As always, when I post about the horrid Fred Phelps I must remind everyone that he is a Democrat who raised money for Al Gore...
"The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers' funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son's burial made him sick to his stomach.
Albert Snyder said Wednesday he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.
"They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family," Snyder testified. "They wanted their message heard and they didn't care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside."
Snyder is suing the Westboro Baptist church, whose members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country's tolerance of homosexuality. The York resident is seeking unspecified monetary damages in the case for invasion of privacy and intent to inflect emotional distress as a result of the Topeka, Kan., church's protest at his son's funeral in Westminster in March 2006.
The case tests the limits of the First Amendment right to free speech.
U.S. District Richard Bennett instructed jurors at the start of testimony Tuesday that the First Amendment protection of free speech has limits, including vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. Bennett said the jurors must decide "whether the defendant's actions would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, whether they were extreme and outrageous, and whether these actions were so offensive and shocking as to not be entitled to First Amendment protection." (source)
So, is protesting the funeral of a soldier or marine that gave his life free speech? Does Phelps get that second amendment protection?