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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Nebraska D.A. Sues Fundamentalist Church

PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (CN) - The State of Nebraska sued the Westboro Baptist Church to bar it from protesting at the funerals of three high school students killed in a car accident. The Cass County District Attorney said the fundamentalist church's protests are not constitutionally protected because they are meant to incite violence and confrontation.

Dillon Synover, Tyler Eggert and Angelica Washington were killed in a two-car collision on Oct. 26. Their funerals were scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Westboro Baptist, of Topeka, distributed leaflets calling for protesters at the funerals. The leaflet, attached to this filing in Cass County Court, is headlined, "God Hates Nebraska." It adds, "These three children died for Nebraska's sins. Worse is coming upon Persecutors of God's servants."

Attached to the lawsuit is a letter from the church to the Cass County Sheriff, in which church representatives say that to keep their members "safe from attack" they have "found it is helpful ... for us to have skilled photographers and video recorders at each of our pickets."

The church told the sheriff it is protesting "the dangers of promoting homosexuality and the rest of the filthy manner of life and idol worshipping of this nation."

The flyer states, "It is a shameful and disgraceful thing that so many high school students - teenagers - must be tested for HIV/AIDS and other STDs."

The Cass County District Attorney sued the church on Oct. 30. Nebraska media reported the planned protests, but Courthouse News has been unable to find Nebraska media reports on the DA's lawsuit, or the ruling on it.

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