There is beauty in the Constitution’s guarantee that every person in American has the right of free speech, and although it is a noble idea, it does not differentiate between good free speech and vile, hate-inspired free speech. It is too bad that the Constitution does not prohibit free speech that is in bad taste, or borne of low moral character, because if it did, the Westboro Baptist Church would certainly be banned from the United States. Unfortunately, the courts have upheld Westboro’s right to disrupt and protest solemn assemblies when gay soldiers’ funerals are held, and now, the group planned to protest former Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ funeral because Apple is considered a “gay-friendly” company.
It is not important that the kind, loving Christian members of Westboro may have had difficulty finding Jobs’ private funeral service, but that their sense of godliness and entitlement gives them a forum to pronounce with certainty that Jobs is going to hell. For the record, Jobs did not necessarily believe in the mythological heaven or hell because sources claim he was a Zen Buddhist and in that practice, myth has no place, and neither does god.
The Westboro founder’s daughter, Margi Phelps, ironically used an Apple iPhone to post the announcement of the impending picket and protest of Jobs’ funeral and she said, “Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell. God created iPhone for that purpose! ” First, it is not often that one incredibly evil person makes such inane comments in two sentences. Ms. Phelps must think she is god because she decided that Jobs is in hell. It has been said before that if any person hears the voice of god tell them something, they must be schizophrenic. So either Phelps knows without a doubt that Jobs is in hell because her delusion is that she is indeed god, or she is evil beyond belief. Based on the Westboro website, GodHatesFags.com, and the thousands of demonstrations the church’s members have conducted over the years at gay events and military funerals, Phelps is just evil.
The Westboro website claims that a “modern militant homosexual movement” poses “a clear and present danger to the survival of America.” They boast 46,635 demonstrations since 1991 “at homosexual parades and other events, including funerals of impenitent sodomites (like Matthew Shepard) and over 400 military funerals of troops whom God has killed in Iraq/Afghanistan in righteous judgment against an evil nation.” So, this is confusing, but apparently god used America to fight a holy crusade against Muslims, but he also killed 400 American troops using Muslims? Does that mean that the Taliban and insurgency in Iraq are also god? It is just too confusing.
The second part of Ms. Phelps Tweet said that god created the Apple iPhone so Phelps could tell the world that Steve Jobs is in hell. This is definitely wrong. No deity created the iPhone unless Phelps has assigned god-status to Steve Jobs who was most instrumental in creating the device. There are thousands of engineers in Silicon Valley who would dispute Phelps claim that god created the iPhone and interestingly, they would also dispute her assertion that Jobs is in hell because Zen Buddhist’s just don’t do hell. Seriously.
The one thing that is certain is that if there is a hell, there is a very special place reserved for the Westboro members who persist in abusing the right of free speech by picketing, demonstrating, and protesting private funerals of gay Americans. Phelps said they were protesting because Apple is a gay-friendly company and although it is against their antiquated religious ideology, gay Americans are afforded the same constitutionally guaranteed basic rights as the vile Westboro crowd. The alleged Christian congregation does not see it that way though, and their lack of any respect for the families of dead soldiers who are not all gay demonstrates the lowest moral character and they are very fortunate that law-abiding citizens have enough respect for the rule of law that they refrain from pummeling the demonstrators into the ground.
Phelps said that Steve Jobs did not give god glory and taught sin, but she does not elaborate exactly how he taught sin. Is it because he followed the law and did not discriminate against gays or because his company was forward-thinking enough to hire the best and brightest to develop their products without regard to their sexual preference? Regardless of the Phelps’ dysfunction, they have no right to disrespect Jobs any more than they have the right to demean gay soldiers killed in combat and add pain and misery to their families.
Whether or not Westboro demonstrates at Apple Company headquarters, Mr. Jobs’ funeral, or the next gay service member who lays down his life for his country and Westboro’s right to peaceably demonstrate Jobs’ funeral, they are as despicable and abhorrent to decent human beings as any mass murderer or child rapist. There are not words hateful enough to describe the Westboro crowd and their abusive right of free speech. They are fortunate they live in a country that allows even the lowest form of human to display hateful signs saying “god hates fags” or “god hates America” because in a fair world, they would be subjected to vicious retribution from gay soldiers’ family members and decent Americans alike.
The Westboro group’s actions are not representative of Christians and it is refreshing that there are Christian groups who stage counter-demonstrations against Westboro for disrespecting the dead and especially gay soldiers. Just once it would be brilliant if the veterans groups on motorcycles who protect gay soldiers’ families from witnessing Westboro’s brand of hate at military funerals were allowed to exact revenge for the disrespect aimed at American servicemen killed in the line of duty. In lieu of a proper beat down, one can only hope there is a hellish demise in eternity for the fake Christian members of Westboro Baptist Church. However, as a Zen Buddhist, wishing harm on anyone, even vile pieces of feces like the Phelps and their congregation, is prohibited. Not by any book, or set of rules, but out of humanistic respect for all sentient beings. It is too bad the Westboro assembly lacks qualities that all sentient beings possess; they are less than dirt.