In the court case Snyder v. Phelps, is a case which centers on the topic of First Amendment law. This is a lawsuit that focuses on the comments that Baptist church protestors made to a family whose son, a soldier that died in the war in Iraq. The protest occurred while a family was attending their son’s funeral. The family of the deceased soldier won a verdict before a jury regarding the incident, after which it was overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court. The court found the signs that were displayed by the protesters at the funeral in Maryland and comments made on an anti-gay website were indeed protected speech.
These protestors are members of the Westboro Baptist Church and without showing any empathy held a demonstration near the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, the soldier who was killed in action in Iraq in 2006. The church’s protests at or near such funerals are carefully documented. This church declares that combat deaths in Iraq are the product of God’s anger against the United States’ position on gays, abortion, and many other issues. Additionally, there is a new petition under way that is asking for the Court’s protection for families against protestors while attending funeral services. If the court finds in support of this action then families will be free from protesters while attending funeral services.
I have been a military spouse for fourteen years and I have seen many people protest countless issues regarding military service members. I strongly believe that people should be allowed to love who they choose regardless of their preferences. Religion should not be used as a platform to emit hatred to others. Protesting at a funeral goes way beyond immoral and is extremely disrespectful to the family of the fallen soldier. It is important to remember that there are always going to be people who disagree on how others live their lives but it is up to the legal system to stop that type of public harassment. We should not judge, we must praise them for having the courage to protect our country, and that is exactly what they are out there doing every day. What soldiers do in their private lives is their own business. Who are we to tell someone how to live their lives? A fallen soldier’s family deserves to mourn with dignity and not polluted with hatred by a hounding church’s raving viewpoint.
Deinniston, L. (2010) Court to rule on funeral pickets. Retrieved from web site http://www.scotusblog.com/?p=17263
No Author (2010) Snyder v. Phelps, No. 08-1026. Retrieved from web site http://blogs.findlaw.com/fourth_circuit/
De Wind, D. (2010) Snyder v. Phelps: The Right to Mourn With Dignity. Retrieved form web site http://themoderatevoice.com/68087/snyder-v-phelps-the-right-to-mourn-with-dignity/