Fred Phelps And Westboro Baptist Church Followers Essay

834 Words Sep 24th, 2014 4 Pages
Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church followers believed that God punishes U.S.A for its tolerance on homosexuality especially in the military. To show their beliefs, Phelps and his followers used to show up at military funerals to protest against such acts. One of the military funerals they showed up in belonged to Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, the son to Albert Snyder (Court, 2011). They caused controversy by showing up at the funeral displaying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers,” “God hates the U.S.A” among many others to pass their message. At first Albert Snyder was not aware of the information portrayed until he saw the story of funeral on the news. After understanding their intentions, Snyder decided to sue Phelps and the church claiming that their actions stressed him. In his defense and for the church, Phelps argued that his speech and signs during the funeral was protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution under the Free Speech Clause (Fasoro & Haddock, 2009). Snyder was successful in suing Phelps and his church members for deliberately inflicting emotional distress on him and invading his privacy through intrusion and conspiracy. The jury decided to award Snyder $2.9 million as compensatory damages and another $8 million to cover punitive damages. On appealing the ruling, the Court of Appeal overturned the verdict stating that Phelps’ statement was protected because they were not verifiable facts but rhetorical hyperbole (Fasoro & Haddock,…

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