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Funerals no place for picketers

April 16, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

Funerals are a sacred and solemn event. That is the main thrust of Albert Snyder's argument, as he continues his legal battle to sue the Westboro Baptist Church, which picketed his son's - a Marine who died in Iraq - funeral, carrying signs such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "You're Going to Hell."

Picketing funerals as a protest against America's acceptance of homosexuality is the calling card of the Topeka, Kan., church led by Pastor Fred Phelps, which is comprised of approximately 70 to 80 members, mostly Phelps' extended family.

Snyder told the Associated Press he believes the church is disrupting private assemblies, an act akin to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater; while the Westboro Baptist Church contends it stayed at least 1,000 feet away and informed the police of its protest beforehand.

Snyder has hit the nail on the head with this lawsuit, winning an award initially before having the decision recently overturned. The church even had the audacity to picket last week's funerals for the West Virginia miners who perished, sporting such signs as "God hates West Virginia" and "Dead Miners in Hell."

Whether it is this lawsuit or another that bars these bigots masquerading as Christians from attending funerals across the United States, something needs to be done.

The next time a flag is draped over a casket or a mass tragedy occurs, we hope Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church stays at least 1,000 miles away.



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