Where do we draw the line between freedom of speech and hatred? I asked myself this question several times over the past few weeks, and have still not found an answer. There are pros and cons to the First Amendment. The pros are that everyone has a voice, and has the freedom to state their opinion without being persecuted by the government, employers, or anyone else. The cons are that some of those people are crazy. There’s no way around it, they’re just stone cold nuts. But because we’re a fair country, we still let them speak their mind. Now, some groups of people have such demented opinions that they’ve been labeled as “hate groups” by the government. Such groups include the KKK, for obvious reasons. Sadly, one group is not placed in this category, despite their constant hateful messages and disruption of the peace. No, I’m not talking about Neo-Nazis or racist bigots. I’m talking about a church.
Clarity is always good, so let’s start with some. The “church” I’m referring to is the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas. While they are legally recognized as a religious organization, I’ve never seen them as a church. If you’ve never heard of the WBC, I’ll give you a summarized description of it. It’s composed of a small number of members (the last time I heard, it was around 40), most of whom are all members of the same family. Sounds somewhat normal so far, right? Well, that’s where it stops. They differ from any other church I’ve ever seen, as their main mission is to warn Americans that they’re disobeying God and they’re all condemned for it. I’ll admit, I’ve heard this from a few other places. But for the WBC, that’s just the start.
The Westboro Baptist Church is infamous for their anti-gay message. Most churches under the Christian umbrella will preach that homosexuality is a sin, but that’s about as far as they care to discuss the issue. The WBC not only condemns homosexuals, they blame homosexuality for nearly every bad thing that happens to America. They call homosexuals “fags,” and anyone that lives in a society that tolerates such people, “fag enablers.” They advocate that “God hates fags,” and “fags doom nations.” It’s still unclear to me why these people blame homosexuality for all the problems in America, but then again I can’t even begin to wonder how their warped minds work.
So they’re a church that condemns gay people. That’s not really new, but they take it so much farther than any other religious institution. Members of the WBC protest at the funerals of dead soldiers. Yes, they show up at the funerals of the men and women that gave their lives to protect their country, with signs that say things like, “thank God for dead soldiers.” Their motive? You guessed it, gay people. They condemn soldiers that defend a country of “fag enablers,” and say that these dead soldiers are now in hell. There’s no need to explain why this is hatred, it’s pretty obvious. It’s also worth noting that even the KKK has tried to counter-protest the WBC. Seriously, when a hate group tells you that you’re being too hateful, it’s a sign that you need to stop. But because of the First Amendment, they’re allowed to do this. Again, the major con of free speech.
Since they don’t directly say that they hate soldiers or gay people, they apparently can’t be immediately classified as a hate group. According to them, “God hates fags,” and they’re just messengers. Now, the WBC has been picketing soldiers’ funerals for years. It’s crazy and demented, but it still goes on. But two weeks ago, they crossed a line. I can’t say I’m surprised by their announcement, but that doesn’t make it any less sick and twisted.
Following the tragic massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a prominent member of the Westboro Baptist Church named Shirley Phelps-Roper tweeted that they planned to picket at the funerals of the victims. Shirley said they would “praise God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.” No, they weren’t kidding. These people were going to travel all the way to this small town, stand within earshot of the funerals of kindergartners, and wave signs that said “God sent the shooter.” Words cannot describe how much this angered and disgusted me when I read about it.
Forget religion, and forget free speech. Anyone with even a hint of a moral compass would see that these were children. Innocent, harmless children. They were murdered in cold blood by a maniac. Their families are in shock, and grieving. Their entire lives were uprooted in one day, and still the WBC was going to picket these funerals. Thankfully, the hacker group known as Anonymous worked tirelessly to prevent this from happening. Nevertheless, is it not enough evidence? These people wanted to celebrate the deaths of innocent children. It doesn’t get any more insane than that.
You may be trying to find a point in all this information, so here it is. We have to stop letting people abuse the First Amendment by using it as a shield when they promote a hateful, despicable agenda. The Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group, there’s no arguing that point. So isn’t it about time we recognize that? If we can legally recognize them as a hate group, their ability to do these psychotic protests would be limited. What if Anonymous wasn’t there when the WBC decided to picket the Sandy Hook funerals? Those poor families wouldn’t have even been able to lay their loved ones to rest without these nutjobs disrupting it. It’s time we stop this nonsense, and stop giving the WBC an umbrella to hide under.
I know we talk about politics and parties here on the blog, but this isn’t about any of that. It’s about seeing what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s completely delusional. With that being said, I’m asking for a favor. I’ll never ask for anything from our readers, except this one thing. There are two White House petitions that have been created, to put an end to the WBC’s funeral-protesting, hate-composed agenda. This petition serves to legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group, and this one requests that the tax-exempt status of the WBC be reviewed. They don’t do anything helpful, and they don’t deserve to be given the same perks that actual churches in this country are given. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time to sign these two petitions, and every signature counts. We’re not putting up with this craziness any longer. I thank you for your signature, and your time if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post. Happy holidays.