The Supreme Court is currently considering the case of Albert Snyder, who won a multi-million dollar judgment against the radical Westboro Baptist Church after the church’s congregation picketed at the funeral of his son, Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in action in Iraq.
Even though Corporal Snyder was not gay, the church, which is led by a nutcase named Fred Phelps, held signs saying things like “God Hates Fags”, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”, and “Soldiers Die Because America Loves Fags.”
This is nothing new for Phelps and his church members, most of whom are members of his family. They love getting face time in front of network news cameras by such outrageous actions.
Besides gay people, Phelps also hates Sweden, Mormons, and just about anybody else except Fred Phelps himself, it seems. Oh wait, let me take that back. In 2003, before the fall of Saddam Hussein, Phelps wrote the murderous dictator a letter praising him for the way he ran his country. What can you expect from a puke that couldn’t even make it as a lawyer – Phelps was disbarred in Kansas in1979.
But Albert Snyder turned the tables and sued the church for mental anguish, winning a judgment of $10.9 million in damages. That amount was later cut in half, and then an appeals court judge overturned the original judgment all together, citing the church’s right to free speech. An appeal of that judge’s decision eventually brought the warring parties to the Supreme Court.
I respect the right to free speech, and I know that it is just as important as our other basic rights, such as freedom of the press, and the right to keep and bear arms. However, when a person or a group abuses a right and uses it as a tool to hurt others, they have stepped over the line. And Fred Phelps and his small band of lunatics are so far over the line that they can’t even see it in their rear view mirrors.
Some may disagree with me, claiming that if we deny any of us our basic rights, we take that first step down a slippery slope to where we may all lose. But just as we cannot shout “fire!” in a crowded theater, or carry a loaded pistol into a courtroom, sometimes we have to set aside our “rights’ for the good of all, if those rights are being abused.
I see far too many people standing on the Constitution and using it as an excuse for whatever kind of vomit they want to spew out, claiming it is their “right.” But what about my rights, and your rights, and the rights of a grieving family who wants to bury their child in peace? What about basic human decency?
Convicted felons lose some of their rights, because they have shown that they cannot be trusted with them. I think the Westboro Baptist Church congregation falls into the same category.
During my time in uniform, I spent a short period as a funeral escort. My job was to be the liaison between the Army and the family, and I attended too many funerals of fine young men who had died in service to their country. It was absolutely the worst duty I ever had, and after only a few weeks, I just could not do it any longer and begged to be transferred anywhere, doing anything else. I was just a kid myself, and emotionally and psychologically, I just could not handle it. I don’t know how anybody could.
I hate to think of what would have happened if the likes of Fred Phelps and his disgusting crew had shown up at one of my funerals. Because I think the undertaker may have had to put on an extra shift to clean up the mess.
These maggots are not Christians, they are publicity seeking hate mongers. And I hope that there is a very special place in Hell for each and every one of them.
Tags: anti-gay, Christians, Constitutional rights, Convicted felons, Fred Phelps, freedom of the press, military funerals, right to free speech, Saddam Hussein, Supreme Court, the right to keep and bear arms, Westboro Baptist Church