Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Westboro Baptist Church Being Sued

Some of you can probably remember me posting several massages about the military funeral protest held by members of the Westboro Baptist Church this past winter. Since I first heard of them there have been city ordnances, state and if I'm not mistaken even a federal law passed to stop them. Nothing seems to do much good. I got an e-mail from my friends Chuck and Mary Schantag of the P.O.W. Network earlier. Seems like Westboro Baptist Church is in the news again. This time someone has filed a law suit against the church for holding a protest at a military funeral. I would like to share my e-mail with you.

"Sent: Monday, June 5, 2006 10:07 PM
Subject: Marine's Dad sues funeral protesters

God Bless the Snyder Family

Marine's dad sues funeral protesters
Associated Press
Greenbelt, Md.- The father of a marine whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters from a fundamentalist Kansas church filed an invasion-of-privacy suit against the demonstrators Monday.

It is believed to be the first lawsuit brought by a serviceman's family against Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., whose members routinely demonstrate at military funerals around the country.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder is seeking unspecified damages. The younger Snyder, 20, died March 3 after an accident in the Anbar province of Iraq. He was buried in Westminster, Md.

"We think it's a case we can win because anyone's funeral is private," Albert Snyder's lawyer Sean Summers said. "You don't have a right to interrupt someone's private funeral."

After filing the suit, Snyder said at a news conference that he hoped a hefty judgment would leave church members unable to afford travel for more protests.

"I want it to stop," he said of the protests. "I didn't know there were people in the world who did that."

Members of Westboro say the military deaths in Iraq are God's punishment for America's tolerance of gays. They typically carry signs with slogans such as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for IEDs," a reference to the roadside bombs used by insurgents.

The church has inspired dozens of state laws banning funeral protest, including a Maryland law that did not go into effect until after Snyder's memorial.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokeswoman for the small congregation, said it is the first time Westboro has been sued by a soldier's family.

"We were exercising our First Amendment rights," She said.


This might be the first time Westboro got sued for holding protests at funerals but I'm thinking it won't be the last if this works, and I hope it does. Like Mr. Snyder I want this stopped. Please don't get me wrong. I would support you being able to protest the war or anything else your opposed to, agree with you or not. But, there are some things that you just should not do. Holding a protest at anyone's funeral would be one of them. I don't care if it's the funeral of a mass murderer. The friends, family and loved ones of the deceased have suffered to much already. Don't turn their time of mourning into a media circus. I wish I was able to let Mr. Snyder know I'm sorry about the loss of his son. No amount of money can make up for that. I'd also like to wish him the best of luck with his lawsuit. If members of Westboro Baptist Church continue holding protests at funerals I hope there are many more successful lawsuits filed against them.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.


Anonymous And Another Thing said...

There must be some twisted logic to "Thank God for IED's" at the funeral for a Marine killed in Iraq )or anywhere else). If this 'church' wishes to protest government policy towards homosexuals...fine. That is indeed their right.

Will they still quote the 1st Amendment if some gay rights bunch starts protesting at their funerals?

I also wish the family of this Marine the best of luck with this lawsuit. I'm a Baptist too but I don't where they are getting their ideas.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame the city hasn't thought to use the new eminent domain laws to take any church property. Most anything else would certainly pay more taxes than Phelps, even a minature golf course. Wonder how the IRS allows this "church" to do what they do tax-free.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Some "church", eh? Screw "emminent domain", let's use the RICO Act to rid the country of these vermin as well as the traitors on Capitol Hill, then abolish the RICO Act immediately afterwards. That's where *I'm* coming from, bro. Keep on bloggin' ON...


12:12 AM  
Anonymous Traven said...

I too wish the family the best of luck in this lawsuit. Though I'm believe in the First Amendment and defend free speech, including that of my enemies, Westboro has gone beyond any acceptable standard of human conduct.

However, there is a possibility that if Westboro loses, they may win appeal to the Supreme Court. Remember, some of the faux conservatives (Scalia and Thomas come to mind immediately) have repeatedly stated that there is NO "right to privacy" in the Constitution.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Westboro Baptist Church is a disgrace to Christianity!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

This is a touchy issue. As despicable as Fred Phelps is (and Nazis who march through Jewish neighborhoods, etc.), I'm not sure if this behavior should be illegal. My biggest problem is that these people are given police protection when they indulge in this hateful behavior. Why not keep the hateful activities unregulated, take away the police protection, and just let the chips fall where they may.

In an earlier day, if you indulged in "hate speech" you'd get the shit kicked out of you, and that would settle that. I think if a bunch of Fred Phelps supporters were assaulted by angry bystanders, no jury would convict the bystanders of any crime; they might get a tiny slap on the wrist if anything.

Just my theory.

I tried to comment here a few days ago but Blogger was dysfunctional.

6:10 PM  
Blogger David Schantz said...

Tom,I was having some trouble with Blogger the other day to. I think their planned down time was off by a day or two.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous PGR said...

BALTIMORE -- A Kansas church has been ordered to pay $3,150 for costs and fees associated with a summons and complaint filed by the father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the extremist group. Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., is suing the Rev. Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church after church members demonstrated at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, of Westminster, and posted pictures of the protest on their Web site. Lance Snyder was killed in Iraq in March. Members of the Topeka church claim U.S. soldiers are killed as God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality. His father's federal lawsuit, filed June 5, alleges church members violated the family's right to privacy and defamed the Marine and his family at the funeral and on the church's Web site. Phelps and the church refused to grant a waiver in the serving of summonses in connection with the federal lawsuit, making the church liable for those costs. Court documents say the church has 30 days to make the payment to Snyder.

3:18 PM  
Blogger LAWBOUND999 said...

I HAVE several comments and very deep concern and personal thoughts,
I would like to express them! Make this MY prediction FOR 2007 & 2008,WBC in the coming months will subject themselves to endless law suits from the outraged public. you can practice your First Amendment right to our constitution by saying what you want, and practicing any religion you want ... but YOU ARE limited and can do so ONLY if it does not offend anyone in any kind of way.
there is no reason you should be standing outside of a funeral precession holding signs up downing the Armed forces when these young men and women are the ones who give you the right to hold up these signs. Solider's die so that you can have and keep the freedom that you so undeservingly have. You walk over the American Flag like Americans want to walk over you... If you don't like It here ... Here's an idea GET OUT!!... go somewhere where if you so much as said a thing against the government or its people that you would be shot dead.. Which isnt such a bad idea if you ask me... these funerals are not meant for protestors they're meant for the family of the fallen hero to take time to remember the life of their loved one... you not only sound uneducated when you speak but you sound down right ignorant... I dont believe you even know what your talking about half the time. It appears that you know who everyone is, who your friends are, what your son or daughter wants, what they stand for, what their dreams are, What their love is, But all they know is what you tell them to know .
To ANYONE planning on suing WBC Remember videotape documentation would be a great help in any litigation, let the News reporters be your tools Just dont put your self in a position where your doing the same as WBC "open mouth insert foot" .

documentation of mentally abusive
slanderous remarks
and unnecessary distress

STRESS may cause a mental condition called post-traumatic stress disorder may require doctor prescribe medication
condition can be brought on by several circumstances and are environments

I would also like to comment on their letters that they send out to the grieving parent of a fallen hero, one of the daughter's from the church indicated that the letter went something like this:
" you have angered your lord god ,that's why your son is dead"

I find these letters purposely antagonizing ,and should be considered criminal in considering their intent and the message is predominantly hate, it just makes me wonder why these people are still walking freely, I find myself wondering in amazement why law-enforcement and CPS does not immediately step in and protected those children in that congregation, for instants, the church congregation at one point was out picketing with children carrying hate picket signs on the front line. A child was hit by a large Sonic drink cup that apparently was not empty, because he was stunned and took several moments for him to gain composure, it is a parent's responsibility to keep their child out of harm's way, this was a blatant sign of a parents' neglect and child endangerment , putting their children at risk for possible fatal injury personally my thoughts are The authorities need to step in before these children are seriously injured in the adult CROSSFIRE of protesting , the-native environment that is created by protesting American soldiers funerals WBC conjugation has created a volatile environment for adults it is certainly unacceptable to have any children involved.

10:10 PM  
Blogger LAWBOUND999 said...

American soldiers funerals WBC
has created a volatile environment for adults it is certainly unacceptable to have any children involved.

10:10 PM

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole Fred Phelps thing is a tricky situation.

Where I stand on issues central to this comment:
I'm a gay man in a domestic partnership. I support our troops, not our governments position on globally terrorizing third-world countries to benefit the pocketbooks of already rich American powers and the investors in our central bank. I also personally hate Fred Phelps.

The problem:
If Phelps gets sued, the case gets taken to the supreme court, and they decide something along the lines of: "free speech is fine unless it is emotionally destructive to others". Then they have to define what is emotionally destructive to others. Lots of things said could be considered emotionally destructive.

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