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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, October 19, 2007

From The So-Called Christians On A Rocketsled Straight To Hell Department:

The cretinous Wretches of Westboro continue their crusade to give baptism a bad name...

The Wichita Eagle: Defamation claim dismissed against Westboro Baptist

The first individual lawsuit brought against Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church for its protests at military funeral ceremonies will go to trial next week in Baltimore.

A father claims protesters from the Kansas-based anti-gay group destroyed his only chance to bury in peace the son he lost in Iraq. The picketers, who had carried signs with messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers," countered that they were only trying to oppose gays in the military.

After the two sides presented legal arguments in a Baltimore courtroom Monday, a federal judge offered a split decision, ruling that a more limited lawsuit brought by Albert Snyder, the father of the slain Marine targeted by Phelps' church, can proceed to trial next week.

At times incensed over what he described as long-winded theological speeches given by a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett nonetheless dismissed two of the five counts against the church and three of its leaders, saying in part that their statements, no matter how incendiary, amounted to protected speech.

Comments posted on the church's Web site that Snyder raised his son "for the devil" and taught his son how to "defy his Creator, to divorce and to commit adultery" did not defame the father because it was "not the kind of information that a reasonable person is going to assume was presented to be considered fact," Bennett said.

In granting part of the defendants' motion for summary judgment, Bennett found that church members did not defame Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder or his family by implying that he was gay or raised by adulterers because his parents divorced. Nor did the church members invade the family's privacy, the judge ruled, because their anti-gay and anti-divorce accusations were based on an general expression of the church members' fundamentalist beliefs.

At the civil trial set to begin Monday in federal court, the jury will be able consider whether Westboro Baptist Church is liable for an intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the message from its members' signs, Bennett said. The judge also will allow jurors to rule whether the Snyder family's expectation of privacy at their son's funeral was violated by the protest outside St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster.

The complaint filed in June 2006 does not seek a specific amount of damages. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

After only a month in Iraq, Matthew Snyder, 20, died in March 2006 from a vehicle accident in al-Anbar province. He served with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Albert Snyder filed the suit because he wanted to deter a group that has staged similar demonstrations more than 30,000 times, according to his attorneys.

One of the defendants, Shirley Phelps-Roper, is an attorney and church member whose father, Fred Phelps, helped establish Westboro in 1955. Representing herself in court Monday, she insisted that church members did not target the Snyder family personally.

"This is a religious opinion that was based on the words of the Lord Jesus Christ," she told the judge during the four-hour hearing.

HA!

The church's protests have prompted 22 states to enact or propose laws to limit the rights of protesters at funerals. Last year, a Maryland bill was signed into law that prohibits people from picketing within 100 feet of a funeral, memorial, burial or procession.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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