Yesterday, media outlets around Baltimore reported that Gold Star Father Albert Snyder of York, Pa., would be ordered to pay court fees for the radical Kansas pastor who pickets military funerals. The fees are related to Snyder's ongoing lawsuit against the notorious church, which we refuse to name on this blog.
Snyder's son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq in 2006. His funeral was protested by the hateful fanatics, who held up signs laced with anti-homosexual rhetoric, tying American military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan to America's tolerance for gays.
Snyder decided to take action to reclaim his son's dignity and sued the pastor. Initially, Snyder was awarded $17 million, but the lower court's decision was overturned. Now, upon further appeal, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari on the case. However, in the interim, Snyder has been ordered to pay more than $16,000 in associated court costs for the picketers.
This afternoon, Snyder said he will refuse to pay the court-ordered fees.
Personally, I hope the Supreme Court rules that this hateful church cannot impede on the First Amendment rights of the Snyder family and other military families, who have the right to freely practice their religious beliefs, which should include dignified funeral proceedings.
Though groups like the ACLU have supported the protester's First Amendment claim to free speech, similar protections must be afforded to private family matters, such as funerals. In my opinion, the intent of the First Amendment was to ensure the free flow of information in an effort to maintain transparency in government. I cannot believe that the framers intended it to be used to bully private citizens, as this hateful clan has done for years.
In response to the outlandish protests, motorcycle riders such as the Patriot Guard Riders and AMVETS Riders have mobilized around the country alongside police, firefighters and other public servants to protect Gold Star Families from the vile messages.
Officially, AMVETS believes that all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty deserve nothing but the utmost respect from a grateful nation. Gold Star Families have earned the right to bury their sons and daughters with dignity.
The Snyder family has been receiving donations from around the country to help defer the potential court costs, and on Fox News last night, commentator Bill O'Reilly offered to pay Snyder's legal expenses, should the court system fail him and his son.
Thank you for stepping up to the plate, Bill, but let's hope it never has to come to that.
(Image: Gold Star Service Banner, which signifies a family member who has fallen in combat. Public domain.)