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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Do You Know Whom God Hates?

Maybe you've heard of the Westboro Baptist Church led by the Rev. Fred Phelps. If so, you know that they don't deserve to be called a "church," for they are a pack of hate mongering wing nuts who believe that American soldiers are being killed overseas as God's punishment for the acceptance of gay people. No, unfortunately, I'm not making that up. If you haven't yet heard of these cretins, you probably will, because they are on a mission to disrupt military funerals with protests and placards with messages such as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God For Dead Soldiers." Rev. Phelps claims that it is his First Amendment right to express his beliefs as he sees fit. No matter that it is disrespectful, unpatriotic, and terribly hurtful to the bereaved families of these soldiers, Rev. Phelps believes that military funerals are the place to express his hateful ignorance. I'm sure that it has nothing to do with all of the publicity he gets by making such a pathetic spectacle of himself and his lemmings by disrupting what should be solemn ceremonies with his homophobic tirades.

Well, Rev. Phelps was foiled this past Monday in, of all places, Southern MD. He and his minions showed up for the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt in La Plata, MD. According to the Washington Examiner, "the hate group's parade of absurdity received quite a response: More than a thousand counter-demonstrators showed up early, established themselves on the rights-of-way around the church, and prevented the "God Hates Fags" crowd from getting anywhere near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Terry Honeycutt." Holly Smith, one of the organizers of the counter-demonstration, described the scene: "I was surprised to hear no shouting or noise in the background. American flags as far as the eye can see... And the Westboro crowd? They are up at a gas station probably a mile up the road, because they couldn't get any closer. We're in the shoulder for probably ten deep for at least 300 yards."  I couldn't be prouder of my Southern MD neighbors if they had dressed in drag and thrown a gay pride parade! Way to come together and stand up to blatant ignorance and idiocy!

Phelps and his fanatics are also being challenged in the Supreme Court. The Westboro Baptist Church was sued by Albert Snyder of MD for emotional distress and invasion of privacy after they disrupted the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Snyder initially won a 5 million dollar verdict against the church, but it was vacated by an appeals court. Phelps claims the issue rests on his First Amendment right to free speech at public funerals, while Snyder claims that the church engages in harassment and that free speech is not absolute. It will be interesting to see how the Court decides this case.

As preposterous as his ideas may be, I am hesitant to say Phelps does not have the right to express them, as long as he is not preventing the bereaved from assembling and participating in the funeral. I think the folks in La Plata had the right idea; outnumber the whack jobs and beat them at their own game. Let the homophobes have their signs and their hatred. We'll fight back by supporting our friends and neighbors with love and acceptance. We'll comfort the bereaved, welcome the outcast, accept those on the fringes. If we can do this, there will be so much less room for those who spew hatred.


  1. Someone is bound to knock the shit out of this hate monger.
    What an idjut and so are his idjut munchkins.
    They don't have the sense to come in out of the rain.

  2. Wow, standing ovation for the good citizens of MD that spoiled the asshat's party. I hope we'll get front row seats when karma lays a big kerwallop on Phelps head.

  3. People like him bring a bad name for churches and I am so happy to know that he was outsmarted this time. Thanks for this post.

  4. I had heard about this 'church' and their inappropriate demonstrations at the funerals of soldiers. I had not heard about La Plata's proactively rendering them impotent. Good for them! Almost makes me not want to leave MD after all---almost.


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