According to Reuters, the Rev. Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka has been ordered to pay $10.9 million in damages to the family of a U.S. Marine who died in Iraq. Members of the church came to his funeral carrying signs saying “You’re going to hell” and “God hates you” and cheering. A federal jury has ruled that the church and three of its principals invaded the family’s privacy and inflicted emotional distress.
The church believes that the Iraq War is God’s punishment for the United States’ tolerance of homosexuality, and they have demonstrated at about 300 military funerals in the last two years.
The Rev. Phelps’s daughter called the decision a blow against free speech.