March 2, 2011 |
The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a church has the legal right to stage anti-gay protests at U.S. military funerals to promote its claim that God is angry at America for its tolerance of homosexuality. In a case pitting free-speech versus privacy rights, the nation's high court held that the protest messages and picketing at a private funeral were protected by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. The court's 8-1 ruling was a defeat for Albert Snyder, the father of a Marine killed in Iraq in 2006.
January 13, 2011 |
An extremist church has agreed not to protest outside the funerals of Christina Taylor Green and Judge John M. Roll in exchange for airtime on two radio stations. Margie Phelps, a lawyer for the Westboro Baptist Church, said the decision was not based on outside pressure but rather on how much publicity the church could receive. "It's how many ears we can reach," she said. "That is our job, that is our goal. " The Kansas congregation is known for demonstrating at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, arguing that their deaths are retribution by God for America's acceptance of homosexuality.
January 12, 2011 |
As Tucson scrambled to prepare for President Obama's scheduled appearance at a memorial service for the victims of the weekend's mass shooting, the parents of the alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, offered their first public statement Tuesday, insisting that the attack left them as perplexed as anyone else. From the home they shared with their son in a working-class neighborhood, Randy and Amy Loughner released a statement calling it "a very difficult time" and speaking of their deep sorrow.
January 11, 2011 |
Arizona lawmakers moved quickly Tuesday to try to block protesters from the funeral of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Green, passing an emergency measure prohibiting protests within 300 feet of any funeral services. In addition to the new law, hundreds of Tucson residents were making contingency plans to try to protect the family of the girl who was slain in Saturday's rampage. The actions were prompted by the Westboro Baptist Church, a publicity-seeking Kansas congregation known for demonstrating at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, arguing that their deaths are retribution by God for America's acceptance of homosexuality.
October 6, 2010 |
If the cliched legal admonition that hard cases make bad law is true, then no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court decides Snyder vs. Phelps, the result will be wretched. The Phelps in this instance are Fred Phelps and two of his daughters, both members of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church their father founded and still directs. It is a tiny, vilely cultish congregation consisting almost entirely of the elder Phelps' extended family and espousing virulent hatred of gays and lesbians, Catholics, Jews, the U.S. government ?
October 6, 2010
The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that sorely tests the principle, articulated by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. nearly a century ago, that "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe. " The case involves the Westboro Baptist Church, a deranged anti-gay religious group that routinely shows up at the funerals of American soldiers to express its bizarre belief that U.S. combat deaths are divine retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality.
October 4, 2010 |
More than 500 mourners walked quietly through rows of flags and into a white chapel on a recent Saturday afternoon to honor a dead soldier. Army Lt. Todd Weaver was remembered as a scholar, athlete and born leader. He served in Iraq after high school, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary two years ago and was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Sept. 9. He left behind a wife and a 1-year-old daughter. But before entering the church parking lot, the mourners drove past an unusual demonstration.
March 13, 2010
The word "vile" is inadequate to describe what members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a fringe group obsessed with homosexuality, did on the day of the memorial service for Marine Lance Corp. Matthew A. Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. The question for the Supreme Court is whether their despicable conduct is protected by the 1st Amendment -- and the answer is yes. That day, Westboro's pastor, Fred Phelps, and six relatives staged a protest near the church where services were held, though they remained at a distance.
September 25, 2009 |
A federal appeals court has tossed out a $5-million verdict against protesters who carried signs with inflammatory messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" outside the Maryland funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the signs contained "imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric" protected by the 1st Amendment. A jury in Baltimore had awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The 2006 funeral of Snyder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in Westminster, Md., was among many military funerals that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2009 |
A Kansas-based church known for celebrating at the funerals of American soldiers killed in combat plans to protest today at Fairfax Senior High School because the student body elected a gay male teen as its prom queen. Westboro Baptist Church, which has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, says it plans to picket at the school between 12:15 and 1 p.m. Church members also will demonstrate outside a Jewish temple, community center and the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in Los Angeles.