By Bryan Hess –
Westboro Baptist Church is known for their extreme beliefs towards homosexuality. They believe that God is punishing America with tragedies because of our tolerance of homosexuality. That church also feels that homosexuality should be considered a capital crime and all homosexuals should be put to death.
When Westboro was taken to court by Albert Snyder, of York, who sued after church members picketed at his son’s funeral, they won the Supreme Court decision 8-1. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roberts stated that Westboro’s protesting is protected under the first amendment.
Also in the majority opinion, Roberts wrote that Westboro used signs that related to a public concern and were not specifically directed toward Matthew Snyder or his family.
The signs that said things such as “You’re Going to Hell” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” were displayed at the funeral of Matthew Snyder, who did just happen to be a soldier fighting for this great nation. The church also notified authorities in advance they would be protesting Matthew Snyder’s funeral. It’s obvious to almost everyone that Westboro was directing their hateful protest towards the Matthew Snyder. Unfortunately, their were eight people who didn’t see the connection.
Also on Westboro’s website, the church posted a poem titled “The burden of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder”. In the poem, the church states that Albert and his wife raised Matthew for the devil. This is another example of how Fred Phelps, head of Westboro, and his crew attacked Snyder and his family.
Justice Samuel Alito said it perfectly in his dissent. Westboro could have protested any public place they desired, such as the US capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court, US Naval Academy, or any public road or park.
This wouldn’t suit the publicity hungry Fred Phelps. The church could care less about spreading their word, because if they did, they would go about it in a way in which people would listen. In protesting funerals of fallen soldiers or any other person for that matter, no one will listen to the “message” they are trying to get across because they will be grieving. The church protest funerals for the sole purpose of gaining national media attention so Phelps and the rest of this church can become famous for being idiots rather than spreading their religion.
Westboro plan to protest the funeral of actress, Elizabeth Taylor. It’s almost a certainty the church won’t show up just as they hardly ever do. The church was also supposed to picket at Millersville University a year ago as well as the funerals of the Clouse children. The church notifies media ahead of time and lets them know of their intentions to picket, then ends up being a no-show. They do this because they still get the media attention without having to do any work.
It’s obvious to everyone that what Westboro Baptist Church is doing is wrong. But in their years of protesting funerals, there have been very few attacks on the church. Many, including myself, are shocked at this number. After causing so many families painful funerals and burials of their loved ones, this church has been left alone. Is it because we are afraid if the we stand up to them, they will sue us just like they have done to the city of Topeka several times, or could it be that maybe in a world filled with immoral acts, no one is willing to stoop down to the level Westboro Baptist Church is on.