Image by andyofne via FlickrReally, this just goes beyond the pale. Picketing the school where our President's children attend with racist, threatening, hateful signs?
Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group that goes around the country staging anti-gay rallies at some of the most inappropriate places (e.g. the funerals of former White House press secretary Tony Snow, victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and U.S. troops) with messages like “Thank God For AIDS” and “God Hates Fags.”
I believe in the first amendment. I believe that speech, no matter how hateful and ugly, should not be suppressed. I also believe that allowing speech like this and last weeks' teaparty rally in DC to go unchallenged by those who claim to be 'defenders of liberty' is abhorrent.
At first blush, it appears that Phelps' choice to picket Sidwell Friends school had nothing to do with Sasha and Malia and everything to do with the school's tolerance toward gays. It doesn't hold water with me. Phelps understood that by targeting Sidwell, he's guaranteed a headline somewhere. Props to the students at Sidwell for outnumbering the haters 10:1 and driving them away.
As I said, Phelps is entitled to spew hate, no matter how disgusting it is. The more repugnant aspect of this incident is that I have yet to see any leader for the Republicans, the teapartiers or any other conservative organization condemn it. By turning their head and allowing it to continue, they give an implicit nod of approval to hateful, ugly attitudes that often lead to violence and sometimes, death. Matthew Shepard's death is the best example of that.
Where is Dick Armey's denunciation? Where is Newt Gingrich's? Where is John Boehner's? Mitch McConnell's? Michael Steele's? Dick Cheney's? George W. Bush's?
Let me tell you where they are. Nowhere. For all the conservative posturing about 'protecting the children', when it actually comes down to caring about those children, it's clear that it begins at conception and ends at birth. Last Saturday's health care debate was evidence of that. While women's bodies became the football tossed to conservatives in order to get health care reform through the House of Representatives, not ONE SINGLE pro-family anti-abortion Republican could be bothered to admit the immorality of denying access to health care to the women who carry and bear them. NOT ONE.
At 1:30pm on November 16th, so-called Christian pastors plan to stage a protest outside the US Department of Justice over the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill. Here's their strategy:
The "Rally for Religious Freedom" in front of the Department of Justice in Washington is intended to force Holder either to address the issues or be put in a position of ignoring those who say they are violating the provisions of the federal law, Cass said.
"We're basically going to defy the law, and challenge it," Cass told WND. "We're going to declare the whole counsel of God, including those parts that some may consider 'inciting a hate crime' to see if the attorney general is going to come down and arrest a group of peaceful clergy exercising their First Amendment rights."
Of course, they will spew hateful, horrible slogans and utterly unChristian sentiments. They will behave just like Pharisees in Jesus' time, while claiming to be saving the morality of our country from the immoral. They will be righteous and appeal to the Sarah Palins and Michelle Bachmanns, sanctimonious enough for the Baptists and the Assembly of God loyalists. If we're really, really lucky, they might even show up with some snakes and demons.
They will be allowed to spew, and I predict there will be some conspicuously absent voices as well. There will be no condemnation by Gingrich, Armey, Boehner, Steele, Cantor, McConnell, Bachmann or Palin. They will, with an implicit wink and nod, sanction hideous hate.
This is what conservatives have become, and yet, they try to compare health care reform to terrorism. We know who the terrorists are. Not health care reformers. Ideologues and demagogues peddling hate, fear, and violence on the steps of our nation's capitol.