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The Crazy Phelps Klan! [Nov. 2nd, 2007|01:19 am]
[Current Location |About to go to bed!]
[mood |sleepysleepy]
[music |Silence!]

Members of a fundamentalist Kansas church ordered to pay nearly $11 million in damages to a grieving father smiled as they walked out of the courtroom, vowing that the verdict would not deter them from protesting at military funerals.
Members promised to picket future funerals with placards bearing such slogans as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."
"Absolutely, don't you understand this was an act in futility?" said Shirley Phelps-Roper, whose father founded the Westboro Baptist Church.
The group believes that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. They say they are entitled to protest at funerals under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.
Albert Snyder sued the Topeka, Kan., church after a protest last year at the funeral of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. He claimed the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony and sullied his memory of the event.
A jury agreed. On Wednesday, the church and three of its leaders _ Fred Phelps and his two daughters, Phelps-Roper and Rebekah Phelps-Davis _ were found liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress. Jurors awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages.
Snyder, of York, Pa., said he hoped other families would consider suing.
"The goal wasn't about the money, it was to set a precedent so other people could do the same thing," he said.
Appearing on NBC's "Today" show Thursday, Sndyer said that while his son was fighting for freedom for Iraqis, "my son did not fight for hate speech.
"And that's basically what it is," he said of the church's protest. "Everybody's under the impression that the First Amendment gives them the right to do anything, say anything any where, any time. And along with the First Amendment also comes responsibility."
Snyder said that on the day of the funeral, he didn't see the protesters or their signs, only the tops of the signs. "But a lot of people at the church did see it," he said. "And it was splattered all over the newspapers the next day."
It's unclear whether Snyder will be able to collect the damages.
The assets of the church and the defendants are less than a million dollars, mainly in homes, cars and retirement accounts, defense attorney Jonathan Katz said. The church has about 75 members and is funded by tithing.
Craig Trebilcock, one of Snyder's lawyers, had asked jurors to question the truthfulness of the defendants' financial documents, one of which show Phelps-Davis having only $306 in the bank. He noted that Phelps-Davis is a practicing attorney, who could afford to travel to spread the church's message.
"Rebekah Phelps-Davis has $306? She must be using Priceline.com. It doesn't make any sense," Trebilcock said.
The attorney had urged jurors to award damages that would send a message to the church: "Do not bring your circus of hate to Maryland again."
Trebilcock later called the verdict "Judgment Day for the Westboro Baptist Church."
"They're always talking about other people's Judgment Day. Well, this is theirs," he said.
Snyder sobbed when he heard the verdict, while members of the church greeted the news with tightlipped smiles.
They are confident the award will be overturned on appeal, Phelps said.
"Oh, it will take about five minutes to get that thing reversed," he said.
Another of Snyder's attorneys, Sean Summers, said he would tirelessly seek payment of the award. "We will chase them forever if it takes that long," he said.
A number of states have passed laws regarding funeral protests, and Congress has passed a law prohibiting such protests at federal cemeteries. Snyder's lawsuit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press


Yeah, that rocks my world. :) About time those dickheads start having to pay out for their vile-ness. Funerals are sacred. I think it's disgusting to picket at a funeral.. ever, really. But especially this kind of picketing.. just... that's something I will not abide.

Your feelings?

And... an insane driver youtube up there... I may have nightmares. He caught me off guard. lol

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[User Picture]From: cherrydust
2007-11-02 06:24 am (UTC)
That was really messed up of them! If they had something to say ther polite thing to do would be write a letter to the editor of their local paper explaining why they opposed the funerals. Not making that time even more difficult for those who lost loved ones.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 06:26 am (UTC)
Exactly. They're all about the press though. These are the same people that went to Matthew Shepard's funeral *He was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, because he was gay. A total hate crime. Awful, deplorable and senseless.

They picketed his funeral with signs saying that Mathew was burning in hell, and they have a counter on their website for how many days he's been burning in hell.

They make me sick.
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From: pixiepancake
2007-11-02 06:30 am (UTC)
i have seen a BBC special on those people. if i ever saw them, i would shoot them dead.

i have no tolerance for dumbshits who manipulate children.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 06:31 am (UTC)
I wouldn't shoot them dead, but I may spit on them. :)
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[User Picture]From: wafflelips
2007-11-02 06:48 am (UTC)
The irony would be if Phelps manages to unite LGBT folks and military folks in a united front to put his hateful shit to rest. Not that there are not LGBT folks who are military...but the uniting of a cause to stop his hateful bs would be new....
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 06:50 am (UTC)
It would. I think it's all ready started.

Even Fox News hates this SOB.
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[User Picture]From: mystik00769
2007-11-02 06:54 am (UTC)
If I remember my government learnings well enough (which I may not), I was always under the impression that people were given rights under the the constitution to peaceably assemble and to have freedom of speech, as long as it did not trample on the rights of others.

Personal opinion on these people aside *cough*they.should.all.die.and.go.to.hell*cough*, I believe they're those of the mindset that the constitution protects them from everything, and they therefore have the right to do this stuff. I'm glad to see they court agreed. I remember how sick I felt when I first heard this story. :/
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[User Picture]From: mystik00769
2007-11-02 06:54 am (UTC)
er....fucked HTML. sorry. ;)
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[User Picture]From: carinastarr
2007-11-02 07:15 am (UTC)
yeah thats right below the belt that is, there is a time and a place for everything.

now that video...it did my head in but the best part of it was, the *bottom horn honking* now that was funny.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:04 pm (UTC)
LOL, the butt honking was pretty awesome.
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[User Picture]From: everette1_
2007-11-02 07:15 am (UTC)
I was just telling L., if you can't get them through their conscience, get them through their wallet.

If Phelps could do it, he'd probably crawl into a coffin to get face-to-face with a corpse.
Sorry about that.

Bless you for the awareness.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:05 pm (UTC)
He's a dick. I hope he suffers a little for this. :)
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[User Picture]From: jehannamama
2007-11-02 07:31 am (UTC)
I hope they make them pay.... I really do. They could garnish wages and income on all participants, I guess? That was so disgusting and just evil.
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[User Picture]From: moochies18
2007-11-02 09:27 am (UTC)
they really should. something like this, they really need to be made an example of. destroy these loons financialy.
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[User Picture]From: koupob
2007-11-02 07:33 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. These people are insane, and it's disgusting that they should feel the need to protest something political at a funeral, much less the ridiculous message they were presenting.

I am a Christian, and it frustrates to no end that there are nut jobs like these lumped into the same category as me, when they are so completely off-base from what the Bible actually says, regardless of how you feel like interpreting it.


Hopefully this will bankrupt them. Then they can't afford posterboard anymore. ;)

Seriously, though, who makes it the focus of their entire church congregation to tell the world that the reason people die in a war is because "God hates f*****s." Give me a freaking break. That doesn't even make sense!

I better stop before I really get going.

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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:07 pm (UTC)
No, I agree with you 100%!!! Sounds like we're definitely coming from the same place on this issue.
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[User Picture]From: moochies18
2007-11-02 09:26 am (UTC)
it just makes me sad that there are such hateful people out there.
sometimes i am just so shocked by other peoples agression twoards eachother for such needless causes. these crack pots are out there making sure everyone is as afraid as whatever they feel is right and true.
i mean.... i've seen a lot and done a lot of terrible things, but things like this just leave me pretty speechless. i just don't understand why you would do something like this to people at a time like this. it's just terrible twoards fellow man. isn't that in their bible somewhere? i'm pretty sure it is....
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's horrific, isn't it? Upsets me so much. Seriously, if someone had done that at the funeral of someone I love I might have taken a flamethrower to them.
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[User Picture]From: sixstringcat
2007-11-02 12:07 pm (UTC)
I hate those people. Yes, they have a right to protest...but at a funeral?!
It's just tacky, to the power of infinity.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:27 pm (UTC)
Exactly. And fucking wrong.
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[User Picture]From: fengi
2007-11-02 12:57 pm (UTC)

No special exemption for funerals.

Sigh, the Bush era is making people welcome the trampling of their rights.

It makes two dangerous arguements: If you can't get the law to silence someone - and Phelps was obeying the law in this case - then sue the speaker for "causing emotional distress". The lawsuit argues there's a "right to privacy" for a public event OUTSIDE the venue where that event is taking place.

There are laws being passed which provide exemptions from the 1st amendment for funerals. Except what if it were the funeral of someone who committed war atrocities? Or what if people were protesting the manner in which the person who died was killed.

Technically, the new laws make anti-violence rallies at the funerals of shooting victims illegal. Though you'll never see it enforced that way.

Next time the lawsuit might be against animal rights protesters for "causing distress" for attendees of a "private" fashion show. Or maybe globalization protesters at be a private meeting of bankers. There's no telling where you can go with this.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:31 pm (UTC)

Re: No special exemption for funerals.

I do think that any form of protest at a funeral should be outlawed. I don't care what that person did, their family should be able to grieve at their funeral in peace. There are plenty of other places to protest. Lord knows I've been involved in my fair share of protests. But never, EVER should someone protest a funeral, in my opinion. There are plenty of other venues that will make a mark. Funerals are scare-tactics, and I'm surprised they havent' gotten themselves murdered yet. I would definitely cause someone physical harm if they came to the funeral of someone I love and said they were burning in hell.
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[User Picture]From: marguerlucy
2007-11-02 01:24 pm (UTC)
Phelps = f*%#ing wackjob. Unfortunately his face is linked with that of this local actor who played him in The Laramie Project. The costumer, a delightful homosexual, had to grit his teeth while he made a "God Hates F@gs" teeshirt for the character! blech.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:32 pm (UTC)
*nod* Yikes! That's a great play though.
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[User Picture]From: frontdoorangel
2007-11-02 01:52 pm (UTC)
I hope they find a way to suck them completely dry. The bastards.

The only thing that would have been more pleasing about the verdict would have been if it was a criminal court and they got jail time. However, complete financial ruin, if it's possible, is ok too. I live just outside of Baltimore and one of the tv channels I used to watch in the morning for the news ran a commercial for "Rev" Phelps and his pathetic excuse for a church. I've stopped watching the channel since. What a joke.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:34 pm (UTC)
Seriously. Filthy. You should send a letter to the station.
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[User Picture]From: poop_on_a_stick
2007-11-02 02:06 pm (UTC)
I hope they take the houses, cars and retirment accounts. They should take it all along with the clothes off their back. They're awful, horrible people. It's physically painful to know that there're people like that out there.

I also think that when someone they love dies, everyone should go to that funeral and cause a scene.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:38 pm (UTC)
Exaaaactly. *nod*

I don't know about picketing their funerals though. They'd feel it anyway. But all the same I don't want to sink to their level.
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[User Picture]From: abbyanne
2007-11-02 03:22 pm (UTC)
You should read their website...
It makes me sorta wish something bad happens to them, And I NEVER do that.
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[User Picture]From: randomposting
2007-11-02 03:45 pm (UTC)
I have. *nod* I won't go there again, I don't want to lift their stats.
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