It’s Not Your Funeral

March 9th, 2010

Inspired by Supreme Court to rule on funeral protests (Washington Post 3/09/10). Please read and comment on my poem, commentary, and videos.

 “I had one chance to bury my son, and they took the dignity away from it.” – Maryland’s Albert Snyder, whose son Matthew was killed in action in Iraq. Snyder sued the Westboro Baptist Church after they picketed his son’s funeral with signs reading “God Hates the USA,” “Thank God for 9/11,” “Semper Fi Fags,” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” He won, but was reversed on appeal and is now appealing that reversal  to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court announced yesterday that they would accept the case.

You make me sick, “Reverend” Fred Phelps,

And I’m not even gay, as if that helps.

I saw the Post article, so I did some research

About your Westboro Baptist Church.

You’re wondering why the quotation marks, I suspect.

They’re because the title “Reverend” indicates respect,

And I have none of that for you

Or your blatantly un-Christian humanophobic view.

The purpose of your funeral protests is emotional attack.

Isn’t there any common decency you hold back?

Like all zealots and terrorists, you justify evil in service of your cause,

You hurt innocents without compunction or pause.

I’m in favor of gay rights, so I’m sure you think I’m evil,

And I have just as little regard for your views medieval.

If you read my blog, I’m sure you’ll conclude I’ll burn in Hell.

If you’re right, I’ll look forward to seeing you there as well.

I’m one of those “gay enablers” you revile,

But I think you’re the one that Christ’s teachings defile.

Bob Dylan said (and I think Jesus would agree),

Don’t hate nothin’ except hatred. (Why not try it and see?)

Dylan, as you know, was born a Jew

(I saw on your website that you hate them too).

He turned Christian, but I guess not enough for you.

I noticed one of your hate videos included him too.

I can’t think of a better illustration

Of why America’s not a Christian nation.

You sir, are the reason, for separation of Church and State.

Thank God the Founding Fathers those two didn’t conflate.

You give Christianity (and Kansas) a bad name.

God’s truth is not what you proclaim.

If you had your way, we’d go back to stoning,

But you’re the one who for his sins should be atoning.

If you hate America so much because we no longer criminalize gays

And see that as a sign of the End of Days,

I suggest you move to Afghanistan–

You’ll find more philosophical fellows among the Taliban.

I’ve never said this to anyone before,

But in your case I really am sure:

You Sir (and please listen)

Are definitely no Christian.

If I were as rude and cruel as you,

I’d be planning to picket your funeral too.

Based on your picture, you could go any day.

What will you do if it turns out Jesus was gay?


PS to my gay readers:

Don’t feel bad that Westboro hates you

They hate Obama, Jews, Catholics, and America too.

In fact, if you look at their world map you’ll see

They seem to hate everybody equally.

And just remember, they’re creating a divide

That will put more and more people on the right side.

Besides, doesn’t it feel good (though maybe a little strange)

To be the US instead of the THEM for a change?


Here’s your chance to (in part) make up for Citizens United

Rule that protesters can’t come to funerals uninvited.

Westboro’s “speech” clearly meets the “fighting words” test,

And should not at a funeral by the Supreme Court be blessed.

They’d still be able spread their odious “message” elsewhere,

But at funerals for our fallen heroes? No, not there.


PS to America:

This is the face of bigotry and hate,

Though I know that some of you to anti-gay goals relate.

For those that don’t like their methods but “understand” what they want to do,

Do you agree gays should be put to death too?

That’s what they say it will take for God’s anger to be gone.

So tell me, America, whose side are you on?


PS to the rest of the world:

Don’t think these nutcases represent America’s population

Or that we view them with admiration.

It’s (thankfully) a very small group

That to tactics this disgusting would stoop.

They’re neo-Nazis, pure and simple,

America’s small but unsightly ass pimple.


PS to the Patriot Guard:

Please keep on doing what you do

(Maybe someday I’ll get a bike and join up too).

What you do makes me (and America) proud

(And it helps that your bikes are really loud).

You served your Country before, now you’re serving Her again.

Be proud of that service, both now and then.

And PS to the Phelps family:

I know you look upon the world with disfavor.

But don’t worry: the world returns the favor.

It’s not your funeral, but someday it will be.

And then you too the face of God will see.

Then you’ll finally learn what’s true:

That God doesn’t hate anyone, not even you.


Here’s your theme music: Bob Dylan’s It’s Alright Ma, including the line quoted above.


Speaking of mothers’ crying, here’s another wrenching story about another one of Westboro’s funeral protests.  

Here’s a news report about the Snyder family’s ordeal.

Here’s another very relevent song, Which Side Are You On? by Pete Seeger.

And here’s Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance (The Phelps’ really hate her).

Here’s a documentary (“Church of Hate” about the Phelps family.

And last but most definitely not least, here’s a video about the Patriot Guard, a group of motorcycle-riding veterans (and some non-veterans) who attend funerals that Westboro is protesting and peacefully interpose themselves as a shield between the Westboro protesters and the mourning family, waiving big American flags to cover up Westboro’s hateful signs and when necessary, revving their motorcycle engines to drown out Westboro’s hateful message.

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2 Responses to “It’s Not Your Funeral”

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    […] Not a way to get attention from the press, […]

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