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We will always defend the First Amendment, but it takes a special kind of asshole to protest a military funeral. And as we’ve noted previously, the folks over at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas are special kinds of assholes.

Over on their website,, the “church” announced its plans to protest the funeral of fallen South Carolina solider Ryan Rawl – one of three South Carolina troops killed last week by a suicide bomber in the city of Khost near the Afghan-Pakistani border.

“Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool,” a news release from the church declares. “This message to be preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of 1st Lt. Ryan D. Rawl.”

Rawl’s funeral is scheduled for this Saturday (June 30) at 1:00 p.m. at the Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in Lexington, S.C.

Sources tell FITS that alumni at The Citadel – Rawl’s alma mater – are mobilizing a counter protest in an effort to “box out” the Westboro Baptist protesters, who have attended previous military funerals with signs that read “Thank God For Dead Soldiers.”

Last March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that protests of military funerals were protected under the First Amendment.

“Such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt,” the Justices wrote in an 8-1 decision.

We agree … although we find it hard to fathom how anyone who calls themselves “Christian” (or for that matter “human”) could exercise their freedom of expression in such a deliberately cruel and misguided manner.

This website has aggressively criticized American military entanglements in both Iraq and Afghanistan – arguing that our nation has lost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars fighting unnecessary wars against undefined enemies without the benefit of clearly defined objectives or exit strategies.¬†We’ve also earned the ire of soldiers and veterans by publishing a column that called into question the conduct of a few bad apples in the military.

But even we know better than to engage in this sort of shameless, substance-less sensationalism …

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