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Anti-gay minister shouldn't be able to intrude on soldiers'
Washington Post ^ | October 6, 2010 | Doug Gansler

Posted on 10/06/2010 11:29:16 AM PDT by Kaslin

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Snyder v. Phelps, a case about the nature and scope of basic rights -- those of free speech vs. those of privacy. But this case is fundamentally about wrongs and the law's imperfect ability to redress them.

The facts of the case are well known. Matthew Snyder, a Marine lance corporal from Westminster, Md., was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2006. The Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church traveled more than 1,000 miles to Maryland to picket his funeral and draw attention to their view that society and the military are too tolerant of homosexuality. They stood at the entrance of the church where the funeral was held, waving signs that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God Hates Fags" and "God Hates You."

hey followed their protest by publishing a poem on the Internet entitled "The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder," which stated that Matthew's parents "taught Matthew to defy his creator" and "raised him for the devil." The connection between the Phelpses' faith and their political views may be difficult to understand, but it is not difficult to see how this targeted expression of their views would be particularly hurtful to Matthew's father on the occasion of his son's funeral.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: 2010electionbias; algoresfriend; antichristian; cult; dnctalkingpoints; fredphelps; fredphelpscult; homosexualagenda; lavendermafia; liesbyomissionm; mediabias; pravdamedia; religiousleft; stalinisttactics; washingtonpoo; yellowjournalism

1 posted on 10/06/2010 11:29:18 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Intruding on the grief of others is just plain wrong especially when that intrusion is politically motivated.


2 posted on 10/06/2010 11:31:19 AM PDT by Ev Reeman
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To: Kaslin
"Anti-American Democrat Bigot Shouldn't Be Able To Intrude On Soldiers'"


3 posted on 10/06/2010 11:32:18 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
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To: Kaslin

I guess this minister does not believe in love the sinner and hate the sin. Not very Christ-like is he? In any event he should intrude and worsen the grief of others.


4 posted on 10/06/2010 11:35:23 AM PDT by LottieDah (Exterminate the 'Rats and save the Republic!)
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To: Kaslin

I wouldn’t want to be Fred Phelps on his judgement day.


5 posted on 10/06/2010 11:36:37 AM PDT by Smittie
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To: Kaslin
"Thank God for Dead Soldiers,"

This is not protected speech. It is naked treason and was prosecuted as such during WWII.

Treason, perjury, libel, slander, and inciting a riot are not protected speech. Laws against sedition go in and out of fashion but treason is defined as a crime in our Constitution and it is providing aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime.

6 posted on 10/06/2010 11:36:47 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
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To: Kaslin

No one cares enough about the Phelps clan to counter protest where they live. We should just stop giving Phelps free publicity.


7 posted on 10/06/2010 11:36:49 AM PDT by donna (This is the age of Republican-Feminism. We "feel right”!)
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To: Ev Reeman

This case is not about what is right or wrong or even moral. This case is only about our 1st amendment right to free speech.

I find the protesting at soldiers funeral to be morally wrong and in extreme bad taste but will fight for the right of these disgusting pigs to exercise their freedom of speech.


8 posted on 10/06/2010 11:37:33 AM PDT by my3centseuro
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To: my3centseuro
"I find the protesting at soldiers funeral to be morally wrong and in extreme bad taste but will fight for the right of these disgusting pigs to exercise their freedom of speech."

As repugnant, repulsive and reprehensible as I find the Phelps clan, I have to agree with you. The first amendment was clearly not intended to protect popular, generally accepted, polite, unobjectionable speech; such speech needs no protection. It was intended precisely to protect controversial, impolite, tasteless, contentious and disagreeable speech. As much as I would like to think that we conservatives would never use a funeral to promote a political agenda, surrendering that right altogether may turn out, in the long run, to be the more morally outrageous act.

9 posted on 10/06/2010 11:45:04 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: donna
There are other Democrats who say things as outrageous and hateful as Fred Phelps (D). But if you look at the headline, the lavender mafia use the pravda media to slur any Christians who take a moral stand against homosexuality.

Fred Phelps is the "go to guy" for their stereotype of all Christian opposition to homosexuality. It is based upon a lie. Fred Phelps' church has a membership consisting of SOME of his extended family, who also serve as litigators for the "church". He's been active as a candidate in Democrat politics. Who knows if he even believes the crap he spouts. He knows he serves to taint all Christians.

10 posted on 10/06/2010 11:46:49 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
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To: my3centseuro

We do not have freedom of ALL speech.

It is against the law to yell fire in a theatre and cause a panic.

Free speech does have limitations.


11 posted on 10/06/2010 11:47:57 AM PDT by Ev Reeman
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To: Kaslin

Only anti-religious gays can intrude on our military and our religon.


12 posted on 10/06/2010 11:53:19 AM PDT by G Larry
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To: Joe 6-pack; my3centseuro

The Phelps aren’t protesting the government.

They are protesting against private citizens.

The First Amendment does not give anyone the right to libel or slander a private citizen, and it’s protections, under the Constitution, are a buffer against GOVERNMENT intrusion into our lives.

The Phelps have no ‘freedom of speech’ protections when they protest and slander a private citizen.


13 posted on 10/06/2010 11:53:44 AM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: my3centseuro

I agree with you as I believe this could be a trap to shut up people like Rush, Levin, Beck, Hannity etc. Then you and I.


14 posted on 10/06/2010 11:56:39 AM PDT by mmanager (This Country is facing a 3/2 pitch count and we have a Muslim in the batters box.)
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To: a fool in paradise

All true. So why are we talking about what THEY want us to talk about? We’re not going to do anything about it, like counter protest where Phelps live.


15 posted on 10/06/2010 11:57:17 AM PDT by donna (This is the age of Republican-Feminism. We "feel right”!)
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To: Smittie

Anyone using God as a reason to insult or harass another person will have a particularly difficult judgment.


16 posted on 10/06/2010 11:58:57 AM PDT by pennyfarmer (Even a RINO will chew its foot off when caught in a trap.)
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To: Bigh4u2
You're trying to put me in a position where I'm supposed to defend Phelps and crew...and that's not going to work. I will however, defend the first amendment. Suppose hypothetically that Lon Horiuchi got killed and the media was hailing him as a hero. The family of Randy Weaver and the Waco Survivors wanted to demonstrate at his funeral against both Horiuchi personally and the practices of the FBI and ATF.

Would you say they had no right to do so, provided they were not on private property, were not obstructing traffic, etc.?

17 posted on 10/06/2010 12:04:57 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: donna

Out him as a Democrat and anti-American activist first. Stop letting the media describe him as a “minister”. He’s as big a fraud as the Reverend Al Sharpton.

If we have to endure hearing that every jihadist is “NOT a follower of Islam” then I can denounce these hucksters as something other than Christian (and that goes for Barack Obama as well).


18 posted on 10/06/2010 12:09:00 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Ask yourself,where does Saudi Arabia fit on a scale of "passive" to "moderate" to "extremist" Islam?)
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To: pennyfarmer

Exodus 20:7


19 posted on 10/06/2010 12:35:15 PM PDT by wayne_b24 (every day in the Light is a good day ... John 8:12 & 14:6; Psalm 119:105; Joshua 24:15)
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To: Kaslin

Bump


20 posted on 10/06/2010 12:36:52 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Anyone who says we need illegals to do the jobs Americans won't do has never watched "Dirty Jobs.")
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To: Joe 6-pack

I’m not putting you in the position of defending anyone.

The First Amendment only applies to censorship BY THE GOVERNMENT.

You have no ‘Free Speech’ rights when your speech is against another citizen.

“Suppose hypothetically that Lon Horiuchi got killed and the media was hailing him as a hero. The family of Randy Weaver and the Waco Survivors wanted to demonstrate at his funeral against both Horiuchi personally and the practices of the FBI and ATF.”

You are using a hypothetical that does not exist.

IF the protest was against the Government or any of it’s agencies, then yes, the ‘Free Speech’ protection of the First Amendment applies.

If, however, you are protesting a ‘private citizen’ that has no ties with the government and are deliberately ‘slandering’ them with lies, then no, you don’t have First Amendment protections and there are laws and courts that can and will be used to directly address those issues.

The First Amendment does NOT say ‘The citizens shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’

It says ‘Congress’. In other words the ‘Government’.


21 posted on 10/06/2010 12:47:16 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Kaslin

The left tries to frame Fred Phelps as a fundemental Christian, but the truth is, this guy ran for Governor of Kansas 3 times...as a DEMOCRAT.


22 posted on 10/06/2010 12:49:34 PM PDT by highlander_UW (Education is too important to abdicate control of it to the government)
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To: Joe 6-pack
I'm not trying to attack, just raise debate. Would I have the first amendment right to come to your home, knock on the door, and scream slogans at you, then when you slam the door in my face, knock again and again to repeat the process over and over?

What about at your work? Or on the street? What if I did it on the street, but only spoke to each person once, but did so to everyone in a loud and offensive manner?

What if I stood on the sidewalk on a public street, outside a synagogue and held posters saying Jews should burn? What if I was with several people and we chanted so loud it could be heard over the music of the cantor inside?

Is there no point where the practical application of the first amendment collides with the thoericial ideal?

23 posted on 10/06/2010 1:24:19 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: Bigh4u2
"The First Amendment only applies to censorship BY THE GOVERNMENT. You have no ‘Free Speech’ rights when your speech is against another citizen."

Wrong. You can speak against another citizen all you want, provided it's not slanderous or libelous. Happens all the time right here on FR.

"You are using a hypothetical that does not exist."

ROTFLMAO...dude...that's the definition of "hypothetical." Did you look that up or figure it out all by yourself?

As I understand it, the Phelps folks are arguing that their protests at soldier funerals are precisely because they were employees/agents of the government (i.e. military); they are claiming the deaths are the results of the government's embrace of homosexuals. That's tantamount to my hypothetical protest/demonstration at a Horiuchi funeral...a private individual who is known for his role as a government employee. I think it would be tasteless, but alas, the First Amendment protects things we may find unsavory.

Again, not to defend Phelps & Co., but what lies have they told about the deceased? "God hates you"? Can you prove otherwise? To my knowledge, based on the photos of their freak show that I've seen, all of their statements/signs have been general enough to avoid any classification as slander/libel against any individual...if they crossed that line, I'm sure somebody would have pursued that line against them by now. Furthermore, to my knowledge, they've been pretty careful about not trespassing on private property, obstructing traffic, obtaining all the locally required permits, etc. You and I may not care one bit for their disgraceful behavior, but it seems to me they are well within their rights to demonstrate as they have.

24 posted on 10/06/2010 1:43:57 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: SoCal Pubbie
"I'm not trying to attack, just raise debate. Would I have the first amendment right to come to your home, knock on the door, and scream slogans at you, then when you slam the door in my face, knock again and again to repeat the process over and over?"

I would argue that, provided my property was not posted "no trespassing" (and even if it was under some circumstances) you would have the right to do that once...just like a door to door salesman, Jehovah’s Witness, somebody soliciting signatures for a petition, or somebody who was lost and asking for directions, etc. After you've been asked to leave once, you're trespassing. To my knowledge the Phelps crew has gone out of their way to secure the correct permits, and avoid trespassing on private property during their little shows.

"What about at your work?

Again, the private property matter comes into play. It's a trespassing issue, not a free speech issue.

Or on the street?

As long as you're not obstructing traffic or creating a disturbance, you have that right. Usually, the "creating a disturbance" charge is preempted by securing a permit, which, to my understanding, the Phelps' have done.

"What if I did it on the street, but only spoke to each person once, but did so to everyone in a loud and offensive manner?"

What if the people entering and exiting an abortion clinic said the protestors there were praying in a loud and offensive manner? Should we strike down their rights as well?

"Is there no point where the practical application of the first amendment collides with the thoericial ideal?"

Well, IMHO, it goes back to public and private virtue and freedom and liberty being coupled with personal responsibility. Certainly, we can always go back to rights being limited when they impose on the rights of others. FWIW, I would love to see the Phelps's hammered with slander and libel suits...to my knowledge they've not yet crossed that line. I would love to see the Phelps's hammered with trespassing, public nuisance, obstruction of traffic, littering violations and burnt out tail lights everywhere they went...to my knowledge, they've been very careful not to cross any of those lines. They have every right to stand along the roadside and express their feelings as do the people who are standing along the roadside in support of the fallen service members and their families. Put it this way...if the Phelps's were there in support of the families, holding signs, and crying and wailing in grief, would anybody question their right to do so? What if they were demonstrating against the radical muslims responsible for the soldier’s death? The fact that people object to them is based solely on their (admittedly repugnant) message, and their message alone…and to start saying that some messages are allowable, while others are not is treading on dangerous territory.

25 posted on 10/06/2010 2:20:55 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Kaslin

BTTT


26 posted on 10/06/2010 2:49:16 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Kaslin
DC Chapter countering WBC's vile message at Arlington Cemetery on Tuesday.
27 posted on 10/06/2010 5:02:49 PM PDT by trooprally (Never Give Up - Never Give In - Remember Our Troops)
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To: Kaslin
DC Chapter and others countering WBC's vile message at Arlington Cemetery on Tuesday. Our small group received a lot of waves, thumbs up, and hand shakes from passer-bys.


28 posted on 10/06/2010 5:13:51 PM PDT by trooprally (Never Give Up - Never Give In - Remember Our Troops)
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To: a fool in paradise

Just because we have free speech doesn’t mean you can say what you want. The way I see it, before someone opens his or her mouth to say something, it is best to engage the brain, What you say can have consequences. One needs only to remember that shouting fire in a crowded theater can get you in big trouble


29 posted on 10/06/2010 5:40:21 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Setting aside the examples I offered for a moment, it appears on review that this case is not a first amendment issue at all. No one tried to stop Phelps from exercising his rights to speech, and as others have pointed out there was no action at all by any government at any level. Rather, we have one individual suing another for damage based on invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Based on the fact that that Phelps not only sought out the family from a 1,000 miles away but also specifically named the deceased soldier in a poem that was published online, titled “The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder,” in which Phelps wrote that his parents, “raised him for the devil” I would say this fits the bill. Snyder’s father suffered not only mental anguish but physical damage as well, having vomited upon reading the garage Phelps wrote. This is stalking, harassment, and abuse, pure and simple. The review court misapplied the first amendment, IMHO.


30 posted on 10/06/2010 7:35:33 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: SoCal Pubbie
"...it appears on review that this case is not a first amendment issue at all."

It is and it isn't, and I'll certainly be interested in seeing what the supremes rule on it. Certainly the Phelps's have always skirted the edges on a number of issues, and we'll see if the supremes opine whether or not they crossed the line.

In any case, I can almostly certainly guarantee that any ruling against the WBC will set a precedent that will be used against the right by Holder before Obama's first term is over.

31 posted on 10/06/2010 8:03:19 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: my3centseuro

Agreed first and foremost...free speech for all or free speech for no one. Their tactics make me vomit. Disgusting. EXCEPT nothing prohibits the pastors speech elsewhere. Scalia referred to a protective cone near abortion clinics, iirc. That should the common ground.


32 posted on 10/06/2010 9:51:41 PM PDT by chiller ( EVERY Democrat on EVERY level must go)
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To: Kaslin

I don’t believe this is a freedom of speech issue at all, it’s a freedom to assemble issue. Nobody is saying that the snake Phelps can’t spew his vile opinions, he just can’t directly target a family’s funeral to do so. He can exercise his freedom of speech “x” number of feet away from funeral gatherings because they other family has a right to be there and not be verbally assaulted.

As I said, it’s more a conflict of freedom of assembling - Phelps has a freedom to assemble, but so does the family, and both groups can’t occupy the same square footage of land at the same time. The funeral is a private individual’s one-time ceremony and that should take precedence over the Phelps’ clan demand to occupy the same area and vomit their hatred.... they can even do so at the same exact time, just at one of a million different other public locations.


33 posted on 10/06/2010 11:11:13 PM PDT by Tamzee (OBAMA ---- ALL SHAM, NO WOW)
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To: Joe 6-pack
'You can speak against another citizen all you want, provided it's not slanderous or libelous.'

Which is exactly what I said. But you chose to excerpt my comments by quoting only part of what my post was about to try to make your point.

"If, however, you are protesting a ‘private citizen’ that has no ties with the government and are deliberately ‘slandering’ them with lies, then no, you don’t have First Amendment protections and there are laws and courts that can and will be used to directly address those issues."

'but what lies have they told about the deceased?'

Reading is fundamental.

From the article:

"They followed their protest by publishing a poem on the Internet entitled "The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder," which stated that Matthew's parents "taught Matthew to defy his creator" and "raised him for the devil."

So you don't find this libelous or slanderous?

What proof do they have of these statements? Which are not only against Matthews parents, but Matthew himself.

None!

And once a soldier dies he not longer 'works for the government'. Any protests against him or his death are now against 'private' citizens.

Does Matthews parents work for the government too?

If they are protesting against government policies then why aren't they down at the nearest recruiting office or standing in front of the Whitehouse?

"You and I may not care one bit for their disgraceful behavior, but it seems to me they are well within their rights to demonstrate as they have."

Sorry, but this is not protected speech, no matter how you want to spin it.

It is libelous and slanderous against private citizens and can and is being dealt with in the courts, which is exactly what this case is about.

Just because they are issued permits, doesn't make them right or give them any protections under the Constitution.


34 posted on 10/07/2010 2:48:16 AM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Bigh4u2
Well, it will be interesting to see how the Supremes rule. As I noted elsewhere, if the ruling goes against the WBC, you will see the precedent used against the right before Holder and Obama leave Washington. Whether it's pro-life activists outside an abortion clinic, a tea party demonstration, talk radio, or Free Republic, it will be applied against some of us.
35 posted on 10/07/2010 4:48:50 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Here is how I would like to see the SCOTUS come down on this issue:

1. Private groups have the right to assemble to protest but as far as personal funerals are concerned they may not intrude on the cemetary grounds while the service is being conducted. Any such group may protest off cemetary grounds during funeral services in order to respect the dead and the family of the deceased.


36 posted on 10/07/2010 6:59:41 AM PDT by Ev Reeman
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