The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, has long been showing up at funerals of anyone associated in any way with homosexuality, brandishing signs that say "God Hates Fags" and "AIDS Kills Fags." Very charming, I know. But apparently members of the congregation fear that they are not doing enough to get in God's good graces, so now they're showing up at different funerals.
Funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.
Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press wrote this column Monday about his conversation with the church's attorney Shirley Phelps-Raper, er, Roper (also the daughter of the church's pastor Fred Phelps).
Seems there's pending legislation to limit or altogether remove the protection of the 1st amendment's freedom of speech and freedom of assembly within a certain proximity of a funeral.
It's mindboggling to me that this even needs to be considered. As Mitch points out in the column, these psychos have the right to protest because of the very soldiers they're protesting.
The irony of ironies is that on Westboro's web site, there's a link to a PDF called Love Thy Neighbor which highlights Bible passages such as Romans 13:8-10: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
At what point is love entering into what Westboro is doing? These are cruel, hate-filled people who find joy in the deaths of homosexuals and soldiers. What kills me even more is that they claim to be Christians. That means they believe in Christ as the Messiah. Wasn't Christ supposedly the embodiment of God's love? There's that word again, love.
Here's a little something from one of the books of the Gospel, Mark 12:30-31 (this is Jesus talking, btw): Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Now don't you go thinking I'm some Bible thumper, because I can blaspheme with the best of them. It's just that the analytical side of my brain, however small, is trying to find some connection between Christianity and what these demons at the Westboro church are doing.
I just can't find it.
In the end, I wonder this: Westboro has spent years picking on homosexuals, a group you don't typically associate with combat. They might get yelled at, but they're probably not overly at risk of any violence directed their way. But now they're protesting a very different group. How long before some beleagured servicemen/women and their families and friends -- people who are mourning the loss of someone close to them -- beat the Westboro creeps to a pulp or maybe even kill one of them.
I imagine the sound of millions of people erupting with joy at once. And then the sound of millions of people outraged at the legal system as it brings charges against those that did what most of us wish with all our might we could do.
READ HALOSCAN COMMENTS.