BALTIMORE – The father of a Marine who was killed in Iraq has won a $10.9 million damage award against the Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kan., which picketed his son’s funeral, claiming the late Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder would go to hell because he was fighting for the U.S. government, which condones homosexuality.
Cpl. Snyder’s father, Albert Snyder, told The New York Times he did not sue the church for the money, but because he wants to close it down. Snyder also said he doubts he will ever get any money, and he refused to describe the defendant group as a church.
“I call it a cult or hate group,” Snyder told the Times. “I sat in that courtroom for a week and a half and never once heard them say a good thing about God.”
Snyder’s son, 20, was killed in January 2006.
The defendant church has about 60 members, most of whom are related to its founder, The Rev. Fred Phelps.
A federal jury awarded the damages on Tuesday. The church’s attorney said he would appeal to the 4th Circuit.