June 03, 2010
Conservatives: Beware of the Military Funeral CaseBy Mark J. Fitzgibbons
The obnoxious family that calls itself the Westboro Baptist Church is an example of how it is sometimes difficult to take the long view of freedom. Patriotic, constitutional conservatives, however, should be cautioned about the WBC military funeral case now in the news. It has potential for mischief against conservative activists.WBC has made a name for itself protesting at military funerals and is in the middle of a Supreme Court battle with the father of a slain Marine over whether WBC's public relations ploys crossed the line and constituted a legal wrong. The Fourth Circuit reversed a U.S. District Court judgment awarding the father, Albert Snyder, millions of dollars in tort damages. The Supreme Court then agreed to hear Mr. Snyder's case.WBC has managed to offend nearly everyone. They abuse biblical verses identifying conduct God hates to state that God hates individuals. WBC has a website (godhatesfags.com), relentlessly bashes the Catholic Church, and, in highly visible protests, its pitifully few members carry signs near military funerals with messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers," "God Hates the USA," "Pope in hell," and others designed to provoke attention and rage.Mr. Snyder did not see the signs at his son's funeral until later that day, when footage was shown on television. Mr. Snyder then followed up by reviewing WBC's offensive internet rants naming his son. Understandably outraged, he filed suit against WBC alleging various torts.However, what WBC wrote about Mr. Snyder's son, Matthew, was obviously gleaned from his obituary, and none of it was private information. WBC's internet rant could have been about nearly anyone. Matthew, God rest his soul, happened to be a convenient means for WBC's twisted methods. (And if you want examples of speaking ill of the dead, check out the left-wing blogosphere after a conservative dies.)
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H/T Thunder Run