March 8th, 2010
10:48 AM ET
5 years ago

Justices to hear case over protests at soldiers' funerals

The Westboro Baptist Church will receive a hearing at the Supreme Court.
The Westboro Baptist Church will receive a hearing at the Supreme Court.

Washington (CNN) – A small Kansas church that has gained nationwide attention for protesting loudly at funerals of U.S. service members will receive a Supreme Court hearing over free speech rights.

The justices Monday accepted an appeal from the father of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq over efforts to keep members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating near memorial services and burials.

The Marine's family won a $5 million judgment from the protesters, which lower courts overturned.

The church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, said it believes God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events such as soldiers' deaths.

Members have traveled the country, shouting at grieving family members at funerals and displaying such signs as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Blew Up the Troops."

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    I know CNN has a duty to report on these lowlifes who have hijacked Christianity, but we shouldn't even be giving these people airtime. These people are no different than radical Islamists who use their religion to justify killing people.

    I applaud the family and friends of the soldiers who have to watch this. Lord knows nothing would stop me from getting out of the car and feeding them a fist.

    March 8, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Dano

    Wow what a truly Christian thing to do: protesting at a slain soldier's funeral. I guess the $5 million judgment is just God punishing the protesters for being ass holes.

    March 8, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    More right wing fruit cakes. Fox News and the like created this atmosphere of hate and fear and now we see just how far it goes. If they want to protest something, then protest News Corporation who owns Fox News, the WSJ and numerous other media outlets. They are controlling and/or creating the news which is destroying our country. Why you may ask, well News Corp is owned by a foreigner, imagine that. Too bad these right wing nuts don't realize that, that would be something to protest about, if they had a brain.

    March 8, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. AndyBlue

    the westboro baptists are just another branch of the sadistic republican party.

    Nothing but pushing hatred, fear and lies in the name of some fictional creature floating above the clouds.

    Yep thats definately a republican trait that we have all become accustomed to these past ten years.

    I will never vote for a republican again. Truely "disgraceful people" who have more then proven themselves worthy of the title.

    March 8, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    This is just sick. These brave people pay the highest price possible for fools like this to insult.So much for being People of god

    March 8, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't know if it would violate 1st Amendment, but it is morally wrong to me. How could you be so insensative and hurtful when a family is morning a member who has died. Why don't these people protest at the funerals of law enforcement or fire fighters? This makes no sense to me. I would think that they should be protesting at the funerals of known homosexuals and those that argue/fight for civil unions and marriages of same sex couples. These people have no souls and no consideration for the soldiers that fight for us.

    March 8, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. keith A. sillsbury

    If I ever see these people at a funeral in eastern NC, they'll learn not to come back real quick.

    March 8, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    They should all be immediately jailed for invasion of a personally private issue.

    March 8, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. The American people

    Finally something we can unite around...

    March 8, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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