Church ordered to pay $10.9 million for funeral protest

MCSpearing yuramac at YAHOO.COM
Wed Nov 14 06:58:58 MST 2007

My dear Brethren and, ah, Cistern,

I believe the First Amendment can, does, and must coexist with restrictions. So, as oxymoronic as it is, "Free" speech ain't completely free.  The amendment, as I seem dimly to recall it from past history (remember when they actually taught history, geography and such?) and Problems of Democracy classes, was to assure the freedom of political speech, not the freedom to shoot of your mouth anywhere anytime and/or as loud and obnoxious as you please.  Just, as John pointed out, shouting "Fire!" in the crowded theater can wind you up in jail or exhorting a crowd to "Kill the president!" can land you in prison, or uttering slanders or printing libels can get you sued and maybe jailed to boot, these pinched-nose creepy caricatures of Protestant Christians step way over the line even of common decency.  I'd call it inciting to riot and run them in.  Frankly, if they ever are harmed by a grieving parent or loved one, on my jury the commission of an assault or battery didn't nohow
 never happen.  Can I have an Aaaay-mennn?  If ever I see them myself, I am certain that MY free speech will be engaged.  One more thing, as a veteran with fallen comrades' names on that Wall in DC, I support legislation to make such heartless, cruel, beastly activity not only actionable civilly but also criminally.  

PS - They's all gonna BURN IN HELL!



John <blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET> wrote:  

On Sat Nov 10 19:38:28 PST 2007, Carl Spitzer   wrote:

>  It is easy to be of two minds on this.  On one hand there is the  first amendment on the other there is respect for the dead and the  grieving. IMHO the disrespect for the family outweighs the rights  of the protesters without being an attack on the First  Amendment.

EXACTLY, Carl! Especially when one accepts the  idea that free speech has its limitations - can't yell  "fire" in a crowded theatre, can't slander another, and  so forth. It should also be noted that the "Right Reverend  Fred Phelps" is not really a reverend at all. He is a  "certificate" clergyman. He never attended Divinity  School. He's an attorney by profession and he has gotten rich by  enraging people to the point where they lose self control, they  then physically assualt these idiots and Phelps sues them. That's  the long and short of his little game. 

John Q. 

> Church ordered to pay $10.9 million for funeral protest
>       * Story Highlights 
>       * Church members  picket the funerals of troops killed in Iraq and          Afghanistan
>       * Church claims God is punishing the  U.S. because of its tolerance         for gays.
>       *  Marine's father: "I couldn't let them get away with doing  this         to our military"
>       * Church leaders  say judgment will do nothing to stop their protests
> (CNN) -- A federal jury in Baltimore, Maryland,  Wednesday awarded $10.9 million to a father of a Marine whose  funeral was picketed by members of a fundamentalist church  carrying signs blaming soldiers' deaths on
> America's  tolerance of homosexuals.
> A member of Westboro  Baptist Church protests outside a veteran's hospital in Maywood,  Illinois, in April 2006.
> The family  of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder -- who was killed in a vehicle  accident in Iraq's Anbar province in 2006 -- sued the Westboro  Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, and its leaders for defamation,  invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional  distress.
> Church members showed up at Snyder's  funeral chanting derogatory slogans and holding picket signs with  messages including "God Hates Fags."
> They've  picketed the funerals of dozens of troops killed in Iraq and  Afghanistan, claiming that God is punishing the United States  because of its tolerance for homosexuality.
> Al  Snyder, father of the slain Marine, said he considered filing the  lawsuit for a long time before going forward and that he hoped  the
> judgment would make it harder for the church to  continue such protests. 
> "It's hard enough burying a  20-year-old son, much less having to deal
> with something  like this," he said, recalling that some of the other
> signs at the funeral included "Thank God for dead  soldiers" and "Thank
> God for IEDs." 
> "As far as their picketing goes, they want  to do it in front of a
> courthouse, they want to do it in  a public park, I could care less. But
> I couldn't let them  get away with doing this to our military," Al Snyder
>  said.
> "Every day in court I would just  think of Matt and have him on my mind
> and know that he  was watching out for me."
> Snyder's  attorney told jurors to pick an amount "that says don't do  this
> in Maryland again. Do not bring your circus of hate  to Maryland again,"
> according to The Associated  Press.
> The award includes $2.9 million in  compensatory damages and $8 million
> in punitive damages,  a clerk in the judge's chambers said.
> Lawyers for the  church members argued Matthew Snyder's funeral was
> public  and the First Amendment protects all points of view, even
>  offensive ones, the AP reported.
> Church founder  Fred Phelps said the church would appeal the decision,
>  adding it would "take about five minutes to reverse that  thing." 
> "This will elevate me to  something important," Phelps told reporters.
>  "This was an act of futility."
> Later,  Phelps said the case was about "putting a preacher on trial  for
> what he preaches."
> "All  it was, was a protestation by the government of the United  States
> against the word of God. They don't want me  preaching that God is
> punishing the country by killing  their servicemen."
> The church had made a  new sign to carry after the jury's decision, said
> his  daughter, Margie Phelps.
> "Our message is  'Thank God for 10.9 [million dollars],' " she said.
>  "By that mechanism [the award], the entire world will look  over and see
> that America is doomed and that in doomed  America there is no such thing
> as religious  liberty."
> The judgment would not change  the message the group was carrying, said
> another of  Phelps' daughters, church attorney Shirley Phelps-Roper.
> "It's going nowhere," she said of the jury's  decision. "This is a
> nothing. God is not going to  stop killing your soldiers. He's not going
> to stop  pouring his wrath out on this nation. America is doomed." 
> Church members were persecuted for their teachings and the  court "mocked
> and scoffed at our religious  beliefs," she said.
> Phelps-Roper added  that protests were planned later this week in Boston
> and  Acton, Massachusetts, and in Norton, Kansas.
>  The group plans to protest a Veterans Day rally in Washington, she  said.
> Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church -- which has  no connections with
> any mainstream Baptist organizations  -- are longtime anti-gay
> protesters.
>  Before launching their protests at the funerals of American  troops
> killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, they routinely  picketed the funerals of
> gay people and those who died of  AIDS.
> advertisement
> Phelps and his  followers also picketed the February 2006 funeral of
>  Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin  Luther
> King Jr., because of her support for gay rights.
> Several states have implemented laws about funeral protests  and Congress
> has passed a law barring protests at federal  cemeteries. 

Liberals ... Losing Another War for America.
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