Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Phelps ordered to pay millions

Finally, some justice is served to one of this country's most outspoken hatemongers. And thankfully the MSM is taking note. Stories are posted on CNN and Fox News to cover the spectrum of reporting. The blogosphere, of course, is alight with responses, and I'm certainly glad to add my voice to the fray.

To pick on one (because I couldn't resist once I read it)

Over at Jesus Christology - the blogger states that the war between State and Church has officially started with this judgement against the Phelps Church:

I will forgo the usual routine of prefacing my comments with a discussion as to whether the behavior of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church was wrong; there are plenty of places where you can go find that. Instead, I will deal with this fact: since Westboro Baptist Church almost certainly does not have $10.9 million they will have to close. As such, this is the first time to my knowledge that the state is causing the doors of a church that has not been found to be in violation of any laws down.

To respond to that accusation, I must remind the blogger that this is a civil trial and the judgement was passed not by the State in congress or legislation but rather by a jury of both the defendant and the plaintiff's peers. To my knowledge the shutting down of this reprehensible house of hate, theological heresy and ministry of a man who is as much Anti-Christ, in the classical sense of the word, is a judgement not from government but from the people of this nation, who are themselves followers of various belief systems but of whom many are Christians.

I must also advise the blogger that the only way a church can be shut down by the government is when it revokes its tax exempt status, which the government never did to Phelps, as it attempted to do to All Saints Episcopal.

The blogger continues:

Whatever you may think of Fred Phelps and his congregation, they are not the criminals here. The criminals are the jury that brought this verdict and the judge that failed to vacate it. If the state enforces this judgment, it will effectively nullify the First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of religion and set a powerful precedent. As such, it is Fred Phelps’ church today but your church tomorrow.

And my response is the family sued, if you look at court documentation, not over the anti-homosexual language, there son after all was straight, but because this private event was disrupted and disrespected by someone who they don't know from Adam and who berated them and the memory of their son because he was a member of the military. The family is rightfully angered over the protest and I'm sure they'd be suing regardless even if the protesters were hippies saying that their son died because of global warming as opposed to the anti-gay spew, and though the judgement may have been high because of the nature of Phelps speech and the public opinion given to that speech, I don't think it would have been much less otherwise.

The blogosphere is quite a bit more Fair and Balanced than just the opinions of Jesus Christology mentioned above. Check out Hot Air (also a rapid update post from the verdict yesterday here)

Speaking of Fair and Balanced, Hot Air included a link to this Video as well as posting the video below along with his pithy comments, enjoy.

Everyone is sure that this will be appealed, this morning on CNN teh father said that he was made aware of the contentious battle ahead in the courts and that a website has been set up so that anyone who wishes to support the continuing efforts of this civil suit can do so. That site is http://www.matthewsnyder.org/ here's an excerpt that epitomizes the purpose of this suit which is contrary to what Phelps and his supporters say this "government action" is about:

"This is a private civil lawsuit that is separate from any actions being pursued by states or the federal government against Mr. Phelps. While those cases involve Government action and potential 1st Amendment issues, this case is distinct. This case simply alleges that one does not have the right to conspire to use lies in order to inflict intentional harm upon persons who are grieving the death of their children."

To add insult to Injury (Obtained from Court Documents available on the afformentioned website)

"The Defendant Fred W. Phelps, Sr., pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, and other member of the church attended...[the] funeral without invitation in order to express their views against homosexuality, Catholicism, and the military... On one of WBC's websites the Defendants posted specific comments that Plaintiff and his wife 'taught him how to support the largest pedophile machine in the history of the entire world, the Roman Catholic monstrosity,' and 'taught Matthew to be an idolator.'"[sic](emphasis added)

Click here for access to the PDF.


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