Fred Phelps church being sued . . . FINALLY!

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Principessa

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    Kansas church sued after cheering Marine's death
    Members say God is punishing U.S. over gays

    By MELODY SIMMONS
    New York Times News Service
    Published on: 10/25/07

    Baltimore — Before the March 2006 funeral for Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, a Marine who was killed in Iraq, protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church, a tiny fundamentalist splinter group, picketed the service with signs that read, "God Hates You" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

    Albert Snyder, the father of Snyder, sued the church in U.S. district court here, claiming invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.


    The Westboro protesters, whose church is in Topeka, Kan., frequently picket the funerals of military officials and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan because church leaders assert that God is killing soldiers to punish America for condoning homosexuality. The lawsuit, which is being tried in Baltimore, is believed to be the first against the church by the family of a fallen serviceman.
    Snyder, who said Westboro members turned his son's funeral in Westminster, Md., into a "media circus," is seeking unspecified damages in the jury trial, which is expected to end next week. In opening statements, his lawyer said church members had shown no regret for the protest, which he said had left Snyder with depression and health complications from diabetes.

    "They wanted their message heard, and they didn't care who they stepped over," Snyder testified on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. "My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside."

    Experts say the case is a test of the limits of free speech.
    Similar demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church members have prompted several states, including Maryland, to establish limits on funeral protests.

    Ronald K.L. Collins, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington, said such restrictions pose certain dangers, however. "The dangerous principle here is runaway liability in a way that would put the First Amendment in serious jeopardy," Collins said. "I dread to think what it would do to political protests in this country if it were allowed the win."

    Judge Richard D. Bennett, who is hearing the case, told the nine jurors that there are limits on free speech protection, listing categories that include vulgar, offensive and shocking statements and instructed jurors to decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection," according to the AP.
    The church has about 60 members, most of them related to its founder, the Rev. Fred Phelps.

    One of Phelps' 13 children, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a defendant in the case who was one of the protesters at Snyder's funeral, testified on Thursday that she had never met Cpl. Snyder and that she would not apologize for the demonstration.

    "We preach to the living to connect the dots to the parents of the dead child," Phelps-Roper testified. "He's fighting for a nation who has made God a No. 1 enemy."
     
  2. Jovial

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    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'd like to see the outcome of this case. I wish there were another way to stop them from protesting at funerals without attacking the 1st amendment.
     
  3. SpoiledPrincess

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    Ministers who preach hate are going to have a special place in hell, I've often said I don't believe in God or Jesus as the Son of God, but ministers do and Jesus' message was one of love and tolerance.
     
  4. whatireallywant

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    I just think protesting at funerals for ANY reason is wrong! It is very disrespectful to the deceased's family and friends.

    And of course, the Fred Phelps stuff is just bad anyway, although just carrying signs at places like I saw them at in Indianapolis, in front of the convention center, is protected by the 1st Amendment. Can't really do anything about that except speak out against hatred.

    On a lighter note, I have to say that Fred Phelps kept pretty busy there, if he has 13 children! :biggrin1::biggrin1::biggrin1:
     
  5. frizzle

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    Louis Therox did a documentary on this organisation and it was quite interesting. Whilst you could tell the younger generation was brain washed and the older one's were obviously bitter and angry, the close family structure was quite heart-warming, in a sickening sense.

    Oh well, anyone who preaches hate deserves the death sentence or automatic removal from the country. I don't see why people like Captain Hook can walk around our country spouting terrorism.
     
  6. dong20

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    Well, there's something of a gulf between execution and deportation. It makes me wonder about the maturity of your consideration of the balance between protecting free speech and dealing with its (sometimes unwelcome) consequences.

    Captain Hook has been in jail for over 18 months (in case you haven't kept up) and is fighting US extradition on the grounds that evidence against him was obtained illegally by various means including torture.

    On that theme, due process has its flaws without doubt but if one stops to think one may realise it's one of the key things that differentiate 'us' from the captain hooks of this world.
     
  7. frizzle

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    Sorry but free speech must always be limited, I would of personally executed the man, but others may think that's a little extreme on a person who wishes to desecrate the whole western culture and insipires racial hatred.

    And yes I did know he was banged up in Belmarsh, infact my mother met him on a few occasions, nothing but a vile person and we shouldn't be wasting our money on keeping him alive/in the country.
     
  8. Osiris

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    Having lived in Missouri, I am all to familiar with Fred Phelps.

    Before I continue, you all know I try to find the good in everything. However, Fred Phelps and his organization are one of the rare exceptions to that rule.

    Someone very close to me died of AIDS. I posted about it in a thread about AIDS on here some time ago. Now the person that died was not gay, nor was she ever. Somehow the Phelps clan heard that a lesbian had died of AIDS. They showed up at the funeral.

    They tried to block our limos from entering the cemetary and when the casket came out of the hearse and was placed over the grave, they cheered and clapped and whistled like they were at an NFL game. As I returned to the limo after the service, one young man got close to me and said, "The fag got what she deserved." Holding back tears, I looked him dead in the eye and said, "My fiance did NOT deserve to die and it should be your hateful ass on that grave not hers." His face kind of went surprised. At least I thought it did. I really couldn't tell because I only saw it for the second it took me to connect my fist with his nose and break it.

    Fred Phelps is the lowest of the low and for all his preaching and "holier than thou" bullshit, he will never see the heaven he believes in. A fitting eternity for him would be to have the souls of those he condemns to torment him for the rest of eternity. The term "fucking piece of shit" doesn't even come close to how vile I find him. Just seeing this fucking assholes name sets my blood aboil.

    BTW, they tried to sue me for assault. I countered sued for assault and slander. I won, they didn't.
     
  9. Mem

    Mem
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    I would love to see a sniper at their next protest take them all out.
     
  10. frizzle

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    Pay me for it and I'll do it myself. Could use the practice.
     
  11. Osiris

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    A bullet is too good for them. And a complete waste of money. We can only hope they may do a Jim Jones/Guyana thing and drink the Kool-Aid. I'll buy the Kool-Aid, anyone have a huge tub to make it in?
     
  12. ZOS23xy

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    Fred Phelps is a emotional retard who likes to get attention of any sort. Various laws in a few states prohibit him from picketing at funerals. My view is that he wants these confrontations to promote his "ideas". Mostly people view him as a downer whom they'd zone out on.

    On another board, folks feel that Phelps is a closeted Gay man.
     
  13. SSBrownBear

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    The BBC did a documentary on these wingnuts (I think Fizzle mentioned it). They are frightening - and after watching them for a time, you realize that there is no reaching them. Their "faith" has managed to overwhelm the part of them that might contain compassion, empathy, and simple common decency.

    Shirley Phelps-Roper, who appears to be running things now, is the ultimate source of confusion - an involved, happy, "Mom" who, when she leaves to go to one of these protests, becomes one of the coldest, most unfeeling human beings I've ever witnessed.

    Keeping things somewhat in perspective, they are a very small group - it's their actions that keep them large in our minds (kind of like a guy who keeps harping on the defunct NAMBLA in another thread on lpsg). The better news is that there are veterans organizations who make it a point to show up at these funerals to protect the families and ensure that they're shielded from these people - sometimes with the roaring of 100 motorcycles.

    I'm a huge proponent of free speech, yet I can just barely see the dim, dim line that allows these people to do what they do.

    Humans... Sheesh...:banghead2:
     
  14. Gillette

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    I'll supply the tub. I even have funnels to help speed the process.

    Here's hoping that the lawsuit will break them financially so that they can't even travel to the end of the street spreading this hatred.
     
  15. petergroot

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    The Westboro protesters, whose church is in Topeka, Kan., frequently picket the funerals of military officials and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan because church leaders assert that God is killing soldiers to punish America for condoning homosexuality. The lawsuit, which is being tried in Baltimore, is believed to be the first against the church by the family of a fallen serviceman.



    WTF? who are these people????How do you make the connection between gays and someone being wacked by a bullet in Iraq?
    Regardless of my (sincere) doubts re the whole reason for the (so-called) coalition's )presence in Iraq, the fact remains people, Iraqi's mostly, and a LOT of soldiers(USA) are being maimed and killed for a cause which I think they don't really understand, that was misrepresented to them by their leaders.So for some bible-punching ringpiece trash garbage to be making political capital out of this is despicable. I don't now what the correct response to this situation would be, but if it affected me personally I think I would respond with a uncalibrated outburst which would certainly contain a large amount of violence, which would include the use on pangas , knobkieries, and assorted traditional weapons. and fuck 'em all to hell
     
  16. Osiris

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    As you said, it is more about common decency than it is freedom of speech. There is a time and a place for everything. These inbred morons still fail to realize that AIDS is NOT a gay disease. They think if you got AIDS, God is punishing you for being gay.

    I swear these people have an IQ lower than a bowl of bean dip.

    How much you wanna bet if they pulled this at the funeral of a gang member or dope dealer who died of AIDS, we wouldn't have to worry about them any longer. They thought about protesting at Easy E's funeral way back when papa Phelps was still the day to day man, they were smart enough to know their asses would be shot dead on the spot.

    Moron's yes. Unfortunately for us, not stupid enough.
     
  17. dcwrestlefan

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    i don't mind the lawsuit. would be nice for him to pay for this, and past actions.

    am on the fence as to what course to take with these type of people. they rode the short bus to school. do you bang the shit out of them, or ignore them? we had a case when i lived in texas. a gay resort opened in galveston. dickhead decided to try and start a rally over it. no one paid attention. 10 people showed up. the media did not turn it into a circus. they got on their bus, and went the fuck back to kansas where they belong. they did not get coverage, therefore they were unhappy.

    maybe ignoring these idiots is the best approach. i dunno. but i can imagine being pretty pissed off if they came to visit a funeral of someone i cared about.

    i like free speech. there is the rub.

    if i am not mistaken, this group picketed at bill clinton's mother's funeral. these people are in serious need of meds.

    people like him just need to die. and i mean that.
     
  18. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Insane, right? Here's their website... for anyone who is interested. They even have a list of their scheduled pickets... they call them "Love Crusades". *sigh*

    The Westboro Baptist Church Home Page

    Here's an article on their page thanking God for the fires in California.

    http://www.godhatesfags.com/fliers/oct2007/20071024_california-fires.pdf
     
  19. SSBrownBear

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    We open ourselves to huge amounts of frustration when applying "WTF?!!?!" to these people. It is, quite literally, impossible to put yourself into their mindset, to try to figure out what would possess seemingly ordinary people to do something that is unthinkable to 99.9.9.9% of the population. I thank MY God that I'm not able to go there, not even in fantasy.

    Their website is something of a revelation, however; it does explain who they are from their point of view. However, I still doubt they'll make sense to us.

    They don't like anybody, including Mother Theresa, JP II, Princess Diana and poor Matthew Shepherd who has a page on their website that starts at sickening and proceeds from there. In addition to their travels, they have waged war on the authorities in their hometown. Several of the family, including the old man, are lawyers, and quite good ones at that, especially on these pesky little First Amendment issues.

    Save yourself the trouble of asking "why?" with Westboro - there's no logic to it although perhaps a religious or theological scholar might be able to sort something out. Any Old Testament scholars hanging on LPSG.org?

    ssbb
     
  20. DC_DEEP

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    Their "theology" has nothing to do with a real theology. Anything that happens outside their little family wreath (no branches, so it can't be called a tree) is god's punishment for condoning homosexuality. The World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the war(s) in the Middle East, the southeast asia tsunami, that not-so-fresh feeling, impacted boogers, molded bread, weeds in your flower bed, a paper jam in your printer - it's all god's punishment for condoning those sodomites.

    I don't know if freddie had a bad experience, or if he just started out mentally ill, but he's just got problems.

    I think the real solution to the phred felps problem would be to fight him by his own rules. As lawyers, both he and his daughter know that there's not really much that can be done, as long as they don't actually get physical with anyone, and they stay on public property.

    Get a group of 15 or so people, with picket signs, and actually join his group - except have your picket signs saying things like
    "God loves all fags, especially Fred Phelps" or
    "Westboro financially supports terrorists" or
    "Don't mind us, we're mentally ill".

    Mingle with his picketers. What could he do? Tell you to leave? I don't think so. You have as much legal right to be on that public sidewalk as he does.

    If every time they decide to picket something, they are joined and outnumbered by decent folks, would it make a difference?
     
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