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Military Funeral Protesting Church Will Pay Almost $11 Million in Lawsuit (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
The case should bankrupt the church as it far exceeds their assets.
(SALEM, Ore.) - It couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people. The Westboro Baptist Church was nailed in court on Halloween day to the tune of $10.9 Million. That is how much a jury believes these Kansas creeps owe a Pennsylvania father who had to put up with their harassment as he laid his son who was killed in the Iraq War to rest.
Most people have heard of the Westboro Church by now. They picket military funerals in this country with signs that read, "That God for Dead Soldiers." Their point, allegedly, is that soldiers are dying overseas because the United States condones homosexuality.
Most people who have experience around them contend that the only reason they bother families is because they know the odds are good that someone will violate their civil rights, and they will be able to sue. Several members of their congregation are attorneys.
The grief families endure over this basket case operation of hatred is hard to describe. My television camera and I clashed with them a little over a year ago when they tried to crash the service for the first Oregon Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. I watched them tie American flags to their ankles and jog around grinding them into the dirt. Every tactic possible to upset people is employed by the Westboro Baptist Church.
Albert Snyder's case began after the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed fighting in Iraq. The York, Pennsylvania man sued the church for unspecified damages after they demonstrated at his son's funeral.
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At first the jury awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages. But then they returned later in the day with a decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy along with $2 million for causing emotional distress.
The U.S. District Judge overseeing the case, Richard Bennett, made a point that the size of the award for compensating damages "far exceeds the net worth of the defendants," according to financial statements filed with the court, CNN reported.
That's good news to Americans who have been hoping that somebody could find a way to reduce the suffering these practices subject families to. The judge stated that the protests intruded upon what should have been a private ceremony for the family of the fallen Marine. He said their activity sullied memories of the event.
The Westboro Church members who testified said they believed they were following their religious beliefs with their message that the deaths of soldiers are due to the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. Attorneys for the accused argued in closing statements that the funeral was a public event and that, "even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment."
As these church members have angered a nation, a motorcycle group called the Patriot Guard Riders was formed specifically to block the families from these protests. Now several states have passed laws about funeral protests, and Congress has passed banned them at federal cemeteries.
But this federal lawsuit Maryland lawsuit which was heard in Baltimore, Maryland, is said to be the first filed by the family of a fallen American serviceman.
I have included the video report that I filed after the church came to Oregon.
WATCH THE VIDEO NEWS REPORT BELOW BY SALEM-NEWS.COM'S TIM KING
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