update: Dad sues ‘Thank God for Dead Soldiers’ church

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by strollingbones, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    YORK, Pa. - Some nights Albert Snyder wakes up at 3 a.m. Other nights he doesn't sleep at all, tormented by thoughts of the hateful signs carried by a fundamentalist church outside his Marine son's funeral.

    "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

    "You're Going to Hell."

    "Semper Fi Fags."

    Hundreds of grieving families have been targeted by the Westboro Baptist Church, which believes military deaths are the work of a wrathful God who punishes the United States for tolerating homosexuality.

    Most mourners try to ignore the taunts. But Snyder couldn't let it go. He became the first to sue the church to halt the demonstrations, and he's pursued the group farther than anyone else.

    Wave of support
    Now, more than four years after his son died in a Humvee accident in Iraq, Snyder's legal battle is headed to the Supreme Court. And his tireless efforts have drawn support from across the country, including a wave of donations after he was ordered to pay the church's court costs — a $16,500 judgment that the congregation plans to use for more protests.

    Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, 20, was not gay. But for the Westboro church, any dead soldier is fair game. Pastor Fred Phelps oversees a congregation of 70 to 80 members — mostly his children and grandchildren. They consider themselves prophets, and they insist the nation is doomed.

    As Snyder sees it, Westboro isn't engaging in constitutionally protected speech when it pickets funerals. He argues that Phelps and his followers are disrupting private assemblies and harassing people at their most vulnerable — behavior that's an incitement to violence.

    "This is more than free speech. This is like yelling, 'Fire!' in a crowded theater. Somebody's going to get hurt," Snyder said, his voice rising and eyes welling with tears.

    Snyder's lawsuit accuses the Topeka, Kan., church of invading his privacy and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. He has the backing of his ex-wife and his two daughters, but Snyder insisted on being the only plaintiff.

    Dad sues ?Thank God for Dead Soldiers? church - Crime & courts- msnbc.com


    as much as my heart goes out to the father..this case will not be won...by him.

    freedom of speech allows hate speech like the wbc spews.

    all we can do, as people, is moniter where they will be.....and run them out...just like they did in charleston wv...make it impossible for wbc to show their faces..it will give them what they what ...more media coverage and grounds to sue the local police...

    perhaps we need a wbc watch group....on here that just tells us where they are expected to be.

    now this is just my opinion...no more, no less.
     
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  2. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    Actually, he's not attacking their right to free speech. Free speech does not give unlimited freedom to say whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. He's got a good case. You're looking only at the 'free speech'.... there are equally important liberties to defend. Like the right to go about your business without being forced to listen to those who choose to behave the way this Church behaves.
     
  3. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    I have mixed feeling on this topic, is there no right to privacy or no right to mourn in peace? Do these wackos have a right to disrupt a free concert for instance? And if not, what would give them the right to invade the privacy of a mourning family. They can freely say nonsense till the cows come home just as Beck, Bachmann, and Limbaugh do, but do they have the right to do it in my face. Is that not an infringement on my rights? Freedom comes with responsibility.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  4. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    I find these whackos offensive (and offending me takes a Hiroshima bomb of insensitivity) but my view is that free speech is the opposite of masterbation, if they are jerking their free speech off in a public place, they can, private they can not.

    I think the best way to deal with these wankers is a huge semi truck with mega speakers and a Village People soundtrack. Drown them out in their own fear.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  5. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    you have no expectation of privacy at a funeral...it is pretty much a public affair....even private services lose that when they go to the gravesite...wbc has ever right to stand on a public area and spew their hate...unfortunately that is what this is about.....wbc makes sure to remain on public property.
     
  6. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    No, actually you're not right.... you're not wrong but you aren't right either. We all have the right to live our lives without interference from others. Freedom of speech is not the only right, it is not the most important right - it is one of our rights. The rights of one individual do not outweigh the rights of another individual.

    If you think this case doesn't have legs, you are wrong. It isn't a slam dunk for either side. It will, however, be an interesting argument. I am loathe to support any degree of narrowing the 'free speech' thing but individuals do have the right to live peacefully - that includes funerals.... and funerals are not public affairs. They family have the right to privacy.
     
  7. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    They have the right to free speech.

    But if they interfere with a private funeral, the mourners should also have the right to kick their asses.
     
  8. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    you and the hubby....same arguement....i dont agree...the family's right to privacy is not invaded by the wbc...they REMAIN ON PUBLIC PROPERTY....that to me is the key to the whole thing....


    here are some articles on both sides:

    TommieMedia - Funeral protests disrespect honorable soldiers

    All of the statements from the signs and the epic fall under the First Amendment’s protections. Under the first subcategory of protected speech – “Statements on matters of public concern that fail to contain a provably false factual connotation” – the signs and the epic are protected. Gays in the military, military policy, gay rights, and other moral issues raised by the WBC are matters of public concern. Furthermore, none of their statements contain provably false statements. A statement that an ambiguous “you” is doomed to hell is the purest form of subjective opinion – this is the furthest possible thing from a provably false statement. The second subcategory – “Rhetorical statements employing loose, figurative, or hyperbolic language” – also specifically protects the kind of speech employed by the WBC. The WBC is extremely dramatic, and its signs and “epic” are not literal, factual, falsifiable statements. They are loose, figurative, and extremely hyperbolic, and they are protected by the First Amendment.

    In Support of the Westboro Baptist Church Political Cartel
     
  9. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    Mo chara, you know me better than to provide articles for me to read. I don't need someone else to inform my opinions. I study the subject and decide for myself. If more people did their own research and informed themselves instead of allowing the media to spoon feed them 'information', we would be a more intelligent country.

    Admittedly, the subject is a tricky one - and I don't think either side can be overly confident of the outcome. I think it's a good debate to have - exactly what does 'freedom' mean... where are the lines around 'free speech'. I am not at all comfortable with curtailing the right to speak freely but there does need to be some lines as to what people can and cannot say and where they are free to speak... and where do the rights of others to go peacefully about their lives fit. I like the debate - whatever the outcome.

    And, I've donated to the campaign for the Snyder family. I rarely hate any individual or group but I despise these WBC people. It's a tricky issue though.
     
  10. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    o please...you know this place.....link demands and all...i am going with freedom of speech here..it will be interesting to see what the ussc does rule
     

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