Red Eye: God Hates Total Bastards
After last night’s heated – but fruitful – Twitter debate over the TN house fire, I promised to write a silly post. Sorry, but it turns out I lied.
It’s time to tell a little story.
As many of you know, I am teh ghey. For years, I’ve lived by myself. I’ve had relationships on and off, but I’ve pretty much remained a solo act. And a large part of the reason behind that can be summed up in one word: Derek.
I met Derek when I was 24 or so. Derek was 27. We were instantly in love. Within months, not only were we an item, we moved in together. And, within a year, the horrible news came: Derek was HIV positive.
(Not that it’s anyone’s business, but to stifle any potential rumors, I remain HIV negative to this day.)
Derek and I struggled with our relationship. We were young, and fierce love is often tempestuous. Also, having such a new and fragile thing burdened by a life-ending disease is really, really hard.
Eventually, I moved out of Derek’s apartment and got my own place. Derek’s behavior had become unstable and erratic. Months later, on November 24, 1991, Derek died of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a virus of the brain common in AIDS patients.
If you are a rock fan, this date may be familiar to you. It is also the same day Freddie Mercury died.
Within a day or so, I was watching the news, when a pastor came on the TV playing a song on a xylophone and singing in a horribly atonal voice. The lyrics were forgettable, but the subject was not: Freddie Mercury died of AIDS. Ha ha ha! Burn in hell you faggot.
Thus began my “love affair” with Fred Phelps. I don’t know if it was actually Phelps on the TV that night, but within years I began to hear of the Westboro Baptist Church and its famously gay-hating pastor.
Years before Phelps and his family branched out to protesting at the funerals of politicians and, most disgustingly, dead American soldiers, they protested the funerals of gay people.
They were there when Matthew Shepard was laid to rest.
Oddly enough, one of the first stories I heard on FOX when I started watching “Red Eye” was the story of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died tragically in Iraq.
Obviously, I felt for Snyder’s family. Snyder’s father suffered the indignity of listening to the Westboro Baptist lunatics when he laid his beloved son and an American hero to rest. He sued. The rest is case law history.
Yesterday, the case reached the Supreme Court. Opening statements were heard in the case of Snyder v. Phelps, and the story once again hit “Red Eye.”
Like the entire cast and guest panel, I feel a lot of outrage when I think of Phelps. What he and his family do is sickening. But it’s not new. He’s being doing this for 20 years. But now he’s made a “fatal” mistake: he’s protesting American heroes.
When Shepard died, we all felt badly, but some people wondered what made Matthew so special. Why should he be held up as an example when so many people of all genders, races, religions and orientations are killed senselessly and violently every year. A tragic, tragic story, to be sure. But there are so many.
Now, Westboro Baptist is targeting our war heroes. Our defenders. Our beloved sons and daughters who have given everything to defend our freedoms. The very same freedoms behind which the loathsome Phelps (who was a celebrated civil rights leads in decades past, oddly) who is using the first amendment as a shield to behave in a way so divorced from decency and sense, it is hard to wrap one’s mind around.
But, like the cast and guests of “Red Eye,” I have to grudgingly agree he has the right to do it.
As Will Cain so brilliantly stated
What these dirtbags have to say is highly offensive, but that’s why it’s the perfect test of the first amendment.
He’s right, of course. No one is going to wind up in front of the highest court in the land because he said, “I love puppies and balloons and all the little children of the world.”
At least, not yet.
These guys are a dime a dozen. They can be handled privately, not legally.
And, to paraphrase Mike “Spy Goo” Baker
I can’t imagine the horror of having these people show up at your son’s funeral. I have to agree with Will on this. This is why we have the first amendment.
Greg Gutfeld wondered
If repugnant speech is freedom of speech, why can’t beating the crap out of them be performance art?
It was a statement of humor mixed with utter frustration. We all know what Phelps is doing is wrong on every level. Except on the level of strict legal interpretation. But this is where the human spirit triumphs over the letter of the law.
The cast wondered collectively why people aren’t out there protesting them. While I know of no such group, I do know when they protested Matthew Shepard’s funeral, a group of citizens blocked the mourning family from the angry, subhuman mob.
Now, there is another group: The Patriot Guard Riders
While countering Phelps isn’t their sole purpose, they will attend military funerals at the invitation of the family, and will peacefully protect the mourning from any protesters.
So there is a counter effort, I’m happy to say. But they’re patriots, not publicity whores. They care about the dignity of our fallen, and of the dignity of their families, so they don’t exactly advertise.
I’m so, so sorry for the family of any fallen soldier who has had to endure the trauma of the “God hates fags” freaks showing up to mock the their grief, but I have to hope Phelps will win the lawsuit. We cannot afford to let the lives of our fallen have been given in vain.
Once again, here is an opportunity for we the people to transcend the letter of the law and embrace its spirit. As private citizens, we can show the true nature of the American spirit. We can protect the families. We can block the protesters. We can make the difference the government can’t and shouldn’t.
Think of the difference we could make. 12 idiots of “God Hates the USA” signs show up … and meet 500, 1,000, 5,000 people with American flags all proclaiming love, peace and the true beauty of the American spirit.
I share the pain of the Snyder family, because I’ve experienced something like it, myself. The difference we can make is more powerful than any decision a court could hand down.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, Freddie Mercury and Derek Curtis Morris. And to all the fallen who are missed and, above all, loved.
“Red Eye” air date – October 7, 2010. Guests: First-timer Diane Macedo, Will Cain and Mike Baker. Cast: Host – Greg Gutfeld, Sequential Hermaphroditic Sidekick – Bill Schulz and Ombudsman – TV’s Andy Levy
The views in this post are entirely my own (except where I’m quoting.) Neither “Red Eye” nor Fox News endorse or support my “Red Eye” posts. I am not affiliated with the show in any way, other than being an avid fan.
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