Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fred Phelps on Trial

Fred Phelps, leader of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, took the stand last week in a Baltimore, MD court. Albert Snyder, father of deceased Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, is suing the church for unspecified damages for turning his son's funeral into a "media circus" with the intent of hurting his family.

Questions focused on some of the ludicrous signs Phelps' churchgoers carry when the picket funerals--signs with statements like
  • Thank God for dead soldiers
  • United States of Sodomy
  • Semper Fi Fags
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett instructed jurors at the start of testimony Tuesday that the First Amendment protection of free speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. Bennett said the jurors must decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection."
Factoid: Fred Phelps is a himself a disbarred attorney.

I am quite interested to see what the jury decides in this case.

Hat tip: Bible Belt Blogger

1 comment:

Pomoprophet said...

I saw this a few days ago. There is nothing about Phelps that I like. I wish God would just take him away for all the harm he is doing. But I am torn on my thoughts of what the outcome of this trial should be. I am a pretty staunch supporter of the 1st Amendment.