Phelps v. Snyder

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, United States, Fred Phelps Pages: 7 (2816 words) Published: March 1, 2014
“God hates you.” “You’re going to hell.” Could you imagine having to bury your child that returned to American soil, dead, after fighting a war, listening and seeing these kinds of statements? When burying a loved one, a person should not have to deal with people picketing at a private funeral. That person is in enough pain and emotional loss for having to bury a family member. This is not more of an inappropriate or inconsiderable time than ever to be causing a negative scene and displaying a strong sense of hatred on someone who just recently lost their life fighting for this country. Albert Snyder, father of the late Matthew Snyder, has every right in his power to be suing Fred Phelps, pastor and founder of Westboro Baptist Church and the congregation, in seeking redemption for Matthew on numerous grounds. I, personally, have the right to be buried and laid in peace as does everyone else. A family should have the right to bury their loved one with no interference from others. Burying a person is part of life and to invade one’s personal right is unlawful. Westboro Baptist Church did not have the right to be present at Matthew Snyder’s funeral and in doing so I believe the decision made by the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit should be reversed by the United States Supreme Court.

A fallen hero returned to his homeland from Iraq, while on active military duty, where he was killed on the warfront. His name is Lance Corporal, Matthew Snyder, who was pronounced dead on March 3, 2006. His family held a funeral seven days later on March 10, 2006 in Westminster, Maryland. On the day of the funeral, members of Westboro Baptist Church protested at the funeral and posted an essay on its website called “The Burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder” all because of the question of his sexuality. Whether or not he was homosexual, people can think what they want to, but Westboro Baptist Church made it apparent of their anti-American, anti-Catholic, and anti-gay views by their haunting slogans. On June 5, 2006, Snyder filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court suing Phelps. A jury determined and awarded compensatory and punitive sums of money in favor of Snyder on October 31, 2007. However; on September 24, 2008, the Fourth Circuit reversed the decision made in district court siding with Phelps and dismissed the claims filed by Snyder.

Westboro Baptist Church makes it very clear that it and its members are against America. By visiting one of their websites,, made available to everyone that has access to the Internet, one will find suggestive information on “God Hates the World”, “America is Doomed”, “Priests Rape Boys”, “Antichrist Obama”, and “Jews Killed Jesus” targeting different groups in the melting pot better known as the United States of America. Westboro Baptist Church blames homosexuals and their presence in the military, and America’s tolerance of homosexuality for the killing of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan as a punishment from God. However; past wars that included United States involvement including World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, and Korean War, many soldiers lost their lives in combat as well and homosexuality was not the cause of it. God would not kill innocent because of someone’s choices.

A wild tangent can best describe the purpose and aim of the views of Westboro Baptist Church. If something is said, it needs to be backed up with facts. On their website, Westboro Baptist Church answered, “Is it mean, hateful, uncompassionate, etc.? I'm sure it is, according to your standards,” as to why they picket at funerals. It may be one’s religious belief to not certainly agree with homosexuality, but one should not fault someone for their choice of lifestyle because that is their individual right and one would be limiting their right if it was taken away. Anyone and everyone seems to be being blamed except those who are associated with Westboro Baptist Church, a...
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