By Sonja Eide / Assistant Opinions Editor
By Sonja Eide / Assistant Opinions Editor
The Westboro Baptist Church is at it again.
If you’re not familiar with the name, perhaps you’re at least familiar with their message and the way they carry it out: publicly protesting homosexuality and other subjects they find ‘decadent’ while toting signs that proclaim anti-gay statements.
They do this everywhere–including at funerals for homosexuals, all, they say, in the name of God.
This time they’ve become even more prominent in the news after protesting the funeral of a dead marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.
They are calling his death punishment for the tolerance of homosexuality.
There is no indication whether Snyder was gay, but that certainly did not stop them.
The marine’s father, Albert Snyder, was justly upset and decided to sue the organization.
The appeals court ruled against him, and he was ordered to pay a whopping $16,510 for the church’s legal fees, adding insult to injury.
Many people across the nation have expressed an overwhelming outcry of support for Snyder and have vowed to donate to help him pay off the ridiculous fees.
Even the infamous Bill O’Reilly has offered to foot the bill, calling the ruling an “outrage” and lending Snyder his support.
While it is truly despicable that these people are allowed to continue their protests and they plan on using Snyder’s payment as funding for their demonstrations.
It’s disheartening that raucous, fiery public voices was only heard when the church apparently went too far and attacked a man who died serving the country.
But what of the hundreds of funerals for gay men and women that the organization has remonstrated against?
Why is it only when this deplorable affiliation–that masquerades its homophobia and hateful ways as religion–goes after a soldier that it gets nationwide coverage?
Where is Bill O’Reilly or his equivalent when the families and friends of gays must put up with this church attacking their deceased loved one?
Perhaps one can reason that because Snyder fought back, his case received more coverage, and more coverage means more sympathy.
One thing is certain, though: this is an opportunity to flagrantly disparage this revolting organization.
Unfortunately Wesboro’s extreme views and ways are still protected by first Amendment rights.
It is not a matter of rights now–it is a matter of right and wrong, of morals.
Riverside City College had its own run-in with the church in 2008 after Fred Phelps and his gang revealed their intent to protest the campus’ production of “The Laramie Project.”
Though many people in the community organized a counter-protest, the church never showed.
While it’s infuriating that Westboro would attempt to demonstrate against a play that serves to combat homophobia, it is inspiring that nearly to 300 people gathered to denounce the church’s objective and battle hate.
It’s not enough, however. Westboro Baptist Church still travels from one city to the next and broadcasts their intolerance to the world.
While they may be considered ridiculous and a joke, the fact that so much hate still exists in this world is disturbing.
The roots of inequality and hatred run deep.
Make no mistake: they affect everyone.
Just ask Albert Snyder, a man who was forced to endure the public shaming of his son because one group of people is allowed to run amok and spread their repugnant views like an infectious disease.
Maybe this time, the general public will become more aware of this organization’s aim and realize just how horrible the views this church promotes are.
Maybe now, after seeing children wave signs reading ‘Thank God for dead soldiers,’ people will react with an overwhelming passionate discourse against this congregation of people.
Maybe the majority will react like the community that surrounds RCC and aim to erase hatred, instead of ignore it until it breaches their moral spectrum and gets their attention.
Maybe someday–just maybe–people like Bill O’Reilly, will speak up against Westboro’s message and not just the way they promote it.
Maybe people will stop tolerating intolerance.
Only time will tell.