Mar 4, 2011
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the rights of the Westboro Baptist Church and their 40,000 christian followers to protest at funerals of fallen American hero’s and target Gays and Lesbians with emotional violence has a silver lining for our community. The ruling also applies to us.
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a grieving father’s pain over jeering protests at his Marine son’s funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. All but one justice sided with a fundamentalist church that has stirred outrage with raucous demonstrations contending God is punishing the military for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.
The 8-1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was the latest in a line of court rulings that, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court, protects “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”
The decision ended a lawsuit by Albert Snyder, who sued church members for the emotional pain they caused by showing up at his son Matthew’s funeral. As they have at hundreds of other funerals, the Westboro members held signs with provocative messages, including “Thank God for dead soldiers,” “You’re Going to Hell,” “God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11,” and one that combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, with a slur against gay men.
Westboro Baptist is a christian church based out of America’s bible belt in Topeka, Kansas. Pastor Fred Phelps and his outreach ministries preach the gospel of Christ often employing controversial street ministering to take the word of god to the American public. Pastor Phelps and his christian follower often hold signs claiming “God Hates Fags”, “Fags Must Die”, “AIDS Cures Fags” and other bible based messages.
The Westboro Baptist Christian Ministry claims a congregation of over 40,000 followers across the United States. Westboro is far from a fringe group with numbers rivaling even the mega-churches of Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Pastor Rick Warrens’ Saddleback Valley Community Church and even Pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church.
All the pastors listed above preach against the evils of homosexuality to their congregants and actively work against Marriage Equality.
Christian ministers around the country are telling their congregations to arm themselves and prepare for civil war over Gay and Lesbian equality. Many pastors are encouraging their christian followers to directly confront the “evil homosexual” even telling them to call us “faggots” to discourage Gays and Lesbians from coming out.
It is time we take our equality fight to the very churches promoting violence against us. Gay and Lesbian Americans must start protesting every Sunday morning in front of the christian churches preaching discrimination and lobbying against Marriage Equality.
Christian churches are no longer off limits to the “angry faggots pushing an agenda”. If the message “God Hates Fags” is coming from the christian church then that is where we must confront it. Remember the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that we have a right to do so.
Until christians start taking responsibility for the evil being done in the name of their religion all churches are equally to blame for the discrimination, violence and death inflicted on Gay and Lesbian Americans.