This is topic Freedom of Speech in forum The Christian News at Christian Message Boards.
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Posted by Marlene (Member # 8489) on
I wish to share with you a statement made in a recent newsletter by the wonderful coalition that is the Christian Law Associates on the Westboro Baptist Church and its members.
By Web Admin on March 31, 2011 in Legal Alerts
For the past 20 years, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based church, have picketed military funerals to communicate their religious belief that God hates America because of its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly in the nationís military. The churchís picketing has also condemned the Catholic Church for scandals involving its clergy.
Fred Phelps, pastor and founder of the church, and six Westboro Baptist parishioners, who are all relatives of Pastor Phelps, as are most of the churchís members, traveled to Maryland in 2006 to picket the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in the line of duty. The picketing took place on public sidewalks approximately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held, in accordance with guidance from local law enforcement officers. The picketers had obtained a permit for their demonstration activities.
Mr. Snyder filed a lawsuit against Pastor Phelps and his two daughters, who had participated in the picketing along with four grandchildren, as well as against the Westboro Church itself, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion and civil conspiracy. At trial, a Maryland jury held that Westboro Church was liable to Mr. Snyder for millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. The district court judge reduced the punitive damage award from $10 million to $5 million, but otherwise left the verdict intact.
Westboro Church appealed that verdict, and the case was recently argued before the United States Supreme Court. Our nationís highest court upheld the appellate court and ruled 8-1 that the First Amendment did shield Westboro from tort liability for its picketing activities.
Chief Justice Roberts wrote the Courtís majority opinion, while Justice Alito dissented, claiming that ďour profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.Ē First amendment advocates hail this decision as a victory for freedom of speech. Free Speech Continues to Be Protected in America.
NOTE: While we do not support Christians deliberately preaching hate or making hurtful comments towards anyone, we do agree that this is an important victory for freedom of speech that will support all Christian speech going forward.
We have seen more and more resistance to Christian speech over the past few years as some claim it is hurtful and dangerous merely to preach the Gospel message.
Posted by Eduardo Grequi (Member # 3984) on
Any Christian who believes it is okay to disrupt, destroy, and mock a funeral in progress is not walking with Jesus upon their lives and in their hearts. What this sect of Baptists have done is to make a mockery of the salvation message that Jesus gave himself for. Would Jesus go up to any people who are in mourning and disrupt their wake with bitter and evil words of hate. Absolutely not! Jesus said to a disciple wanta be , "let the dead bury the dead"! What Christian who(is supposed to be sealed with the Spirit) acts out with purposeful agression to make a statement at a funeral is obeying the Holy Spirit? I think a carnal Christian does. One thing is to go into the house of the Father and throw out the money changers, but it is a different thing not to allow the dead to bury the dead in peace.What I saw are Christians who have anger management issues. Their behavior that was displayed were self-centered, and self-serving.
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