Posts Tagged ‘church hate group’

Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder

I hope that most of you have heard the huge news that the Westboro Baptist Church was ordered to pay nearly $11 million to the father of a deceased US Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder. Mr. Snyder witnessed his son’s funeral picketed by the hate group, who blamed his death on a gay tolerant America. This judgment, should it withstand possible appeals, should completely cripple the gay-hating group.

Some bloggers have argued that Westboro’s tactics, while deplorable, are protected under the First Amendment. I completely disagree. As the judge in the case stated in his instructions to the jury, the First Amendment has its limits, including the prohibition of vulgar, offensive and shocking statements. I believe that protesting at a soldier’s funeral, especially in the manner Westboro employs, does in fact go beyond the limits of the First Amendment. The jury agreed.

Westboro has been around a long time. It is run by a family of hate mongers and back as far as 1993, the church sent a photograph of a gay musician that died of AIDS to his parents. The caption read: “Kevin Oldham: Dead Fag.” Westboro uses Matt Shepard’s death throughout its website as propaganda and told his Mom, during his memorial service, that she would be joining him in Hell. Westboro doesn’t reserve its protests just to fallen soldiers. The group threatened to picket at the memorial of the Amish school attack and Virginia Tech attack but relented once they were given free, unrestricted airtime on a radio station. The group did protest at the Sago mine disaster memorial.

Even Jerry Fallwell, no friend of gays, called Fred Phelps, the leader of the group, “a first class nut.” In return, they protested at his funeral. Will gays protest at Phelps’ funeral?

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate watch group that sues hate groups, has classified Westboro as a hate group. The Anti-Defamation League claims that Westboro uses gay bashing as a cover for bashing other religions and minority groups.

I have not even scratched the surface of this group. Its messages are so disgusting I am not going to post them. In fact, I was going to post a picture of one of their protests, but they do not deserve it. Instead, you saw the picture of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder above.

Isn’t it amazing that a hero’s death, in a far away land, dealt the final blow to a homegrown terrorist group?

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