Bill O’Reilly, the presenter of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News has finally given us a reason to love Fox News – he’s offered to pay the legal bills of Albert Snyder, a father who was ordered to pay the costs of anti-gay protesters who protested outside the funeral of his son’s funeral.
Killed on March 3rd, 2006, his son Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder died in a non-combat related vehicle accident in Al Anbar province in Iraq with his funeral seeing over 1,500 taking part in the procession. A touching show of respect for the Marine, this however was marred by members of Westboro Baptist Church (run by the “lovely” Fred Phelps) who also turned out using the high profile funeral to protest against the acceptance of gays in the US which they believe God is now punishing us for.
Speaking about the protest back in 2007, Snyder spoke about his son saying:
“He was a hero and he was the love of my life,”
And when he found out about the protest via the television coverage that:
“I just stood there in shock,”
“I couldn’t believe that somebody would do that to somebody else. I mean, I didn’t know what to say… I can’t believe there’s somebody that would actually do that to soldiers.”
Filing a federal lawsuit against the church saw Snyder awarded nearly $11 million dollars for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress by the Jury, however the U.S. Court of Appeals then decided to overturn this verdict stating the First Amendment meant that their right to free expression must be protected.
Distressing enough as this verdict was, it got worse. Snyder was told he must now pay $16,500 to church members to cover their legal costs – something near impossible for a man who was already struggling to find the funds needed to appeal the Court of Appeals verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Which is where Bill O’Reilly comes in.
Speaking on The O’Reilly Factor show on Tuesday, O’Reilly said:
“That is an outrage, I will pay Mr. Snyder’s obligation. I am not going to let this injustice stand.”
“It’s obvious they were disturbing the peace by disrupting the funeral. They should have been arrested, but our system is so screwed up, so screwed up, that loons are allowed to run wild. Snyder is fighting the good fight, and he is taking his case to the Supreme Court as he should. We are behind him 100 percent.”
We never thought we’d say it but good on O’Reilly, and there’s the opportunity for all us to help too as there has now been a legal fund set up at MatthewSnyder.org which you can contribute to with the Supreme Court appeal likely to be heard in the October term with a verdict likely to be announced in mid-2011.
Hat trip to Newsmax.