Canada Saves Tucson Funeral From Protestors

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The dilemma of how to respond to the Westboro Baptist Church is a familiar one. While their outlandish protests, which often target high-profile funerals and feature outrageously offensive signs, test the very limits of free speech, legal analysts generally agree that the church's speech is legally protected. When the attention-seeking wingnut church announced it would protest the Tucson funerals of the recent shooting victims, it raised a potentially unsolvable dilemma about how to protect victims' families without illegally violating the church's regrettable but free speech.

It's a problem that gets right to the heart of the American experiment. Where is the line between public good and individual liberty? So it is perhaps fitting that, when the solution came, it came not from within Arizona's or even America's borders, but from our brethren to the North. Michelle McQuigge of The Canadian Press reports:

Members of a radical Kansas church have cancelled plans to picket the funeral of a nine-year-old girl killed in a shooting rampage in Arizona, after being promised a live interview on a Toronto radio station.

Dean Blundell, a controversial morning show host on rock radio station 102.1 The Edge, said he brokered the deal with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church in an effort to prevent further suffering for the victim's family.

... "I said, 'I'll let you say whatever you want to say. You can spew whatever religious rhetoric you like, you can talk about how terrific it is on our morning show ... if you agree not to protest the funeral,' and she agreed," Blundell said in a telephone interview.

Toronto radio host Dean Blundell, America salutes you.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.