Teen Uses Classroom Project to Stop Protestors from Crashing Soldiers' Funerals

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A high school student in Maine is using his class assignment to hopefully block demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church, a group who often protests American soldiers' funerals with signs saying "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

Zach Parker, a Searsport Regional High School student, was given an assignment to select a political or social controversy and take a stand. Westboro Baptist Church, a group from Topeka, Kansas, is known for their anti-gay picketing. They choose to use soldiers' funerals -- even those who are not gay -- to march with offensive and homophobic signs. Their reasoning is the death of American soldiers is God's payback for the country's acceptance of homosexuality.
The group also spews hate toward Catholics, Jews, President Obama, and even Santa Claus. Children have held signs reading "Thank God for Breast Cancer." Recently the group protested the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards because she admitted to doubting her faith after her teenage son died in a tragic car accident.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church should be permitted to engage in such funeral-side protests because it is their freedom of speech right under the First Amendment. Zachary disagrees and is using his school project to create change and hopefully receive help from Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud.

The Kansas extremist group heard about Zach's planned class presentation on January 5 and threatened to show up at his Maine high school to protest his report, too. What are your thoughts about this controversial topic?

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