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Roger LaPorte may be a name you never remember hearing. And you may not even remember the tragic incident associated with him. Just like me until a few weeks ago. I write this, though, in memory of Roger, who died of burns, self-inflicted. He poured gasoline over himself in front of the United Nations Building […] Read More

BOSTON (RNS) As waves of demonstrators descended on New York City to protest corporate greed, they were met by typical sounds of raucous youth-led protests: drum beats, police sirens and shouted political slogans. They didn’t expect to hear hymns. Yet protestors rounding the corner of Zuccotti Park encountered dozens of white-robed worshipers singing spirituals and […] Read More

(RNS) The head of the Unitarian Universalist Association has been convicted on misdemeanor charges for participating in a protest rally against Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The Rev. Peter Morales, the first Latino president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, was found guilty on Friday (August 5) of failing to comply with a police officer at a […] Read More

HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) Westboro Baptist Church, the controversial group that just won a free speech Supreme Court case, said it plans to protest at a funeral for seven Pennsylvania children who died in a fire Tuesday (March 8) night. “I’m baffled that they would choose this,” said Perry County District Attorney Charles F. Chenot III. […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) In an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday (March 2) that the “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” protesters from Westboro Baptist Church have First Amendment rights to protest military funerals. But does that mean more protests from religious groups are ahead? Or more efforts to limit them? The majority determined that […] Read More

Global Baptist leaders voiced concern about Egypt’s Christians as tens of thousands of protesters poured into Egyptian streets for a seventh day and opposition to President Hosni Mubarak called for a “march of millions.”   Meanwhile, nations around the world began evacuating their citizens. The New York Times reported Jan. 31 that the U.S. government […] Read More

The father of a 20-year-old Marine killed March 3 in Iraq has sued members of a Kansas Baptist church that picketed his son’s funeral carrying signs with messages including “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and the “Pope is in Hell.” Albert Snyder of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />York, Pa., sued members of […] Read More

With at least 27 states considering laws to ban or restrict picketing at soldiers’ funerals, Fred Phelps’ notorious Westboro Baptist Church has found a new target, protesting at military hospitals treating troops seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The man responsible for the “” and “” Web sites last week picketed the <?xml:namespace prefix = […] Read More

In what could prove to be a textbook case of the adage “hard cases make bad law,” at least nine states are brushing aside First Amendment concerns to consider bills outlawing protests at funerals of American soldiers. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin are all reportedly considering some form of […] Read More

Earlier this week, someone asked me a piercing question about the Sermon of the Mount: “Where is the line between turning the other cheek and being someone’s doormat?” I found part of the answer later that day, when I heard that Rosa Parks, the mother of the civil rights movement, had died at the age […] Read More