What's up with these religious nuts??

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    Apr 01, 2010 1:59 AM GMT
    Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq, learned Friday that a federal appeals court is requiring him to pay more than $16,000 in legal fees to the Westboro Baptist Church, a Christian fundamentalist group that demonstrates during military funerals to gain attention for its antigovernment, antihomosexual message. The group rallied at Matthew Snyder’s funeral in March 2006 in Westminster, Md., chanting antigay slogans and carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers,” says Albert Snyder’s attorney, Sean Summers.

    The group was protesting about 30 feet from the church’s main entrance, and Mr. Snyder had to enter through a separate entrance, Mr. Summers says.

    Snyder subsequently sued the Westboro group for emotional distress and won a $5 million judgment. But on appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding in favor of protecting the protesters' free-speech rights. About three weeks ago, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case and is expected to hear it in the fall. (Last year, the high court had declined to take up the issue.) Meanwhile, the circuit court has ordered Snyder, a salesman, to pay the church’s court expenses.

    Snyder, of York, Pa., told Fox News on Tuesday that he would not pay the Westboro Baptist Church "until I hear from the Supreme Court."

    “It’s fair to say that they are not getting any Christmas cards from Mr. Snyder,” adds Summers, in a phone interview. “He obviously thinks they are despicable and doesn’t understand why they would target him.”

    The Westboro group has been protesting at military members’ funerals for years. The church leader, Fred Phelps, preaches that American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are punishment for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality. (He was among those banned from Britain last year for fostering hatred or extremism.) The protests have nothing to do with the fallen service members' sexual orientation, and the church says its protests are held within a “lawful distance” of the funerals.

    Ultimately, say some, the church protests are a matter of constitutionally protected free speech.

    “I really don’t see that [the protest] was a violation of the First Amendment [principles]. It was a violation of decorum and good taste and all sorts of other things, but not a violation of the First Amendment,” says Charles Gittins, a civilian lawyer in Virginia.

    But Summers argues that his client’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of religion were infringed by the protests and that, unlike at a public park where people are free to express themselves, a funeral setting draws a “captive audience” that requires attendees to be in a particular location – they can’t simply walk away.

    Westboro Baptist Church, which is based in Kansas, plans to protest in Florida on Wednesday, outside a funeral for a Marine killed in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan on March 22.

    “Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool,” states a press release posted on the church’s website, announcing the rally at a memorial service for Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson. At the bottom of the press release are printed the words “Thank God for IEDs,” referring to the roadside bombs that have killed thousands of troops in both wars.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 18413

    Apr 01, 2010 10:15 PM GMT
    This baptist church from Kansas has definitely crossed over the line when it preaches hatred and punishment for America because our country does not subscribe to their primitive minded, anti- gay views. Who the hell are these lunatics and since when do they just invite themselves to military funerals. It is obvious that Fred Phelps and his sycophant lunatics are all very sick in the mind for staging such disgusting, hateful protests. I would love to know what is with the federal appeals court that wrongly sided with Fred Phelps. Where did that court cook up this horribly flawed verdict. There is something very horribly wrong with our judicial system when something like this happens. Where is the outrage from our congressional leaders and the legal profession. Since when does the parent of a fallen military serviceman have to pay for appeals costs to an unwanted, uninvited group of people that harbor a deep dislike towards America.