Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Phelps church prepares for U.S. Supreme Court case

A court date has been set in a case involving the Westboro Baptist Church. The church is being sued after protesting a family's funeral. The church claims the protest is protected under free speech.

August 4, 2010


— Members of a Kansas church sued for protesting outside a Marine’s funeral are gearing up to present their case to the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

The high court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 6 in the case of Westboro Baptist Church, which claims its protests outside a 2006 funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq were free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The Topeka-based fundamentalist church members picket funerals of service members, contending the deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality.

Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., sued Westboro, accusing it of inflicting emotional distress and invading his privacy when pickets protested outside the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in Westminster, Md.

The court will consider whether Westboro’s message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by privacy and religious rights of mourners.

In 2007, a jury found against Westboro and awarded Snyder nearly $11 million as compensation for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. That award was later reduced and then overturned by a court of appeals.


Paul R Getto 7 years, 9 months ago

To say the least, this will be quite interesting.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 9 months ago

Good luck. These scumbags wait for people to sue them and be taken to court, that's where they get their money from!!!

They are lawyers, represent themselves and when they win they make the plaintiff pay for the cost of their defense. Since they work for themselves...

Kirk Larson 7 years, 9 months ago

They also receive money from sympathetic conservatives from across the country; people who publicly dismiss them, but send them money privately because they agree with their cause.

PatKirk 7 years, 9 months ago

There aren't any sympathetic conservatives. Ol' Fred is an embarrassment to us all.

johnjay 7 years, 9 months ago

Cappy, Phelps is a democrat. he has ran has a democrat in multiple elections, and has won a significant amount of the primary vote in the democratic primary for the governor's office.

plivanec 7 years, 9 months ago

Regardless of your beliefs and regardless of free speech...have some compasion. These people's children and wifes and husbands have died...leave them alone and let them mourne. Anyone that protests anyone elses funeral shoud rot where the sun doesn't shine.

Tom McCune 7 years, 9 months ago

Can we please put "church" in quotes? WBC is not a church. IMO, it is a contingent fee law firm (and not a very good one). It baits other people into assaulting them so they can sue for damages. Their funeral protests are just the bait.

christy kennedy 7 years, 9 months ago

Exactly. Or call it what it really is, a small cult run by a mentally ill man who's followers include mostly his brainwashed and/or mentally ill descendants and a few other poor, unwell souls.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

Three cheers for Steve Six for joining the case with the Snyder family on this one.

mom_of_three 7 years, 9 months ago

I read in the Wichita paper article that the group also plans to picket along the way to DC, as well as the Supreme court while they hear the case. Hope that backfires!

ebyrdstarr 7 years, 9 months ago

Do you mean to say that you hope SCOTUS gets so ticked at being picketed that they would allow their pique to affect their ruling? If people can't picket the Supreme Court without fear of reprisal from that august body, that would be a pretty sorry state of affairs.

Joel Hood 7 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, getting this kind of attention is just what they want. It does not matter if they win or lose their case, all they want is the national attention and that is what they are going to get.

I need a shower...

Matt Torres 7 years, 9 months ago

Normally I try as hard as I can not to pay any attention to them or even think about them, but this whole picketing at funerals thing is, I think, worthy of attention. It may be naive or overly simple, but I try to live by the "my rights end where yours begin" philosophy. Ruining someone's funeral is...preeeetty much one of the scummiest things I can think of.

willie_wildcat 7 years, 9 months ago

It's pretty low but then again when has WBC displayed any decency or compassion for others? They are media whores that thrive in the spotlight and get their jollies off of other people's suffering and pain. It doesn't take a psychic to see when old man Phred keels over some will return the same courtesy.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

It was ruined so bad the father didn't find out about the protest until sitting at home after the funeral watching the news. Now you can think of scummier things.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Freedom of speech from 1000 feet away trumps anyone's "right" to mourn peacefully at a funeral. I put the word "right" in quotation because it doesn't exist in America as a right.

As usual, the forum is filled with people that can't see beyond the tip of their noses, totally oblivious that on the day the phelps klan can be prevented from spewing their opinions in an area approved by the local government, on that same day the government can muzzle each and every one of you for whatever arbitrary reason it chooses. You people are like the proverbial frog coming to a slow boil while throwing more wood into the fire below yourselves. It is disgusting.

Lest you think I am sympathetic to their cause, god doesn't exist. The concept is a lie. I disagree with their very core beliefs. Also, I think all humans of age should be allowed to do with their bodies what they want with any other consenting person of age they want. I'm also a veteran, so that card will be useless to any of you thinking of that rebuttal.

mom_of_three 7 years, 9 months ago

get up on the wrong side of the bed, did ya?
Make all the incorrect assumptions you want about those of us who are utterly disgusted with this group. Personally, I think there is a way to keep them away from funerals (regardless of whether you think it is a right to mourn peacefully ) and to let them spew their venom elsewhere.

And if I ever catch them near a loved one's funeral, look out! ( of course, I might also plan a counter protest to block their ugliness.)

Amy Heeter 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't really care what they do beyond them being a annoyance. Frankly I don't see the connection being being gay and dead though. Don't know God, only heard about it in my life, however I have doubts to many would want Fred speaking for them

independant1 7 years, 9 months ago

they are an annoying sect.

too bad they get yet another 15 minutes of fame

papajoshy 7 years, 9 months ago

One can only hope that Phred will make a mistake and be sent to prison...I know Bubba sure would like to make friends...

areyouserious 7 years, 9 months ago

Too bad Scott Roeder didnt stop for a visit in Topeka on his way to Wichita!

Scott Kaiser 7 years, 9 months ago

Is WBC recieving tax-exempt status from the IRS as a "church"? Perhaps one way to throw some sand in their vaseline would be a full blown IRS audit. I'm pretty sure that there are issues persuant to that status. Maybe even enough to shut these freaks down.

Phelps doesn't represent MY God.

HaRDNoK9 7 years, 9 months ago

WBC does have 501c3 status with the IRS. Find a link below to petition the revocation of their 501c3 for "violation of the ban on political activity by churches".

Also, I think that a compelling government interest could be argued because of the psychological violence they commit against these bereaved families.

one_bad_marine2 7 years, 9 months ago

WBC! What a poor excuse for a "church". To teach hate, and shove it down their poor kids' throats. Making them stand there with a sign, that they can't even read, is more like child abuse. They take our Rights and twist and turn them until there isn't any real "good" left in them. We should all gather at their "church" and protest during their service. And just FYI...look at some of their financial backers...Hobby Lobby for one. I will NEVER shop there.

seriouscat 7 years, 9 months ago

Can you verify that Hobby Lobby supports WBC? I googled it and found no evidence that this is true.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.