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Monday, April 7, 2008

Judge Places Lien on Westboro Baptist Church

posted by on April 7 at 9:53 AM


Thanks to Towleroad for directing me to this morning-brightening news from the Baltimore Sun:

A federal judge in Baltimore has issued liens against a fundamentalist Kansas church and ordered two of its members to post cash bonds while they appeal a $5 million judgment resulting from the church’s protest at a military funeral.

The fundamentalist Kansas Church, of course, is Westboro Baptist, the fag-hating, God-insulting psycho brood of Fred Phelps. As for the specifics of the lien and what it means for the Church, the Sun reports:

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett placed a lien on the properties of the church and its founder, Fred W. Phelps Sr., and ordered two of Phelps’ daughters to post cash bonds of $125,000 and $100,000 within 30 days.

Bennett also placed a lien on a $232,900 office building owned by Phelps and his wife that the family law firm uses. The liens mean that no new mortgages can be taken out on the properties, and no money can be borrowed against the equity in them. Bennett noted that it would require “extraordinary circumstances” for the church to avoid posting a portion of the judgment.

Hurrah, and stay tuned.

RSS icon Comments


I somehow KNEW that the building would be fake Tudor, and that their sign would be a crappy BANNER. Ugh.

Posted by Fnarf | April 7, 2008 10:02 AM

Fantastic news! Next step is for the lienholders' lawyer to knock out a Complaint for judicial foreclosure, which is pretty simple.

Posted by | April 7, 2008 10:04 AM

And god smiled.

Posted by Al | April 7, 2008 10:08 AM

Holy Shit.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | April 7, 2008 10:11 AM

Am I the only one bothered by this verdict? As much as I despise Phelps, a $5M verdict for exercising free speech rights is bullshit. (And the first person who claims that "hate speech isn't free speech" will get smacked with a rolled up copy of the Constitution.)

Posted by Skeptic | April 7, 2008 10:50 AM

Hate speech exercised within a few feet of grieving relatives, for the SOLE PURPOSE of inciting attention-garnering violence, isn't free speech. It's abuse. It can be banned for the same reason that standing outside my house shouting obscenities at me at 3 AM can be banned. It's fucking ASSAULT.

Posted by Fnarf | April 7, 2008 11:16 AM


Posted by MichaelPgh | April 7, 2008 11:25 AM

i feel...born again. is it wrong that i want to see them penniless and homeless?

Posted by scary tyler moore | April 7, 2008 11:33 AM

it is satisfying. these people clearly crossed a line, and they were too crazy and self-righteous to notice it. when they go bankrupt, that, by their own twisted "logic" will be proof that god hates them.

Posted by ellarosa | April 7, 2008 11:56 AM


Don't redefine words to make your argument. Nothing in the Constitution allows the government to regulate "hate speech", nor is "hate speech" an assault in the legal sense. Sure, municipalities can regulate the volume of free speech and (to some extent) the location, but not the content. Phelps & Co. were being assholes, but their civil or criminal liability should not extend beyond a noise ordinance or disturbing the peace citation.

I'd like to see Phelps bankrupted as much as anybody else here would, but not at the expense of my Constitutionally-protected rights.

Posted by Skeptic | April 7, 2008 12:17 PM


See Article III, Section 2. The Constitution isn't self-interpreting.

Posted by elenchos | April 7, 2008 12:25 PM

It IS assault, fool. You can't stand in front of people and say "gimme all your money" either. Lots of "speech" is restricted when it harms others.

Posted by Fnarf | April 7, 2008 12:39 PM

If you have never heard the song Westboro Baptist Church, by Portland songwriter Michael Dean Damron (written for his last band I Can Lick Any SOB In The House) then you must go to iTunes or wherever you can and download it immediately. You'll feel even better...

Posted by Yep | April 7, 2008 2:32 PM

The Lord works in mysterious ways...

Posted by MR. Language Person | April 7, 2008 5:52 PM

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