03/27/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The battle is not over for Albert Snyder. He will continue to fight Westboro Baptist Church and their never ending attempts to protest at funerals. The cult based in Kansas is most famous lately for picketing funerals, concerts, and conventions with slogans like “God Hates You” and “Fags Doom Nations”. In fact, so far, they seem obsessed with homosexuality and have tried to spread their cultish message about Christianity. They are hated by people who are, themselves, hated by many Americans including the National Organization for Marriage. Maggie Gallagher even complained about it on NOM’s blog largely because she is afraid of what WBC is doing to their cause.
Snyder told hundreds of American Legion members at the 51st Annual Washington Conference in DC “It’s been a long battle, but I’m not about to give up just because some people on the Supreme Court said (the church) could do it. I will continue to press for legislation to make the picketing and protesting at funerals a little bit harder for members of the Westboro Baptist Church.”
On 2 March, the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that WBC could demonstrate at military funerals.
Snyder’s case included a lower-court verdict in his favor that included $5 million in damages, but the case was later thrown out in a federal appeals court. The case drew national attention, pitting the First Amendment against a family’s right to grieve in private.
Snyder’s legal team has worked on a pro-bono basis, but costs mounted. “Adding insult to injury, Mr. Snyder is responsible for paying Westboro Church’s court cost and legal fees,” American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster told the crowd in Washington. “This is simply an outrage.”
To a standing ovation, Foster presented Snyder a check for $26,458.58 onstage at the conference to help cover his costs throughout the process. The majority of that money was raised online through The American Legion’s Burn Pit blog site.
Snyder also said:
“Veterans have probably been my biggest supporters over the past four and a half years. I don’t think I could have done what I have done without the support of all of you and all of our active-duty soldiers and Marines. I know one person who has been with me through this whole time; Matt was a very loyal son; he was a very loyal friend and brother. And I know Matt would be supporting this 100 percent because he wouldn’t want to see another family go through what we went through.”
Snyder requested that Legionnaires contact their lawmakers to ask them to introduce legislation that would legally restrict WBC from disrupting funerals. Various groups have started to provide security at funerals that WBC plans to picket.
Typically, the WBC manages to bring in as many as ten picketers which often cause over a hundred counter demonstrators to come out and object to their presence. Last years Comicon saw costumed counter protesters out in force including one man dressed as Bender Bending Rodriguez of Futurama bearing a sign saying “Kill All Humans”. This was even noted in the commentary of an episode on the fifth volume of Futurama episodes.