The city of Topeka has decided against seeking the removal of graphic graffiti images and words spray-painted onto the headquarters of the Westboro Baptist Church. City officials made the decision even after looking into the possibility of pursuing a city ordinance on public nuisances that would have required its removal.
The Church, citing free speech rights, does not want the graffiti removed.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports:
"The ordinance says violation of the graffiti portion of the nuisance
ordinance is a misdemeanor if the owner fails to remove the graffiti or
have it removed within 10 calendar days of receiving a violation notice
from the city. But in the opinion of city officials, the First Amendment to the Constitution trumps the authority of that ordinance."
Church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper told the paper that the graffiti would remain. Not surprisingly her explanation maintained the Church's sensationalist attitude.
"While the church has repaired vandalism in the past, Phelps-Roper
said members decided to leave this week's graffiti, calling it the
"face of Topeka" and the nation.
'We've decided — in as much as we've been telling this nation that
they are a rebellious, good-for-nothing group — that we are going to
leave it,' she said."