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Saving the Memory of Matthew Snyder March 30, 2010

Posted by geoff in News.

I’m sure you all remember Fred Phelps’ noxious Westboro Baptist Church organization that goes around carrying “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” signs at military funerals. Well, a father of a Marine who received this nasty treatment sued Phelps & Co. for defamation and emotional distress. He won, but Phelps appealed. This is how it ended up:

The father of a Marine killed in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters from Kansas was ordered to pay the protesters’ appeal costs, his lawyers said Monday.

On Friday, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered Snyder to pay $16,510 to Fred Phelps. Phelps is the leader of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder’s funeral in 2006.

Now the Marine’s dad wants to take it to the Supreme Court. I tried to read the Fourth Circuit’s judgment to see what the chances of a win in the Supreme Court were. IANAL, but I have to say, I didn’t think much of the 4th Circuit’s “they’re obviously loony, so nobody would take their defamatory statements seriously” logic.

So I personally think there’s a chance. And even if there’s not, it’s nice to see somebody trying to take the Phelps gang to task for their despicable behavior. If you agree, you can help the cause by donating at a site set up for Lance Corporal Snyder: www.matthewsnyder.org.


1. geoff - March 30, 2010

Aw heck – Ace had this up before I did? Yeesh.

2. sandy burger - March 30, 2010

Of all the wacky Westboro Baptist Church signs I’ve seen, probably the saddest and creepiest was the one that said “God Is Always Angry”. Yikes.

3. NanG - March 30, 2010

Can’t imagine a judge saying that if it happened at the funeral of one of his own loved ones.

4. TXMarko - March 30, 2010

5. Ike Bailey - March 30, 2010

I hope you raise enough money . We all need to show our support. Yes we have a right of freedom of speech but not at ANY soldiers funeral. Many soldiers have died for this freedom but it needs to be respected.

6. daveintexas - March 30, 2010

Hell yes I will give this man some cash.

7. BrewFan - March 30, 2010

I’ve been reading in the Gospel of Matthew and found this passage where Jesus has a message for Westboro Baptist Church. It is at the end of His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15-23):

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

8. kevlarchick - March 31, 2010

“By their fruit you will recognize them.” Indeed.

9. daveintexas - March 31, 2010

>> “Watch out for false prophets”

I forget the verse about “inbred assholes” but I think it’s more on target. I’ll look for it.

Probably in Tobit.

10. lauraw - March 31, 2010

*spit take*


11. Enas Yorl - March 31, 2010

Whoa, just saw this – Bill O’Reilly is stepping up to the plate and is going to cover this cost himself. Never been a big fan of O’Reilly, but this is definitely awesome. Way to go Bill!

12. Cathy - March 31, 2010

Kudos to Bill O’Reilly.

That amount of cash is probably not much to him, but I’m still touched.

13. geoff - March 31, 2010

Never been a big fan of O’Reilly, but this is definitely awesome.

I agree with both clauses. We should remember, however, that there are more costs to come for the appeal to the Supreme Court. So don’t let O’Reilly’s generosity dissuade you from donating.

14. TXMarko - March 31, 2010

They can always use the donations for the next legal step…

The “Appeal of the Appeal”, I guess?

15. w gerald bird jr - April 1, 2010

Where do I send a check to beat this bastard son of a bitch?

a former Marine and Nam vet

16. TXMarko - April 1, 2010

>>Where do I send a check to beat this bastard son of a bitch?


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