Monday, February 4, 2008

Little Hate-house on the Prairie

Fred Phelps and family. These people SUCK.

Now that most of the hubris and smoke has cleared surrounding the death of Heath Ledger, I may as well say something. Thus far I had assiduously avoided doing any commentary on it, because I don’t want my blog to become another lame tabloid. I stopped commenting on the ongoing Great Britney Meltdown of ’08 when it became painfully clear that the chick had jumped the shark and was really sick instead of just being a dumbass. She’s got a serious mental illness, and poking her through the bars with a stick just feels wrong now, like the neighborhood brat throwing rocks at the short bus. Of course, I could always start in on her sister but here’s just no challenge anymore in ridiculing a train wreck the magnitude of The Spears Family.

Heath Ledger’s death came as a shock, completely unexpected, a tragic waste of potential and a young talent silenced too soon. I saw many of his films and as a whole enjoyed his body of work. If you’d asked me a couple weeks ago to pick an under-30 Hollywood star who would die in 2008, I’d have penned a list with all the usual suspects, and Ledger would not have been on it. Britney? Of course. Lindsay Lohan is ripe for a psychotic episode pretty soon. An Olsen twin could have choked on a grain of rice. Prior to pulling her head out of her bony little ass this past year, I might have said Nicole Ritchie. Former American Idol contestant Jessica Sierra seems well on her way to candidacy. However, I still say it’s Britain’s Favourite Mess, pop chanteuse Amy Winehouse, who’ll end up on a coroner’s slab if she doesn’t successfully complete the rehab she entered last week. But Heath freakin’ Ledger? Never saw that one coming, not one bit.

But I digress.

Anyways, I really was going to let this subject drift away into the ether except for one little sideshow to the main media circus that reared its ugly head and really chapped my ass. Thankfully, Ledger’s family opted to keep the funeral arrangements quiet and private, opting to fly him back to Perth, Australia for burial, because those ignorant asshats of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas publicly stated that they were going to picket and protest the funeral. Why? Because Ledger played a gay character in the film “Brokeback Mountain”.

I’ll let you digest that little crouton for a minute…since it just smacks of coherent, educated forethought, doesn’t it?

This “church”, made up almost entirely by family members of its founder, disbarred Mississippi lawyer Fred W. Phelps Sr., has made a name for itself (and a rather shitty one at that) for doing such wonderfully Christian acts as protesting military funerals across the country with placards bearing shock-value messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers." These cretins believe soldiers are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan as punishment for what they say is the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. A press release circulated by the WBC stated, “Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there.”, and a verbal statement said,” “God hates fags. The wrath of God has been revealed before the eyes of this nation with the death of Heath Ledger. … This nation worships the dead almost as much as they worship their filthy sex acts. America is doomed.”

The organization runs various web sites, including,, and others that condemn lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jews, as well as populations it believes are supporting the aforementioned groups, including Swedes, Canadians, Irish, British, and Americans. Great Christian values, no?

I first heard about these vile creatures on, of all things, the Howard Stern radio show, back when it was still on regular broadcast radio. He brought them on to ridicule them and showcase their arrogance, ignorance, and intolerance, and ironically their mouthpiece had no idea she was being mocked as she earnestly babbled on about God hating fags and even had the audacity to put her own brainwashed elementary-aged child on the air to spout the same venom & vitriol. If not for the zeal in which the child proclaimed that “God hates fags”, it would have been almost comically nonsensical. Instead it was coldly scary.

I have a lot of friends in the gay community. I’m proud to have them as my friends. A couple of them are Gulf War veterans who served to defend this nation so that the WBC would have the freedom to even exist, which is painful in its irony.

Just today, a Maryland judge upheld an award of millions of dollars to the family of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, a 20-year old Marine killed in a vehicle accident in Iraq. In a 52-page decision, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett upheld a jury's verdict in favor of Snyder’s family for enduring emotional distress and having their privacy invaded by WBC members waving anti-gay signs at the Marine's funeral in March 2006.

The FAQ section of their website states that, in their view, soldiers did not join the military out of a sense of patriotism, but because they are "lazy, incompetent idiots" unable to find work elsewhere. The WBC has characterized the AIDS Memorial Quilt as "100,000 living fags slobberin' around 45,000 dead fags" and declared Elizabeth Taylor, a fundraiser for AIDS research, to be a "world-famous filthy Jew whore." Other regular anti-homosexual slogans of Westboro include "Homosexuality = Death," "Fags Die, God Laughs”, "AIDS: Kills Fags Dead" and "Ellen DeGeneres is a Lesbian Slut."

Look, I’m all about free speech. I exercise it daily. I understand that it’s protected under the the Constitution, the same Constitution that I swore an oath to protect and defend back in 1987 when I enlisted. However, this goes well past free speech to hate speech and their protests border on hate crimes.

Last I knew, not that I profess to be a biblical scholar by any means, God did not hate gays. After all, why would God hate something He made? Why in His infinite wisdom would he willingly and knowingly create a human being just to hate? I thought your Christian God was all about love, tolerance, and forgivenes? If God should hate anything , He should hate charlatans posing as a church, spreading dissent and hate and vitriol against folks who aren’t heterosexual, an actor who played a fictional role, and brave soldiers who died in the service of a free country that allows these creatures the right to pervert the values of religion into ugly bigotry.

Evil is as evil does.
Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder, USMC
7-18-85 to 3-3-06
Semper Fi, Matt

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