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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Supreme Court will hear case against Westboro Baptist Church

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

There is a church that even Pat Robertson would call f***ing crazy: Westboro Baptist Church

"Methinks thou doth protest too much..."

I strongly support the first amendment, but I have a real problem with the way this "church" operates. Members of the church drive around the country in a van staging protests. They hold signs and love to say, "God hates ____." There is a time and a place for everything, and they seem to always pick the worst times and places to express their views.

One protest at a military funeral led to a lawsuit when the father of a Marine killed in Iraq sued them for emotional distress. A federal court awarded him a $5 million judgement, but it was overturned by a federal appeals court. The US Supreme Court has now agreed to hear this case.

I especially believe that funerals are no place to hold a protest. Our soldiers are not responsible for the war - they are only following the orders they receive our leaders. Westboro needs to be protesting in Washington, DC, and not at the feet of our fallen soldiers and sailors.

I would be interested to hear your comments about this case: How should the freedom of expression for the protest be fulfilled without compromising the freedom of expression of the funeral? How do you think the Supreme Court should rule in this case?

I've previously posted two blog entries about Westboro which follow:


Long Beach Wilson High Students Drown Out Anti-Gay Protestors
Friday, February 19th, 2010

The students of Wilson High in Long Beach made me very proud of them for their brave stance against hatred.

The following article was written by Ryan ZumMallen at LBpost.com

Thousands of Wilson High students staged a peaceful rally against a handful of anti-gay protestors outside their campus this afternoon.

Demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas planned to stage an anti-gay demonstration outside the campus but were drowned out by the peaceful but spirited cries from students that spilled into the streets under police supervision.

"They wanted to make the school proud," said Wilson High co-principal Sandy Blazer. "It was a nice, peaceful day considering we had 4,500 kids out here. I knew they would protest hate in a respectful way."

LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser was also on hand.

"The kids and others that came did a great job of passive resistance," he said. "It was a great day where Long Beach came out to say that hatred is not in the heart of this community."

Please visit LBpost.com to see the photographs.


Fred Phelps wins the 2007 Asshole of the Year Award!
Thursday, November 1st, 2007

As a disabled veteran, I strongly believe in the first amendment, but there is a time and place for everything. Fred Phelps just picked the wrong time and the wrong place to be an asshole. I crossed paths with Phelp many years ago, but I haven't spoken about it. The last thing I want to do is give him publicity. Many years ago the saying was, "Any press is good press" - but that isn't true anymore. Bad press is posted on the Internet, and it never goes away. Phelps finally crossed a line, and I can no longer remain silent.

What has gotten me so stirred up? You may remember this guy and his "church" protesting the funeral of Matthew Shepard. Matthew was tied to a fence and beaten to death just because he was gay. Phelps started a website and held signs saying "God Hates Fags" at Matthew's funeral. The "church" then made it a habit to protest at the funerals of AIDS patients and anyone else they thought was "not worthy to live".

Now Phelps and his band of heathens are protesting at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. He says that God is punishing the US for our tolerance for homosexuals, and so God is killing our soldiers. I can't think of a word strong enough to express the disgust I feel about this man! Our soldiers and sailors did not start the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Given a choice in the matter, I doubt any of them would be fighting overseas. Losing a son or daughter is hard enough on a family. It takes a real low-life scum to intentionally cause their family more grief and distress. To make things worse, he likes to hold up his "God Hates Fags" at the funerals for people who weren't even gay. If he wants to wave signs and protest the war, he should do it under Bush's nose and not at the funerals of people who died while serving the country they love.

They finally protested at a funeral where the family fought back. The group held their protest at the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder. Snyder died in a vehicle accident while serving in Anbar, Iraq. The father of the marine took the church and it's leaders to court, and the jury awarded the family $2.9 million in compensatory damages and $8 million in punitive damages. They were found guilty of defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. I don't think the punishment wasn't harsh enough.

Phelps and the members of Westboro Baptist Church, who constantly spew their hatred for others, is a disgrace to people who are genuinely religious. They are a total embarrassment to Baptists around the world, and the city of Topeka, Kansas where the "church" is located.

There is no doubt in my mind, this disgusting group of people should now rightfully hold the title of "2007 Asshole of the Year"!


The kids at Wilson High in Long Beach handled it much better than I did - didn't they?

-- Gary Wright II

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