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There is a God

Many of you are no doubt familiar with the exploits of Fred Phelps. He's the Kansas pastor made famous for his congregation's protesting at funerals for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. What singled out the Phelps troop was how they chose to protest, carrying signs reading such things as "God Hates Gays" and "Thank God For Dead Soldiers". For you see Phelps and his band of homophobes (mostly his extended family) see the deaths of these soldiers as God's punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Now I'm not an overly religious person. If fact I'd probably describe myself as pretty agnostic about the subject. But this might make me think twice about the presence of heavenly deity.
A Baltimore federal jury awarded nearly $11 million Wednesday to the father of a Marine killed in Iraq, deciding that the family's privacy had been invaded by a Kansas church whose members waved anti-gay signs at the funeral.

It was the first-ever verdict against Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian group based in Topeka that has protested military funerals across the country with placards bearing shock-value messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers."

They contend that the deaths are punishment for America's tolerance of homosexuality and of gays in the military.

Relatives of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder wept and hugged at the jury's announcement, which came a day after closing arguments in the civil trial in federal district court.

"Now I know it's going to be harder for them to do it to anyone else," said Albert Snyder, who mourned at his son's funeral in March 2006 while seven Westboro members waved signs nearby.

The jury originally award the Snyder's $2.9 million dollars, a sum which was nearly triple the net worth of the Phelps clan's estate. Combine this verdict with laws being passed in many states barring any sort of protests at military funerals and we may be seeing the end of such shameful behavior. And Fred Phelps will likely be carrying signs of a different nature soon.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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