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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

This should be interesting.

Phelps VS Snyder (click here)

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After Matthew Snyder, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Anbar province in Iraq in 2006, some uninvited guests showed up at his funeral at St. John's Catholic Church in Westminster, Md. The Rev. Fred W. Phelps Sr. of the Westboro Baptist Church and several family members came from Kansas holding signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," #### Hates Fags" and "You're Going to Hell."

There is no question it was hateful stuff. Phelps' self-styled church preaches that God is punishing America because of its tolerance for homosexuality, especially in the military. The Phelps family makes its point by holding protests at military funerals. The Phelpses also posted an "epic poem" online entitled "The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder," which, among other things, says to his parents, "you raised him for the devil." (See "Should Bigoted Speech Be Free? A Debate in Britain.")

Snyder's father, Albert Snyder, sued. He said that the protests, at the funeral of his only son, made him violently ill. He prevailed on his claims of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress and won a large damage award, but that ruling was reversed on appeal.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 05:24 AM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

There's a difference between free speech, and flat out harassment. Phelps and his church are, in my opinion, guilty of harassment by following soldier's funerals around the country. I only hope the Supreme Court can see the distinction.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 05:43 AM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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There's a difference between free speech, and flat out harassment. Phelps and his church are, in my opinion, guilty of harassment by following soldier's funerals around the country. I only hope the Supreme Court can see the distinction.
Well said Curtis. I really can't stand these guys. With that being said, this is dangerous ground. It is important that the SCOTUS doesn't set a precedent for censorship or denial of freedom of speech.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 05:55 AM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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Well said Curtis. I really can't stand these guys. With that being said, this is dangerous ground. It is important that the SCOTUS doesn't set a precedent for censorship or denial of freedom of speech.
True.

I look at it this way. A group cannot just walk into your home and protest, raise hell, whatever. Even though they have a right to say what they want to say, they don't have a right to invade privacy and say it. That reverts to harassment. Likewise, a funeral is one of the most sacred and private family times, and that privacy needs to be protected.

At this point, I think a person's right to privacy and right to be free from harassment trumps this group's tactics.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 11:06 AM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

This is really touchy. I too hope that free speech is not trampled on. But free speech is not meant to be anything, anywhere.


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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:14 PM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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Originally Posted by Pocket View Post
There's a difference between free speech, and flat out harassment. Phelps and his church are, in my opinion, guilty of harassment by following soldier's funerals around the country. I only hope the Supreme Court can see the distinction.
you and me both

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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Originally Posted by Pocket View Post
True.

I look at it this way. A group cannot just walk into your home and protest, raise hell, whatever. Even though they have a right to say what they want to say, they don't have a right to invade privacy and say it. That reverts to harassment. Likewise, a funeral is one of the most sacred and private family times, and that privacy needs to be protected.

At this point, I think a person's right to privacy and right to be free from harassment trumps this group's tactics.
I agree.



Correct me if I'm wrong though, don't these people usually stand across/down the street from the funerals? Can that really be considered 'invading privacy?'

In which case, I wonder if SCOTUS will rule on what is an appropriate distance to ensure the right to privacy? Or maybe pull an 'obscenity' type ruling and leave it up to each community?

I think it will be a very interesting and long reaching ruling.

I just hope they don't go too far, in trying to provide relief for families that deserve it.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:39 PM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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Originally Posted by AK Gandy View Post
I agree.



Correct me if I'm wrong though, don't these people usually stand across/down the street from the funerals? Can that really be considered 'invading privacy?'

In which case, I wonder if SCOTUS will rule on what is an appropriate distance to ensure the right to privacy? Or maybe pull an 'obscenity' type ruling and leave it up to each community?

I think it will be a very interesting and long reaching ruling.

I just hope they don't go too far, in trying to provide relief for families that deserve it.

.
I also agree with you Curtis. There is a fine line between Freedom of Speech, which I support, and harrasement.

Also Gandy, I will do some searching to see if I can find the one they protested here in my town and see where they were placed. I did not know the soldier, but a friend of mine who is in the military was in Iraq with the soldier that died and knew him and he attended the funeral. I do believe a few media outlets were there so I will try and see if I can find a link with some pictures as to where they were standing/protesting.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:44 PM
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

I did just find this: Federal judge rules Mo. limits on funeral protests unconstitutional

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hate Speech Case In Front Of The Supreme's

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Originally Posted by dieselsmoke0204 View Post
Good job....thanks!

I noticed in the article that the ACLU broguht up these points.

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ACLU attorney Tony Rothert said Monday that Missouri's restrictions established too large a zone in public areas where speech was restricted and made even nondisruptive speech illegal.

"Just not liking speech isn't enough reason," Rothert said.

Rothert added that the ban was aimed at the Kansas church but could have affected others. For example, he said, it could have made it illegal to picket anywhere a funeral procession happened to pass.
I think (hope) when their ruling comes out, SCOTUS will address what can and cannot be regulated.............. as to the distance away from a funeral.

That would also apply to any group/gathering.


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