Verdict Against Westboro Baptist Church 'A Repudiation of Its Hateful Ideology'
New York, NY, November 1, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the nearly $11 million verdict against the virulently anti-Semitic and homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, calling the decision "a strong repudiation of its hateful ideology."
A jury in Baltimore found three of the group's leaders – Fred Phelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper and Rebecca Phelps-Davis – liable for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress for their hateful and intrusive picketing of a private funeral for a Marine killed in Iraq.
"This verdict is a strong repudiation of the hateful ideology of the Westboro Baptist Church and its leadership," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It sends a strong message to those who would use their bigotry and hatred to threaten and intimidate others that there can be serious consequences for their actions."
The Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has recently gained notoriety by picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan as a way of venting rage at a government that they believe is tolerant of homosexuality.
One of the funerals they targeted was that of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, whose father, Albert, brought the case against Westboro Baptist Church to court.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.