Dead Marine's Father Ordered to Pay.......

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/03/30/westboro.baptist.snyder/index.h...



The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church says an order to pay the protesters' legal costs in a
civil claim is nothing less than a "slap in the face."

"By the court making this decision, they're not only telling me that they're taking their side, but I have to pay them money to do this to more
soldiers and their families," said Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl.
Matthew Snyder, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.

Members of the fundamentalist church based in Topeka, Kansas, appeared outside Snyder's funeral in 2006 in Westminster, Maryland, carrying signs
reading "You're going to hell," "God hates you" and "Thank God for dead
soldiers."

Among the teachings of the church, which was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Phelps, is the belief that God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events such as
soldiers' deaths.

Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps and the attorney representing the church in its appeals, also said the money that the church receives from Snyder will be used to finance
demonstrations. But she also said that the order was a consequence of
his decision to sue the church over the demonstration.

"Mr. Snyder and his attorneys have engaged the legal system; there are some rules to that legal engagement," said Phelps, a member of Westboro who
says she has participated in more than 150 protests of military
funerals.

"They wanted to shut down the picketing so now they're going to finance it," she said.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ordered that Snyder pay more than $16,000 in costs requested by Westboro for copies of motions, briefs and appendices, according to
court documents.

In a motion filed in October, Snyder's lawyer, who is representing him for free, asked the court to dismiss the bill of costs, or, alternatively, reduce the 50-cent fee per page or charge
Snyder only for copies that were necessary to make their arguments on
appeal.

"We objected based upon ability to pay and the fairness of the situation," Sean Summers said.

The mostly pro-forma ruling is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal saga that pits privacy rights of grieving families against the free speech rights of demonstrators,
however disturbing and provocative their message.

Snyder's family sued the church and went to trial in 2007 alleging privacy invasion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. A
jury awarded the family $2.9 million in compensatory damages plus $8
million in punitive damages, which were reduced to $5 million.

Westboro in 2008 appealed the case to the 4th District, which reversed the judgments a year later, siding with the church's claims that its First
Amendment rights had been violated.

"The protest was confined to a public area under supervision and regulation of local law enforcement and did not disrupt the church service," the circuit court opinion said.
"Although reasonable people may disagree about the appropriateness of
the Phelps' protest, this conduct simply does not satisfy the heavy
burden required for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional
distress under Maryland law."

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case to address issues of laws designed to protect the "sanctity and dignity of memorial and funeral services" as well as the
privacy of family and friends of the deceased.

The justices will be asked to address how far states and private entities such as cemeteries and churches can go to justify picket-free zones and the use
of "floating buffers" to silence or restrict speech or movements of
demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights in a funeral
setting.

Both Phelps and Snyder's attorney said they were surprised that the 4th District chose to weigh in on the issue of legal costs when they could have waited until after the Supreme Court hearing.

Phelps believes the ruling bodes well for her side.

"It is a good harbinger of the fact that the Supreme Court will remind this nation that you don't have mob rule. The fact that so many people hate
these words does not mean you can silence or penalize them. That's
supposed to be the great liberty that we congratulate ourselves on
protecting in this nation. We strut all around the world forcing people
to give all the liberties we supposedly have," she said.

Phelps anticipated that a Supreme Court ruling in the church's favor would be unpopular, but she said Westboro's members viewed the potential outcome
in Biblical terms.

"When the Supreme Court unanimously upholds the 4th Circuit, it's going to put this country in a rage, and we will be expelled," she said. "But whenever it was time for an epic event in
the Bible, the thing that happened right before is the prophets were
removed from the land, and that's what's going to happen to us. ...
We're going to sprint to the end of this race."

Snyder claims he is unable to pay any legal costs in the case and is attempting to raise funds on his son's site, http://www.matthewsnyder.org/. He is equally optimistic
that he will prevail before the Supreme Court.

"The American people keep my spirits lifted a lot and give me hope. I think
most of the country is on my side on this issue," he said. "Too many
people have died to protect our rights and freedoms to have them
degraded and spit upon like this church does."

Tags: Westboro, court, free, speech

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What a shameful act of ignorance and hypocrisy. I for one would be elated if all those crazy fucked up bigots made a mass exodus out of my country. Its true that they have the right to say their opinions, but what decent person would want to do such a hurtful and insensitive thing?
They aren't decent people.
But being decent isn't a prerequisite for being an American citizen....and as American citizens...they have a right to free speech.
Frankly, I'd be happy if they were all trapped inside their "church" and burned to death in a freak accident.
However, since they are still alive and spouting off their hatred, I have to defend their right to say it.
In the very least, I take a little satisfaction in knowing that they make Christianity as a whole look bad. After all, they are only taking direct quotes from the Bible.
Maybe, maybe in their shameless quest for frame, they've opened up a few eyes and turned a few hearts by showing just what religion tolerates and propagates.
They aren't decent people.

True that. Remember this?


Catchy, though. I'll give them that!
That's okay. We all hate God too.
I can't really hate someone/thing I don't believe exists.
I'd be elated if they all piled into a bus and drove off a cliff.
"Its true that they have the right to say their opinions, but what decent person would want to do such a hurtful and insensitive thing?"

No decent person WOULD want to do such a hurtful and insensitive thing....without a hurtful and insensitive religious ideology..(or interpretation of such) to support them.

I agree with Reggie here. WBC is valuable. They are doing our work for us. Putting the spotlight on all the negative absurdities of fundamentalist literalism and extremism. They show the majority of the religious right in this country a picture of the christian taliban. One that they try hard to distance themselves from but find difficult because they use the same scripture to bolster their own arguments. Its very uncomfortable for them. No one makes a better argument against fundamentalist literalism than the Westboro Baptist Church and the phelps family. They are a walking, talking public service announcement against it.
I agree with Reggie here.

Tail is wagging. ;-)
I really cannot stand Phelps. He's just one of those idiots you know we'd better without.

I do believe they have the right to free speech and I am all for peaceful protest, even if the message is direct or not easy to take in. However, there are some lines you should not cross when it comes to free speech. These include slander and emotional, mental, or physical assaults. The Westboro jackasses cross these lines. Talk about insensitive and close minded. There's gotta be a better way to get your message across than to assault a family while they are mourning for the loss of a son.

If Phelp's daughter were to die, I'm sure he would be highly upset if picketers showed up at her funeral to slander the family and the activities of the daughter during her life.
If Phelp's daughter were to die, I'm sure he would be highly upset if picketers showed up at her funeral to slander the family and the activities of the daughter during her life.

Don't sell that crazy bastard short. I think he would be elated and would use his daughter's death and retaliatory protests to cement his messages of hate with his "clan".
I agree. Free speech is free speech, but it's just plain mean to picket people in such emotional pain. We used to have the Aryan Nations march in a parade every summer 'cause they wanted to. That was free speech. Now, if they decided to do it directly in front of a black family's house and direct their ugliness right at them, that would be pushing the free speech more toward a hate crime.
However, there are some lines you should not cross when it comes to free speech. These include slander and emotional, mental, or physical assaults.

I agree with the sentiment that intentionally inflicting pain upon others with words is never good behavior. However, it is so difficult to concretely define an emotional assault that it would be dependent upon the "emotionally assaulted" person to claim wrongdoing. I think that it would open up the door for "I'm offended" becoming a valid protest against contentious speech. Plenty of religious people could claim that a lot of our secular opposition is emotionally damaging and should be censored.

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