Not by a long shot.
I might be a little rusty on my Bible these days, having not actually read it cover to cover like I have in days since passed, but those other concepts stick with me pretty intensely.
An appellate court in Richmond, VA decided that Albert Snyder, the father of slain Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose funeral was protested by the deplorable ilk of the Westboro Baptist Church, will have to pay the appeals cost — an amount reaching some $16,510 — to Fred Phelps at a time to be determined by Phelps himself. Snyder’s lawyer (and I, but when do I matter?) believes that this should have been held until the Supreme Court had a chance to rule on this case.
Phelps and his followers are best known for their “God hates fags” slogan and their penchant for picketing the funerals of people who have died of AIDS and of servicemembers, some gay, some not. There is a reason he and his wonderful daughter are not allowed to visit the UK.
One of the reasons that I left the church is that I have long had a hard time believing that any god who is supposedly benevolent would support any kind of person who would espouse the kind of behaviour promoted by Fred Phelps or his followers, family, or church. I don’t believe that an omnipotent being such as the Christian God could possibly first create children and then believe that it is OK to turn his back upon them in such a cruel manner.
And it is despicable that any court or judge would award anyone an appeals award like this that would cause such a hardship while a Hate Speech decision is still pending. Especially when we are still seeing more and more decisions in the favor of protections against hate speech recently, like in the Harvard-Westlake School cyberbullying case [Trigger Warning on that link for descriptions of violence]. But I am not a lawyer.
The two-page decision supplied by attorneys for Albert Snyder of York, Pa., offered no details on how the court came to its decision.
Attorneys also said Snyder is struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.
The paper edition of S&S differs slightly, saying that the American Legion is helping to set up a fund to assist Snyder with the fees, and Snyder himself has one set up in his son’s name, if you are so inclined. They are also filing an amicus brief in support of the Snyder family as well.
Hate speech against marginalized groups should not be protected free speech. Funerals, of servicemembers or otherwise, should not be breeding grounds for protesters. Families should be left to mourn their lost in peace, particularly those who have lost their loved ones to these wars.