Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

Kansas church loses bid to dismiss lawsuit

June 8, 2007


— A federal judge has rejected a church's attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit that had been filed by the father of a fallen Marine after church members picketed his son's funeral.

U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett on Monday ruled against the church's contention that the court would be forced to decide between different religious viewpoints.

Albert Snyder, of York, Pa. is suing the Rev. Fred Phelps and his Topeka, Kan.-based church after church members demonstrated at the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, of Westminster, Md., last year and posted pictures of the protest on their Web site.

The church claims that the death of American servicemen and women in Iraq is God's punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality.

Its attorneys have argued that members have a First Amendment right to express such opinions. Snyder's suit says that such rights do not extend to funerals.

The case goes to trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in October.


countrygirl 10 years, 10 months ago

Hope they take the Phelps clan to the cleaners!

werekoala 10 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, I don't agree. Heavens knows, I'm no fan of Phelps, but in this time of "free speech zones" and the like, I really don't like any further infringement on the right to free speech.

And realize that the point of the First Amendment isn't to protect popular, safe opinions. It's to protect the venial, disgusting ones that make you feel sick to be a member of the same species as the person saying them. And not because we value disgusting commentary, but because our founding fathers realized that it was the banning of unpopular speech that would set the precedent for the later banning of everyone's speech.

I know, Phelps and his clan are acting like unmitigated as*hats at the funerals, but people are joining together to rise above it. Take the Patriot Riders, for example, those guys are awesome.

I'm also of the opinion that the more attention this guy gets, in form of TV coverage or of lawsuits or whatever, the longer he'll stick around.

Nick Yoho 10 years, 10 months ago

The right for you to swing your arms around ends where my nose begins.Picketing a funaral is like swinging your arms around in a room full of noses.

The Phelps disgust me.

Sigmund 10 years, 10 months ago

There is no absolute right to free speech. Slander and libel laws exist and are Constitutional and you are not allowed to yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater for public safety reasons. This is no different. Protesting the funerals of dead service men and women puts all involved at risk of a violent confrontation as emotions run very high. Phelps and his ilk have plenty of other opportunities to spread their gospel of hate. This is nothing more than a reasonable restriction on the time. place, and manner they can do that. I hope he gets taken for every dime he has or will ever have until he finds himself burning in hell.

mr_economy 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm normally a defender of absolute free speech, but at the same time, I have a hard time imagining any benefit to free-speech rights in a funeral setting. Yes I understand the "snowball effect" argument (or fallacy, rather), but it has proven untrue with other limitations on speech. The Supreme Court tends to be very specific in its approval of exceptions to free speech protection, and I believe it would be a good steward in the case of funeral protests.

erod0723 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Agnostik. While the federal government has no right limiting what Fred Phelps says, an individual has the right to sue for defamation and libel. I hope they milk Fred Phelps dry, but I also hope it brings something else. I am not opposed to the nature of protesting, but hopefully this will cause the Phelps clan to tone it down a bit.

gr 10 years, 10 months ago

"This is no different. Protesting the funerals of dead service men and women puts all involved at risk of a violent confrontation as emotions run very high."

Ya mean like, And anyone saying bad things about "Bush" or any other president should be executed on the spot, as it "puts all involved at risk of a violent confrontation as emotions run very high."

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