Friday, April 9, 2010

Campaign seeks to ban protests at military funerals

The Phelps clan’s idiotic theatrics remain one of the movement for LGBT rights’ most valuable assets to change hearts and minds, but a campaign to ban protests at military funerals has certainly piqued my interest.

More than 467,000 Facebook members
have expressed their support of the effort, which emerged after an appeals court ordered Albert Snyder to pay the Westboro Baptist Church more than $16,000 in legal fees. The Phelps clan protested outside Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's Maryland funeral in 2006. And a federal court in Baltimore ordered the WBC to pay $11 million in damages after it concluded the group's members had deliberately inflicted emotional distress against the Snyder family.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case, but Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has pledged to pay the legal fees the appeals court ordered Albert Snyder to pay.

“Let’s hope that they will see the serious error in allowing these [sorts] of protests to be held at a funeral,” Demonstration for Memorial Day 2010, the group that has organized the effort to ban military funeral protests, said.

The Facebook group’s moderators further discredits the WBC’s justification for its pickets under the heading “Let me set the record straight.”

“Matt Snyder WAS NOT gay,” they said. “The Phelps twisted “logic” if you will, is that God is killing our military members because they are fighting for a country that is okay with homosexuality. RIDICULOUS, right?”

They continue.

“For those of you who need clarification: It wouldn’t make this any less of an issue than… if he was gay, but he was not,” the moderators said. “This is only added so people can clearly understand, as many are confused.”

This clarification certainly carries a bit of irony in relation to the ongoing debate over the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but this campaign highlights an underlying question: Why has this groundswell of outrage against the Phelps clan emerged only after an appeals court ordered Albert Snyder to pay the WBC’s legal fees after its members protested outside his son’s funeral?

As the son of a Vietnam veteran, I certainly appreciate the sacrifice of those who serve in the armed forces--and their families--make. The Snyder family should continue to receive praise and support for standing up to the Phelps clan and their hateful theatrics, but those who support the campaign to ban protests at military funerals must remember fallen soldiers are not the only ones this group continues to put in their cross hairs.