Anti-gay church ordered to pay millions

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 12:01 AM GMT
    CNN.comBALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals in the belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.


    A member of Westboro Baptist Church protests outside a veteran's hospital in Maywood, Illinois, in April 2006.

    Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

    The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress


    Read the rest of the article
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 01, 2007 12:46 AM GMT
    WHAT A GREAT VERDICT!!!! This man is an embarassment to my state. We all think so. So many people have said.... "you are from that state", implying Phelps...

    They can't pay and I hope the plaintiff moves to foreclose property to satisfy the judgement.. that is after Phelps exhausts his appeals.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 8:08 AM GMT
    Strange as it may sound, i really dislike this verdict.

    I think freedom of speech is far more important than the rantings of the WBC and this verdict undermines that freedom.

    While i find the WBC's views largely disgusting, they should be able to say what they think in public places without fear of retribution. Plus, everytime Phelps opens his mouth and spews his anti-gay rhetoric, most sane and civilised people realise how sick that rhetoric is. This verdict will turn him into a free speech martyr and probably help his cause.

    As a result i think this verdict is bad for gays, bad for free speech and i hope it is speedily reversed on appeal.



  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 01, 2007 8:11 AM GMT
    Zoot, you are really opening up a can of worms with this one.....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 8:23 AM GMT
    Hi HndsmKansan

    I don't mean to be opening up a can of worms but that doesn't really bother me too much.

    It is this sort of case that erodes all our freedoms. By denying the rights of others, we undermine our own.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 9:28 AM GMT
    He's been doing this for decades, but now it is invasion of privacy and causes emotional distress. I'm glad Phelps is getting what he deserves, but it took too long.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 9:56 AM GMT
    zoot, freedom of speech must be protected but a private funeral is not a 'public place'. the greiving family of this young man should not also have to deal with the insane carpings of this invidious group.

    and whilst allowing them to continue does bring attention to their offensive lunacy, we in britain would not have heard about the demo had it not have been prosecuted. it's headline news across all news media here.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 10:02 AM GMT
    If I were in their proximity, I'd organize protests outside of wherever Phelps' female followers are birthing their unholy spawn. "THANK GOD FOR ABORTIONS! HAVE ONE, BITCH!"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 10:49 AM GMT
    That's funny McGay but you do know that if you did that, it would make you look as deluded as Phelps is. The WBC should be treated with noblesse oblige. They spew such nonsense that they are their own antidote. If we want to engage with them, it is fairly easy to point out the inherent contradictions and general hypocrisy in their stance . While such a response may not persuade any in the WBC, most outside would see who is the most reasoned and fair.

    Re: dakuk - Phelps was not invading a private funeral as they were protesting nearby but not amongst the service itself. The way that Phelps is cordoned off is remarkably similar to the way that anti-war demonstrators are only allowed to protest in "official" protest areas and not allowed near the president. My point here is that punishing Phelps for exercising his freedoms can easily be applied to other groups, like ourselves.

    Remember Pastor Niemoller!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 12:08 PM GMT
    zoot i take your point but a balance has to be struck between the rights of the protesters and the rights of the family to go about their private business.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 12:13 PM GMT
    McGay:

    I love you! You are my best friend! Just sayin.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 1:08 PM GMT
    Cool by me, Rocco! icon_cool.gif

    zoot, looking as cuckoo as Phelps is a risk that would be worth the opportunity to beat him up. I know that sounds unevolved, but, well, maybe I don't want to beat him up, just insult and humiliate him a lot. I don't even know why, really. None of his activities have touched me personally. Maybe I've read too much Stephen King and people like Phelps (not so different in my mind than Rev. Jim Jones) just strike me as the devil incarnate, genuinely evil. Maybe it's just Halloween.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 01, 2007 1:14 PM GMT
    Hey there Zoot,
    You and I would have quite a "conversation" if that were possible. What Phelps is doing doesn't threaten freedom of speech as it was set out to be
    in my view. Its what he violating by doing what he's doing! Its clear others here are voicing what I already think... but lets just watch the courts here Zoot.... and there will be additional lawsuits.

    I'm very confident that the time has finally come
    and definitive (and successful) court action will be
    upheld.
  • Alan95823

    Posts: 306

    Nov 01, 2007 1:20 PM GMT
    Isn't this Phelps loon the same guy who organized followers to try and pray the sin out of San Francisco several years ago?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 1:29 PM GMT
    Phelps deserves what he has coming to him...but I'm with Zoot on this one.

    If the ACLU didn't already exist, I'd found it.

    I may disagree with what Phelps and similar bastards say, but I completely support their right to demonstrate to everyone how wrong they are, without feeling their ought to be any governmental improvements on this at all.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 2:41 PM GMT
    I'm wondering if what Phelps is doing wouldn't fall under "slander", or "libel"?

    If there was a "Survior: Kansas" Phelps would surely be the first to be voted out.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Nov 01, 2007 3:23 PM GMT
    Well I'm with Dak on this (it must be a British thing). Whilst freedom of speech is laudable I wonder if pro-Gay protesters, for instance, would be allowed outside a funeral of a well-known bigot.

    People should be allowed to protest/speak out. But should we allow bigotry to be vocalised, especially at something like a funeral (which isn't a parade or anything public like that, but a family display of grief).

    It's an interesting subject.

    Lozx
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 4:03 PM GMT
    Having Freedom is one thing, but when it inhibits the personal freedoms and comforts of other people, That is abusing freedom. Anyone who thinks being able to say whatever you want whenever you want is just selfish and tacky.

    (There, my freedom of speech)

    This Rev. is 77...I hope his church is left with years of debt to pay...with all 60 members it has haha.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 4:20 PM GMT
    Here is an interview with the father:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2007/11/01/snyder.funeral.protest.cnn

    It's interesting that nothing is being said about the people who are being insulted by these protests...just where they are carrying them out. If they were preaching hate against other minorities, I think something would be being said about it. Not that it could be stopped because of freedom of speech, but it would be being condemned.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 4:37 PM GMT
    Seems like there are some interesting things going on here, because even though I agree with the verdict, the fine is shockingly high.:

    Is the judge trying to bankrupt the church? Seems likely if it was a CA or MA judge, but Kansas? Hmm.

    Is there something more cynical going on? I wonder, because handing down such a large punishment to a right-wing church might really galvanize the like-minded electorate. The religious right now have a new martyr.

    Whenever homosexuality becomes a big wedge issue in an election year, bad things happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 4:47 PM GMT
    I dont think this will become an election issue. For the right wing to support this church as a martyr, they would have to give tacit approval to their message. Although the major thrust of their message is anti-gay, approving their message would mean approving the deaths in Iraq as god's vengeance for gay tolerance. Not many people are going to buy that association. Also, this would mean they would have to go on a great anti-gay campaign which wouldnt be supported.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 4:55 PM GMT
    They could skirt the negative association by "hating Phelps' sin", but "loving Phelps the sinner" and defending his right to continue financially as a ministry in the face of an "activist judge" (damn I hate that bogus term). You know..."Freedom of Religion" and all that rhetoric.

    I often bring up these types of things because we let our guard down in '00 and '04, and it cost us.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 01, 2007 5:05 PM GMT
    Would be interesting to see "pro-tolerance" or "pro-acceptance" demonstrators at Phelps' own funeral (whenever that is) to show the man there's more to life than hate.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Nov 01, 2007 5:19 PM GMT
    I think I'd rather be dancing on the bigot's grave, rather than having a peaceful protest.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 01, 2007 5:28 PM GMT
    Well I do think Zoot and others have pointed out something very important... the need for free speech and to prohibit its erosion. The question here is how it fits with other freedoms. When and where are all to be observed.. equally or not so? No one here
    endorses his sick behavior or the effect it has had on innocents... its the appropriate approach legally that is in question.

    I'm just grateful the courts are finally doing so.