a case that has gone to the Supreme Court. Albert Snyder, a dead soldiers father, is suing Fred Phelps and his Baptist church for invading his families privacy. Snyder and his mourning family were aghast when Phelps and others protested at Matthew Snyder's funeral against homosexuals in the army. Even though Matthew was not a homosexual, Fred Phelps and his church found it suiting to picket his and other former army members funerals. What Phelps and his church are doing is outrageous. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Community should not be allowed to protest at funerals because they were interfering with a private precession and taking away the Snyder's right to freedom of religion.


I would like to thank my opponent for a chance to debate, now on to the debate.

First off, my challenger has come up with the resolution 'Snyder vs. Phelps: Was picketing the Snyder's funeral wrong of Phelps and his church to do?', but she didn't define what wrong really is. So, I will define it as breaking the law.


My opponent says that the Westboro Baptist Church's actions were outrageous, and that they shouldn't be allowed to protest at funerals because they are interfering with the Snyder's freedom of privacy and religion. However, the funeral took place at a public burial site. There is no privacy at a public place. Also, it is invalid to say that the Snyder's right to religion was being taken away. This is because even though the protesters were there, the funeral could still take place and the family lay their hero to rest. The other reason is that the Westboro Baptist Church was protesting against somethng that was against their religion, and therefore taking away that chance would mean taking awayaway Phelp's right to religion.

The First Amendment

Before I begin my contentions I will state what the first amendment to the constitution says about all this. It says:

'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'

My arguments:

C1: The WBC's rights.

The WBC was protesting against gays in the military at a public place. They were excersising two of the rights that the first amendment grants them. They had a right to protest, and they had a right to protest against gays in the military. They were using their rights to peacably assemble and their rights to free speech.

C2: Did the Snyder's really have the right to privacy in this case?

The Snyder's were having a funeral at a public burial ground. This was not at their house or private property. This was in a public place where anyone is free to go. If they wanted privacy then they should have had their funeral on private property, but they didn't and the WBC had as much right to be there as the Snyder's.


In conclusion, the WBC had as much right to be at that puclic graveyard as the Snyders, and the WBC is also pretected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 1


emilyapound forfeited this round.


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by emilyapound 5 years ago
When our forefathers signed the Deceleration of Independence they were attempting to protect our right to freedom of expression. For hundreds of years, we have used this document to justify our actions before crowds and courts. Yet, when it comes to protecting a dead soldier, it does no good. Unfortunately, it is impossible to argue what is right and wrong in court. Only the law can help us win our cases. And in this case, the law supports WBC. There is nothing we can do to stop West borough Church and other strangers from invading our lives and walking over our dead.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
There is a difference between something being legal and something being ethically or morally right.

Is it legal for Westbourough to do what they do? Yes. Is it ethical or moral? Absolutely not.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff