On March 3, 2006, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder died in a non-combat related vehicle accident in Al Anbar province in Iraq. His body was sent home to the family to bring closure to their grief as they buried him.

But the funeral was disrupted.

As over 1,500 people walked outside in the procession, they were distracted by a group of ‘Christians’ from Westboro Baptist Church (where Fred Phelps is pastor) waving signs. These signs had phrases inferring that fallen soldiers like Snyder were suffering the wrath of God due to America’s acceptance of alternative lifestyles. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the news–signs like God hates fags.

What’s different about this situation is that Snyder’s father filed a lawsuit against the group. A jury awarded him nearly $11 million dollars for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. But the U.S.Court of Appeals overturned the verdict on the grounds that the church’s First Amendment right to free expression must be protected.

To make matters worse, the court ordered Snyder’s father to pay the legal costs for the Phelps clan totaling $16,000.

As hard it is to say, this is the correct court ruling. It pains me to admit that, but the law is the law. Fortunately, a citizen came to the rescue and paid the legal costs.

God doesn’t hate ‘fags’. If you ask me, he hates people like those from Wesboro Baptist Church who would do these things to these poor families just trying to bury their dead. As I read the Gospels, I just don’t picture Jesus doing something like this. And neither should his alleged followers.

Yes, I believe God hates people who claim to follow him but misrepresent him. Remember the legend of the Pharisees and Sadducees? God came to love people, especially those hurting and in pain.

*UPDATE: Here is great video of what someone did in response to WBC. Thanks Thomas!