Skip to comments.Obscene, Disgusting, Offensive...and Constitutional
Posted on 10/11/2010 6:45:54 PM PDT by Neoavatara
The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in the case of Snyder v. Phelps. Albert Snyder, the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, who died in 2006 in Iraq, sued the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian church that contends that God kills soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan as punishment for America'stolerance of homosexuality and for the presence of gays in the U.S. military.
Westboro Baptist Church pastor and founder Fred Phelps and members of his congregation picketed Matthew's funeral, holding signs expressing anti-gay, anti-American, and anti-Catholic slogans, including "God hates you" and "You're going to hell."
Mr. Snyder sued the Church and Pastor Phelps immediately after the funeral. On October 31, 2007 ajury handed down a $10.9 million verdict against the defendants. However, the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion reversing the judgment of the district court and vacating the jury award. The appellate court found the Phelps' speech (both website and picketing) protected by the First Amendment.
(Excerpt) Read more at neoavatara.com ...
The protests are disgusting and offensive, but they have to be allowed. I don’t like it, but to infringe on their First Amendment right to protest is to spit on the very freedoms that these young men died for.
Not popular, I know, but right and popular aren’t always the same.
I do agree that the funeral protests should not be made illegal.
But I would like to see states and communities pass a law that makes the the maximum punishment for kicking those peoples’ asses is a $10 fine.
phelps and his crew are not people they are demons.
Actually Phelps and his crew are democrats.
Oh, sorry, same thing.
I agree..I would like to Kick their teeth in for their disgusting protests..but I am hesitant abuot restricting Free Speech...
Of course if they protested at Muhammad Atta’s funeral it would not be protected free speech; it would probably be prosecuted as a hate crime.
I like it - I got a couple of 20’s in my wallet...let’s go find us some protesters and express our displeasure with their choice of venue! :-)
Funerals aren't free and you don't pay rent. You pay to be there, for the service, and for the plot. So it's a privacy issue linked to private property rights. It's also an issue involving disturbing the peace, and an obvious and serious form of harrassment with intent to maximize the fear, anxiety and offense against a known vulnerable group.
It's the old yelling fire in a crowded theater routine. Even better, just shift the context to a hospital instead of a cemetary, and even imagine the dearly beloved in a coma and the victims being the same family members. The hosptial would either throw the abusers out on their asses or call the cops, who would immediately arrest them.
The cemetary should be sued for allowing the disruption, and the disruptors should be sued and charged for assault. The law is readily available - the lack of support from prosecutors and judges is purely a political decision.
Phelps is not practicing a Freedom of Speech he and his cohorts are practicing a blame game to inflict mental anguish on a family. The family was supportive of their child going into war as a soldier, sailor, airman. because the individaul was killed, the soldier becomes a public enemy that can be humilitated and scorned for their service to a country’s punishment by God. God does not like war, god also grieves with the families whom are grieving..
phelps is making a political statement at a funeral. He is not exercising any type of Freedom Of Speech - but to exercise a freedom to inflect harm and to humilitate a family. freedom od Speech does not warrant a person to speak ill of someone whom has given freely of oneself in service of a country. A funeral is a private affair.
this could fall under hate speech and be punished in the court at an exorbanant amount. This church should be disbanded.
I too agree that we need to protect free speech that being said I would really protect the free speech of any organization who wishes to picket/protest these nasty people. I wonder how they would like it if we protest the membership at home, work, grocery store, church, hair salon, gay bath house?
Hmmmm now there’s a thought.......Good luck if you want to put it together.....
Okay....then what about the rule the Supremes (I think) made about protestors around Abortion clinics???>??
Exactly. I hate it, but there it is. The First Amendment has to stay intact. Once we start down the road “except in this case”, it’s a slippery slope.
But this is also why I think the entire concept of “hate speech” is utterly unconstitutional, as is the concept of “hate crime”.
How is this behavior any different from yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre (or any other crowded venue) when there is no fire?
I don’t think they have to “be allowed” anywhere near a funeral.
The problem I have is that they are preaching to the wrong people. If what they say is true, that it is God’s judgment against America for her sin, then why are they not in front of gay clubs or in San Francisco? Why are they saying garbage about someone who in God’s eyes has practiced no greater love???? I think you should be able to talk about what you want but WHERE and HOW are to be governed.
The church has rules about what we do in church, who talks, who rules, who comes in, who gets kicked out, who dies because they lied, who speaks in tongues, etc, etc, etc. So these people have to abide by the rules. Let’s make some!
There is no reason to ban these protests....the solution is “counter protesters” in such numbers where the disruption is not noticed by the family. Phelps and Co. will not show their faces into a large crowd of counter protesters.
Forty years ago the Supreme Court finds a right of privacy in the Constitution which leads to a right of abortion - even though neither is mentioned.
Now an absolute right privacy guarantees the right of a parent to murder a child...
yet no right of privacy exists for a parent to bury a child.
The right of a brain dead group of jackasses to exercise their “first amendment right” must be guaranteed at all costs...
yet there is no right for parents to peacefully bury a son that has died for our country.
Argue any Constitutional grounds you want - it will still be wrong no matter what the argument offered.
Actually, it’s a form of stalking.
That is my dream job, I would love to walk away from my day job and organize against a lot of groups. Just counting the days until all the credit cards and debt are gone so I can dump the day job then it will be on! I have no idea where these clowns live but if there is ever a funeral in my AO you can count on me following them from the moment the hit the state line! I would think that maybe some freepers live near them? Actually if someone organizes in their hometown I would be willing to make a few trips, kinda a vacation in fact.
Just went to their website (gross) they are located at 3701 W. 12th Street in Topeka, KS. Regular service time is 12:00 p.m. (Central time).
“Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian church”
“Time and place” speech regulations are fully Constitutional. They should be allowed to say whatever they want ... elsewhere. Leave the family in peace.
If I said half the things they are carrying around written on signs some gay person would be screaming hate speech and demanding I be arrested.
where are the 'gay rights' people, and why aren't they going after these sons and daughters of Cain?
Goose, geese, ganders.
I pastor a very conservative SBC and detest the sin of homosexuality. I also detest the actions of Westboro Baptist Church. There actions of protest at the funerals of soldiers cannot be Scripturally justified by any means. God’s favor is not upon them!
Too many grownups just can’t handle religion just like too many folks just can’t handle alcohol.
I keep thinking that some time, there will be a parent of a dead soldier, that has a terminal illness, that is willing to step up to the plate.
I disagree, on the grounds that the funerals are private, not public events. You could argue that these cretins could protest on the sides of the public roads over which the procession rides is a First Amendment issue, but the funeral itself, in the cemetary, is a private affair. These people are intruding on an intimate private event with the intention of upsetting the mourners, as well as making a scene. There is no intention to persuade, which is why it isn't a matter of free speech.
Would it be a free speech issue if these people wanted to crash a private wedding party? Funerals should be accorded the same respect.
Incidentally, would these funeral protesters be allowed at Arlington National on the same free speech issues? After all, it is a public cemetery, unlike the one at the heart of the Snyder/Phelps case.
Yes, they can protest.
And as in what happened in my small town a couple of years ago...half of the town and every flag waving motorcyle group within 200 hundred miles showed up to protect the deceased and his family.
There was no violence and it sure put a damper on the “protest”.
That maybe the best way to combat these types of things. Strong opposition.
(I still see and hear those bikers roaring down the highway...flags waving.)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.