First Amendment twisted to hurtful uses by church

The first amendment to the Constitution allows any American citizen the right to establish religion, the freedom of speech, the press, to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas, led by Fred Phelps, have taken the amendment, as well as the word of God, twisted it around, and used it to hurt others for their cause.

According to their Web site, www.godhatesfags.com, the church began conducting peaceful demonstrations at military funerals to oppose “the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth.”

The church has conducted 44,318 demonstrations since June, 1991. One of these demonstrations was the funeral for Marine Matthew Snyder in 2006. The church posted a subsequent blog post on its Web site that further caused distress for his family.

Matthew’s father, Albert Snyder, had had enough. He took the church to court, receiving $11 million in damages for intentional conflict, emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

The award was later cut in half when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the First Amendment covered the church’s protests.

“Phelps’ freedom of speech should have ended where it conflicted with Snyder’s freedom to participate in his son’s funeral,” Sean Summers, Snyder’s attorney, told the court.

I agree with Summers’ statement. While the right to protest is indeed covered by the First Amendment, there is an appropriate time and place to hold a protest. A soldier’s funeral is not it.  

These “Christians” do not seem to care that the soldiers haven’t seen their families in months.  Nor that the family has to deal with grieving and burying their loved one.

Anyone with tact, compassion or morals would feel for the families of the dead, respect the fallen, and give condolences.

But morals don’t seem to be up too high on Fred Phelps’ and his parishioners’ lists. Throughout their Web site, they post out-of-context Bible verses to support their beliefs.

For example: “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. Leviticus 20:13.

Earlier in this verse, it talks about not holding grudges, and love. It’s not about hate at all. But read like this, it sounds like an angry verse.

According to Godhatesfags.com, God hates gays, Jews, Muslims, Obama, priests, Bernie Mac, pro-choice activists, Sweden and America. Looks like God hates everyone except for Westboro.

But that’s just a Web site. According to the Bible, the “word of God,” God loves his creation. He gave his only begotten son to save it, and cast the angel Lucifer out of heaven for not loving it.

The book of Moses says, “Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; but the power of my Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down.”

If Phelps wants to preach the word of God, he needs to preach all of it, not just the part that supports his ideas.

It’s not God who is doing the hating; it’s Fred Phelps. It’s pathetic the way he, and his “parishioners,” use the word of the Lord to justify their ongoing quest to spread hate.

I feel for the families of the soldiers, who have to endure the pain that this sad little man is bestowing upon them, and I find it worse that our court system is allowing all of it to happen.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a strong proponent of the First Amendment. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and they should have the right to voice it. But everyone has the right to bury the dead too, and others should respect that.

This world has enough hate in it, and it spreads like a disease. If the Supreme Court rules in their favor, they might as well be supporting the epidemic.

Westboro reminds me of the KKK, who hated African Americans; Hitler, who hated the Jews; and the Taliban, who hates anyone who is not Muslim.

Westboro is no different than any other, racist, bigoted, or extreme religious group throughout history.

God and gays are not killing our soldiers. They are being killed by terrorists, extreme groups of people that have taken the word of their god, Allah, and turned it into something evil. Sound familiar?  Allah didn’t preach war and hate. He preached peace and love.

The Christian Bible doesn’t preach hate, it preaches love and forgiveness, and while the Bible does explain the wrath of God, it does not say he hates humans.

The members of Westboro Baptist have no respect for our fallen soldiers. They are prejudiced against the gay and lesbian community, and they justify it all with God.

A thought for Westboro: If Americans are so evil, maybe the “church” should take its bigoted, twisted, hateful little group out of the United States, or better yet, practice what the Bible, the book that they revere so much, preaches.

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:18.