Church Says, ‘God Is Punishing the U.S. for Tolerating Gays’
The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas picketed the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, carrying signs that read "You’re Going to Hell," "Semper Fi Fags," and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." The church's pastor and members say God is punishing the United States for tolerating homosexuality, and our dead soldiers are a result of his wrath, that is, according to the pastor and members of the Westboro Baptist Church who has a membership of fewer than 100 people, who are mostly family.
20-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder died in a Humvee accident in Iraq, but here’s the shaking part… he was not gay. But I guess his funeral was picketed because he was a soldier in an army that tolerates gays. Picketing a funeral is a tasteless action that shines a spotlight on insensitivity. It takes a heartless individual to kick a grieving person in their weakest and most vulnerable moments. It is obvious that any church that would take such action has no regard for salvation since salvation involves compassion, a trait that the Westboro Baptist Church clearly does not exhibit. Sadly, there are still some people who think that God is an old man in the sky, with a big stick that he whacks us over the head with whenever we miss the mark of self-envisioned perfection.
Why are believers so quick to judge others? Should it make a difference whether or not a soldier is gay? Why should the personal sexual preference of a soldier determine whether or not they are allowed to serve in the U.S. armed services?
Unlike picketing cowards that attack grieving families, one thing I can say is the fine young men and women who enlist in our armed services, gay or not, are extremely heroic individuals. Volunteering to sacrifice their lives so that we may continue our daily activities uninterrupted, such bravery is worthy of heroism. These courageous soldiers endure some of the harshest conditions imaginable, only to return to their homeland to be put down by anti-gay activist groups like those of the Westboro Baptist Church congregation.
God Judges the Heart
The irony of this story is Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder died for this insensitive religious idealist group of self-righteous, supposed to be Christians who conceive that a person’s worth is determined by some meaningless external factor. These are the kind of people Jesus described in the Book of Matthew when He said, “…hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to me, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).
In the Christian faith, the prerequisite to salvation is based on an individual's faith, not their works. This church of religious insurrectionists uses the letter of the law outlined in the United States Constitution to publicize their anti-gay messages. The church says it is merely exercising its freedom of speech, but to gay soldiers and their families, they are preaching a message of hate. Such action is not at all a Christian-like characteristic.