Yeah, that’s a headline I never expected to write. But the ACLU has now filed suit on behalf of the Westboro Baptist Church against law enforcement officials in Iowa who have threatened to prosecute them under that state’s flag protection statute — a law that was already struck down by a federal court.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa today filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of three members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, to defend their freedom of expression and religion.
The case involves law enforcement officials who persist in enforcing Iowa’s unconstitutional flag desecration statutes. Public demonstrations held by Westboro church members often include dragging the U.S. flag on the ground, air spitting on the flag and other expressive acts designed to convey their belief that the U.S. flag has become an idolatrous symbol representing a country that is at odds with God.Ben Stone, executive director of the ACLU of Iowa, said the ACLU filed the lawsuit because “the strength of our democracy requires tolerance of peaceful forms of public expression and religious activities.” Stone said these principles are paramount, even though the ACLU strongly disagrees with the Westboro Baptist Church positions on such topics as LGBT rights.
The lawsuit contends that various Iowa law enforcement officials wrongly ordered Margie Phelps, Elizabeth Phelps, and Timothy Phelps to stop dragging and otherwise treating the U.S. flag disrespectfully at protests in Des Moines, Red Oak, and Council Bluffs. Church demonstrators “will continue to suffer irreparable harm to their personal rights of expression and religious freedom” as a result of law enforcement’s continuing attempts to enforce Iowa’s unconstitutional flag abuse statutes, the lawsuit contends.
As much as I hate being on the same side as these vile people, this lawsuit is absolutely correct. I expect a quick surrender by the defendants. Every single flag protection law in the country is blatantly unconstitutional.