Snyder V. Phelps
Everyone is entitled to practice their religion. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion. The bill of rights states that this right could never be taken away, but does it make it right for a person to use this right to attack a person? On March 3rd, 2006 a Marine, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, died of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident in Anbar province, Iraq. A week later a funeral service was held in honor of this fallen soldier in his hometown of Finksburg, Maryland. As the service began an accumulation of people began to assemble to riot with signs that say, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” The source of this commotion all comes from the presence of one man and his congregation, Pastor Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church of Topeka, Kansas. The Westboro church’s actions all stemmed from Phelps and the church’s belief that God is punishing the United States for allowing homosexuals into the military, although Lance Corporal Snyder was not homosexual, in fact, Phelps claims he was not targeting the family of the deceased but instead was targeting the U.S. Military, only using Snyder’s funeral as a forum for their protest. These actions carried on by the Westboro Baptist church are nothing new to the public; the congregation has made several appearances at funerals since 1955 causing major controversies throughout the world, but Albert Snyder, the father of the deceased marine decided to take legal action against the offenders, by suing the church, its Pastor and his two daughters. Swearing to the public Snyder stated that he wasn't doing it for the money, but wanted to silence the group. Snyder also stated he was fighting to protect the other families emotionally torn from the pain inflicted by the Westboro church, as he himself felt his son’s memory was disrespected and privacy was evaded on. On February 4th 2008 the case went to a District level Court in Maryland which...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document