Forums / Political & Legal / Westboro "Baptist" Church is in the news again

4 years 16 weeks ago, 11:39 PM

runawaygun762

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Washington – A father of a Marine killed in Iraq says he won't pay the legal fees of a protest group who picketed at his son's funeral in 2006 – at least not until he hears from the US Supreme Court on the matter.

[Update from The Newsroom: Bill O'Reilly has offered to foot the bill.]

Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq, learned Friday that a federal appeals court is requiring him to pay more than $16,000 in legal fees to the Westboro Baptist Church, a Christian fundamentalist group that demonstrates during military funerals to gain attention for its antigovernment, antihomosexual message. The group rallied at Matthew Snyder’s funeral in March 2006 in Westminster, Md., chanting antigay slogans and carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers,” says Albert Snyder’s attorney, Sean Summers.

The group was protesting about 30 feet from the church’s main entrance, and Mr. Snyder had to enter through a separate entrance, Mr. Summers says.

Snyder subsequently sued the Westboro group for emotional distress and won a $5 million judgment. But on appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding in favor of protecting the protesters' free-speech rights. About three weeks ago, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case and is expected to hear it in the fall. (Last year, the high court had declined to take up the issue.) Meanwhile, the circuit court has ordered Snyder, a salesman, to pay the church’s court expenses.

Snyder, of York, Pa., told Fox News on Tuesday that he would not pay the Westboro Baptist Church "until I hear from the Supreme Court."

“It’s fair to say that they are not getting any Christmas cards from Mr. Snyder,” adds Summers, in a phone interview. “He obviously thinks they are despicable and doesn’t understand why they would target him.”

The Westboro group has been protesting at military members’ funerals for years. The church leader, Fred Phelps, preaches that American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality. (He was among those banned from Britain last year for fostering hatred or extremism.) The protests have nothing to do with the fallen service members' sexual orientation, and the church says its protests are held within a “lawful distance” of the funerals.

Ultimately, say some, the church protests are a matter of constitutionally protected free speech.

“I really don’t see that [the protest] was a violation of the First Amendment [principles]. It was a violation of decorum and good taste and all sorts of other things, but not a violation of the First Amendment,” says Charles Gittins, a civilian lawyer in Virginia.

But Summers argues that his client’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of religion were infringed by the protests and that, unlike at a public park where people are free to express themselves, a funeral setting draws a “captive audience” that requires attendees to be in a particular location – they can’t simply walk away.

Westboro Baptist Church, which is based in Kansas, plans to protest in Florida on Wednesday, outside a funeral for a Marine killed in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan on March 22.

“Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool,” states a press release posted on the church’s website, announcing the rally at a memorial service for Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson. At the bottom of the press release are printed the words “Thank God for IEDs,” referring to the roadside bombs that have killed thousands of troops in both wars.

Now my thought: Well, I probably shouldn't share my real thoughts on an open source forum, but I can say that I'm real tempted to take some action. I do wonder, though, if these people would praise the death of a few of their members as God's will?

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
4 years 16 weeks ago, 12:41 AM

raffycanlas

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i read about this

westboro baptist are assholes!

I'm just another damn yankee with a loaded gun looking for some fun!
4 years 16 weeks ago, 1:58 AM

Lyle Hutchins 1

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Family needs to stay out of what I am going to suggest.
All friends, of the Fallen, need to cornor all of Westboro Baptist Church members, and with Pepper Spray, all give them dose of this stuff!
But I suppose the church would sue.
So, then I say, confinscate all photo capable eqipment from them, but this would have to be done very quickly.
I wonder If a Chapter of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) would help? They are, I think mostly Vetnam Vets, and could be very Intimadating.
Bottom Line, these ass holes need to be stopped!
Yes, I know what I sound like, but when is the Good gonna fight back, and WIN?
Be nice to see the church bunch get beat down and blooded, on the 6 o'clock news.
I'm Pissed, MMA fighters need to show up,
Blood pressure, gotta get a pill er 2!

Lyle

Lyle Hutchinson
4 years 16 weeks ago, 2:57 AM

luckybychoice

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i saw this too

why isn't some hollywood star taking up this fathers plight,some pro athelete jumping in to save the day for this guy,where's Al Sharpton when a white guy needs him? these fucking pukes had better never end up on the same block as me.

i tried being reasonable,i didn't like it, NRA LIFE MEMBER,USMC VETERAN
4 years 16 weeks ago, 7:50 AM

HampsterW

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mysterious accident at the Westboro Babtist church, natty gas can be
dangerous ya know ;)

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
4 years 16 weeks ago, 8:33 AM

runawaygun762

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in public is they always have a lawyer present during their protests and several video cameras. Again, I probably shouldn't be specific as to what I want to do, but it's not hard to follow individual church members.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
4 years 16 weeks ago, 8:53 AM

HampsterW

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You are right runs

that is their MO, they hide behind the Constitution which affords them
the right to spread their filth and vile, as disgusting as it may be.

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------

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