Thursday, April 1, 2010

Court Ruling Against Marine Family is a Travesty of Justice

I totally agree with John Ellsworth regarding the judgement against the Snyder family in favor of the self-proclaimed Westboro Baptist Church

In my opinion the federal appeals court is out of their mind. How in the world can you say that what this church is doing is freedom of speech when it is so clearly defamation of character? They are not expressing opinion as much as they are insulting and characterizing to deliberately hurt and incite. They are deliberately twisting their first amendment rights to insult people and the judgement of the court is allowing them to profit from it. 

These people (led by their self-proclaimed prophet Fred Phelps) created a "church." This congregation of  less than 100, and over 80% being family members, decided to create their own form of religion. That is their right. They decided to proclaim themselves as Baptists. Again, they have that right. They want to proclaim their message. Okay, that's fine as well. Yet for some reason instead of just taking their message to the airways, using the newspapers to post ads and editorials, or going door to door to hand out pamphlets they have decided that attending funerals with degrading signs regarding the dead is most appropriate. Of course, what can you expect from people who's religious website is called  It becomes obvious that they are a group of people that find life value in hate. They are raising children to believe in hate as a form of redemption. They use their children in their demonstrations and drag them around the country to places that have had tragedies, such as the shooting at Virginia Tech, to revel in the loss of lives and the misery of the families. 

I spent yesterday watching videos of the self-proclaimed prophet, his daughter, and his grand children as they happily spoke about how God hates America, God hates the world, and how we are all destined to "eat our babies." I find them to be intolerant fanatics who manage to twist the Bible. 

First, a funeral is not a place where people should be allowed to picket. It is not an appropriate place to hold demonstrations. Families have lost loved ones and are mourning. It takes people of the lowest of the low moral rating to use this as a vantage point to spout their opinions. It's like walking into a mass or church service and deciding to start yelling out obscenities because you don't agree with the religion. Funerals are quiet sacred times for families to say goodbye. They are not public or political events. 

Secondly, erroneously accusing a young soldier of being a "fag" because he serves in the military to protect his country and calling him names is not an example of free speech. Degrading his family for his upbringing is not an example of free speech. These are examples of defaming. The family is a victim of defamation of character as defined: "Defamation or "defamation of character" is spoken or written words that falsely and negatively reflect on a living person's reputation." The young hero in question was publicly slandered as were his parents. 

Third, this group continued to slander and defame our country, our heroes, our families, our people. They do this with the idea that it's okay because they are protected by the first amendment right of free speech. Did the federal court forget that this right is not absolute in any country in the world? It usually does not encompass the concept of "hate speech."  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights even recognizes that it is more a freedom of expression and the right to harbor any thoughts. No where does it say that you should indiscriminately be allowed to harass, defame, or incite hate. 

And then there is the fact that this group of people hates America and people in general. Do they really have the right to use a constitution they don't believe in to help them gain momentum to preach hatred and intolerance? It would have been one thing to reverse the original judgement that the family won and reduce their payment or say they do not receive damages from the church. It's an entirely different thing to make them pay over $16,000 to the church for taking them to court. The church put themselves in the spotlight and opened themselves up to a lawsuit. Let them assume their own responsibilities for their actions.

This link will take you to the page that tells the story of a brave young man whose family has gone through hell because of what I believe is a false, irreverent, and intolerant religious sect. Take some time and help show that Americans stand by our soldiers. We do not tolerate hate and injustice. We love all people regardless of their sexual orientations, religious beliefs, or color. Plus, most all of us have a God or Goddess or Prophet filled with love, understanding, and tolerance. We know we were not made perfect, but we also know that our imperfections make us able to grow and learn.

My condolences go out to this young marine's family. My thanks go to him for the ultimate sacrifice he made for me and my country. Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder is a hero and it is my ultimate hope that his family will no longer be victimized by misguided zealots.

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