Monday, March 13, 2006

Hecklers bother fallen soldiers' families at funerals

Believe it or not, this time the hecklers aren't left-wing nutjobs like we've seen before, i.e. Code Pinkos running protests outside of Walter Reed Hospital pretending to speak for the soldiers inside, or the Democrat Lt. Governor of PA telling a soldier's family at his funeral that PA was against the war in which he died.

Nope, this time the hecklers are in the form of vile right-wing nutbars from the famed Westboro Baptist Church, originator of the "God hates fags" movement. From Breitbart/AP:
Five women sang and danced as they held up signs saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at the funeral of an army sergeant who was killed by an Iraqi bomb.

For them, it was the perfect way to spread God's word: America was being punished for tolerating homosexuality.

For the hundreds of flag waving bikers who came to this small town in Michigan Saturday to shield the soldier's family, it was disgusting.

"That could be me in that church," said Jackie Sandler whose son Keith is currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

The fringe group of fire and brimstone Baptists from Kansas has been courting controversy for more than 15 years, traveling the country with their hateful signs and slogans.

The Westboro Baptist Church first gained national notoriety when they picked the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998 for being gay.

They have since picketed the funerals of Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton's mother, celebrated the terrorist attacks of September 11 as an act of God's wrath, and have even targeted Santa Claus and the Ku Klux Klan.
So God is punishing the people in the Middle East (Americans, Arabs, Brits, etc.) because people? Not murderers, not drug dealers, not rapists, not liars or thieves...but queers? Now I don't pretend to understand what goes on in the mind of the Almighty, but something tells me that such a theory may be a tad bit hair-brained.

Also, since Islamofascists tend to stone homosexuals to death, I wonder how Westboro's founder feels about that. I mean, if he's a "Christian" (and in his case, I use the word loosely), he must be appalled by Muslim violence, right? Or is it OK when it's against gays?

Fortunately, founder Fred Phelps' influence appears to be contained:
The group is so outrageous that some among the extreme-right have speculated that Phelps is a plant aimed at giving the anti-gay movement a bad name, said Mark Potok, the director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate crimes.

"I don't think they have any constituency beyond their own members - even the Nazis aren't interested," he said.
You know you must be a right-wing crackpot if even the freakin' Nazis don't want anything to do with you!

Maybe we get a glimpse into the basis of Pehlps' warped worldview:
Phelps' virulence and frequently graphic condemnations of anal sex could mask a deeper issue than a radically literal interpretation of the Bible, Potok speculated.

"This man probably thinks more about gay sex than any other person in the United States of America and one can only guess at what that means," he said. "Many of the most homophobic people are deeply afraid that they might be gay."
Phelps can explain to God one day why he focused on the part of the Bible that mentions gayness while he ignored God's commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself." I'm pretty sure God doesn't need my help in dealing with an animal like Phelps.