Westboro Baptist Church Wins Another Legal Battle in Missouri

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A member of Rev. Fred Phelps family, which filed the suit against Manchester.
Whatever your thoughts are about the "God Hates Fags" mantra of the Westboro Baptist Church, it cannot be said that the organization does not know its rights and how to defend them in court.

Once again the controversial, Kansas-based church has won a legal decision in Missouri. The latest came yesterday when the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed last summer's decision striking down the City of Manchester's funeral protest ordinance. In so doing, the court reaffirmed that peaceful pickets on public sidewalks near funerals are entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.

In recent years Westboro Baptist Church has taken to protesting outside military funerals under their belief that God is punishing U.S. soldiers for their country's tolerance of homosexuality. Manchester modeled its ordinance after an Ohio funeral protest statute that was found to be constitutional by a court in 2008. Yesterday's decision disagreed with that conclusion.

"Manchester's ordinance criminalized speech in a manner the First Amendment cannot tolerate," said Anthony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, which represented the church. "Allowing speech we find offensive in public forums is one cost of the freedoms that define America."

Last year a federal court also threw out a Missouri state law restricting protests near funerals.

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9 comments
Jafo1169
Jafo1169

How about we just fight fire with fire. Large groups should picket their households, and spew they're beliefs at them, in front of their kids. Day and night, night and day. Drive them completely nuts. Start with gay pride marches up and down right in front of their houses, that would be worth seeing. LOL

8811081
8811081

Westboro Baptist Church spreads its hate throughpicketing in our streets, provoking attacks, with abusive language and flagdesecration, attempting to create a confrontation. This is not a church, thisis a hate group.  This is not about protesting,freedom, or God. They are in it for the money and the press; this is a familylaw firm. They are not a "church." It is a scam. They go after anythingthat can get them in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “godhates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam to end

8811081
8811081

 Westboro Baptist Churchspreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, withabusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. Thisis not a church, this is a hate group.  This is not about protesting, freedom, or God.They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They arenot a "church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can getthem in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thingto make money. It is time for this scam to end.

Angry in Canada
Angry in Canada

America you should be embarrassed that you call them your citizens. Clean this up.

8811081
8811081

 Westboro Baptist Churchspreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, withabusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. Thisis not a church, this is a hate group.  This is not about protesting, freedom, or God.They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They arenot a "church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can getthem in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thingto make money. It is time for this scam to end.

Mike N.
Mike N.

The Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket Steve Jobs' funeral; Margerie Phelps tweeted it on her iPhone.

(I wish I was making that up, but I'm not.)

Jessica Yam
Jessica Yam

We need to get the word out that this isn't the way Christians should act. God doesn't hate anyone. He loves as all unconditionally. He may not like our actions but that doesn't mean he doesn't love us. He is our father and loves us more than any father could love their child. These people should be ashamed of them selves and stop this hatred.

Pickledpanda
Pickledpanda

We ARE embarrassed, you can be sure of that. Wow, sure wish we could get rid of them.  The courts won't let us so maybe some vigilante justice is in order...IJS

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