Phelps, spiritual leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, leads his band of cretins to funerals of servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan where he and his coreligionists hold signs that say things like, “God hates fags,” “Thank you God for dead soldiers,” and “Home of the coward.” On his website, Phelps states that “military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play Taps to a fallen fool.”
Phelps’ thesis is simple; the violence America experiences, manifested in dead and wounded servicemen, is punishment from God for tolerating homosexuality. And it’s not just homosexuals that Phelps hates; as an equal opportunity hater, his list of enemies is long and varied and includes Catholics, Jews, intellectuals and the poor, you know, the usual suspects rounded up and killed by wannabe fascists. Phelps has carefully mined the bible for support for his claims that homosexuality, Catholicism and Judaism are abominations, but more importantly, that God is hateful and vengeful.
So, here’s the hard part; I hope Snyder doesn’t win. As odious and vile as Phelps’ speech is, it is still protected by the 1st Amendment. When Phelps’ band of misfits and morons protested Matthew Snyder’s funeral, they did everything the local police told them to do: they stayed 100 yards away from the cemetery entrance, stayed within a designated area, made no attempt to disrupt the services outside of their very existence and dispersed, on schedule, before the ceremony concluded. Despite their message of hate, their speech and conduct are protected by the Constitution.
By denying Snyder his victory, the Supreme Court will guarantee each and every one of us the right to worship as we see fit or not worship at all. The dozens and dozens of churches in our small county indicate that, even within a fairly homogeneous community like Lincoln County, there is no agreement on which way to worship is correct. You can sit, stand or kneel as you see fit, sing or not, sway, bow or speak in tongues, and nobody has the right to deny you this inalienable right granted to you by your creator, especially the government.
That being said, when arguments are concluded, one can only hope and pray that newly seated Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan makes her mark on history by vaulting over the bench and socking Fred Phelps in the nose for forcing the justices to side with his noisome and hateful bigotry.
Just so you know, Phelps is bringing his filth to Kentucky this Saturday where he plans to protest at a memorial service for another dead Marine being held in Corbin. In the past, counter-protesters have ringed the Westboro Baptists and shielded family and friends of the deceased from Phelps’ awful spectacle of hatred and intolerance; bring the whole family.