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Freedom of religion is complicated business. More complicated these days because of something called “tolerance.” Look as you may, you won’t find the “T” word in any of our founding documents. Because tolerance––in the way that it is popularly conceived–doesn’t seem to tolerate many of the built-in disagreements various religions historically have had with each other. To say nothing of religions’ varigated positions on you lovely heathen. Which brings us to the congregants of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church––a faithful band of true believers who truly believe that GOD HATES FAGS. Not something you will run across in the anathemas of Trent, but then again, not something entirely inconsistent with the sacred writings’ conspicuous intolerance for all things kinky. (You may recall, that nasty Sodom and Gomorrah business.) Be that as it may, it seems that a federal judge has recently put a $5 million lien on Rev Phelps’ tax-exempt temple. According to the story, his church is being sued for their colorful devout behavior: Showing up with their banners and signs at the funerals of gay men. Which sounds as much like a freedom of speech issue, as a freedom of religion one. And it appears the government is clearly trying to limit both. So perhaps the moral of the story is that even free speech has it’s limitations. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. And you better not yell at gays period. Especially the dead ones.

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