Citizens Against Hate

…seeking a kinder and gentler world

JUDGMENT DAY FOR THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH

Posted by nicolen on November 1, 2007

phelps3.jpg

JUDGMENT DAY FOR WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH

“Absolutely, don’t you understand this was an act in futility?” replied Shirlery-Phelps Roper, daughter of the Founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, when asked if the group intended to continue picketing the funerals of dead soldiers.

Protesting funerals has become the Church’s way of garnering media attention in their fight against homosexuality. Blaming the deaths of our soldiers on the U.S. military’s policy of “don’t ask – don’t tell,” which allows gays in the military, they take to the funeral procession route and carry signs reading, “Thank God For Dead Soldiers,” and “God Hates You,” among others.

On October 31, a jury awarded the father of a fallen soldier almost $11 million. According to preliminary reports, the assets of the church, including property, homes, cars, bank accounts, etc. don’t even equal one million dollars.

Fred Phelps, founder of the Church indicated that the judgment will be appealed and told reporters, “…it will take about five minutes to get that thing reversed.”

While many are applauding the jury and the court, others are speculating on what this means as far as First Amendment Rights are concerned. Given the leniency that the courts have historically displayed on Freedom of Speech issues and the current climate regarding racial extremes which have been recently exhibited, it will be interesting to see how the scenario unfolds.

Should this matter be appealed, and the decision upheld, it would certainly set a precedent for others who have been threatened and intimidated by racists and bigots to utilize the judicial system for redress.

Could the victims, let’s say, of Hal Turner, racist radio talk show host, sue Mr. Turner for publishing their home addresses and calling for others to assassinate them, bring a similar suit against Mr. Turner?

Would municipalities have a cause of action against hate groups who threaten to bankrupt them unless their demands are met?

The picketing of funerals is beyond the pale. The messages displayed to grieving families and friends by this group of bigoted and hateful individuals cause great anguish to those already suffering. Fred Phelps and his cult are reprehensible beyond belief. All of this makes it very difficult to maintain one’s equilibrium and objectivity. Additionally, an appellate decision, one way or the other, will have far-reaching implications for the future.

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9 Responses to “JUDGMENT DAY FOR THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH”

  1. “Should this matter be appealed, and the decision upheld, it would certainly set a precedent for others who have been threatened and intimidated by racists and bigots to utilize the judicial system for redress.”

    Excuse me, but precisely how did Fred Phelps and his congregation threaten or intimidate anyone in any way? Trust me, had they done so, they certainly would have been tried and convicted of such and thrown in jail. As it was, Fred Phelps conducted peaceful legal protests in public places that were not in violation of any laws. Claiming otherwise is failing to take the beam out of your own eye before you take the mote out of Phelps’.

    In any event, it is curious to see that any Christian would see this as as some sort of victory. For instance, even though I am a fundamentalist Christian, I oppose the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, torture, etc. (Actually, it should be said that BECAUSE I am a fundamentalist Christian, I oppose those things … please note that Ron Paul, who opposes those things as well, is also a fundamentalist Christian, he just does not wear his faith on his sleeve because he believes in the separation of church and state.) So what keeps the state from using this precedent to hammer the liberal anti – war churches on the rationale that it causes emotional distress to the troops? Please recall that the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah had a death sentence imposed on him (though he was rescued) for doing precisely that. Other Old Testament prophets were killed for speaking out against social injustice. I say that today Fred Phelps, who makes a perfect “test case” for a government that really cares little for homosexuals or our soldiers but instead only wants to shut down dissent, but tomorrow the government will come after YOU. And when that happens, who will stand up for you when you did not stand up for the free speech rights of Fred Phelps? Please remember the words of the LIBERAL Christian Dietrich Bonhoffer during Nazi Germany. “When they came for the homosexuals, I said nothing because I was not homosexual. When they came for the communist, I said nothing because I was not communist. When they came for the gypsies, I said nothing because I was not a gypsy. When they came for the Jews, I said nothing because I was not a Jew. But when they came for me, there was no one left to speak up for me.” What makes you think that the state won’t come for you?

    http://healtheland.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/so-the-war-between-church-and-state-begins-with-fred-phelps/

  2. angelawd said

    Who knows where these ruling will lead, but I’m glad a message has been sent to people who deliver hate to poeple during the worst times in their lives.

  3. nicolen said

    healtheland – I did not mean to imply that Fred Phelps and his cult threatened or intimidated anyone, although on a second reading, I can understand your confusion. Additionally, I guess it could be said that Phelps’ group threatens the very fabric of our society with his bigotry and hate. Personally, I believe that all hate mongers are a threat.

    Furthermore…Ron Paul doesn’t “wear his faith on his sleeve,” because he is a politician and to do so might cost him valuable votes. Also, by every account that I have read he opposes the separation of church and state.

    I understand your concerns about this judgment on Phelps – you are among many who fear what this will mean in regards to Freedom of Speech. Yet the question still remains – where do we draw the line? When is enough really enough?

    Like angelawd…I am glad that, at the very least, a message has been sent. The American people take a dim view on Phelps and those like him. I don’t like ugly – and neither does God.

    As a Fundamentalist Christian – do you believe that the Reverend Phelps is a true representative of the Christian faith or an abomination?

  4. Shanan said

    Open season for hate crimes on Blacks, Jews, children, women… justified!

    In reality, the following is an exceptionally dangerous ruling by a New York Supreme Court judge, where no one is safe or protected under her ruling.

    Noose found on (Black) professor’s door at Columbia University? Swastikas? Death threats to Jews, children, women? What racism? What hate crimes?
    It’s legally justified!? Let’s get them!?.
    Please, pardon the language in this communiqué.

    The following explicit messages as expressed by coworkers to an employee at a workplace and conveyed by same (identified/recognizable voice) perpetrator to same employee’s answering machine at home were presented to New York Supreme Court as evidence. In what appears as a ruling of a first impression, a New York Supreme Court judge in an unprecedented move contrary to the rules of evidence while disregarding the lives at stake, has ruled that life threatening/racial statements containing explicit intent(s) to harm, rape, murder children and/or women, specifically of Jewish persuasion, conveyed at ones workplace and/or communicated to same ones home, cannot be introduced as evidence at trial before a jury for they are “inflammatory (and) prejudicial”. (Supreme Court of the State of New York – New York County Index No: 113786/03).This New York Supreme court ruling(s) and its implication(s) will among other issues, makes it all but impossible to prosecute hate crimes, and may be presented (by perpetrators) as a case law “rationalizing” hate crimes that include Nooses, Swastikas… and such.

    Messages conveyed by employees at workplace

    • “You fucking Jew! Go back to your country! Nobody wants you here. Everybody hates you”.
    • I hate Jewish people. And you know why? Because they are my bosses and they don’t pay me enough”.
    • “Slut Jew”.
    • “Robert stepped out. Only the Jewish bitch is here”.
    • “I’m holding myself from punching you! You fucking Jew”.
    • “Tell this Jewish bitch, we spit in her coffee everyday”.
    • “You’re dead meat”.
    • “We know were you live, fucking Jew!”.
    • “We know were your children are, we’re doing to get them”.

    Messages received at home answering machine

    • “Yeah, we know where you fucking live now, bitch. Watch it, you’re gonna fucking die, bitch. Yeah, keep fucking around, you fucking Jewish slut. Watch me fucking catch you. Ain’t gonna be no easy shit either. You gonna get raped, you nasty little slut Jew. Watch”.
    • Come back to F(workplace)Y again and we’re going to fucking kill you bitch”.
    • You’re dead K(name)i!”.

    I am not afraid to fight for you since your are a part of me

    Comments/suggestions or help stop/end this ruling, to:
    kmark52@yahoo.com

  5. […] title=”phelps3.jpg”>This is Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Fred hates homosexuals and so does his […]

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