Thursday, November 1, 2007

Individuals Count: See the Snyders

I've posted a few times about Albert Snyder. He's the father of Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder, who died in a Humvee rollover in Iraq.

He's also the man who is trying to stop the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, from defaming more soldiers, and intentionally inflicting harm on grieving families.

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), which has no connection to any Baptist association, apart from the name, is under the impression that God hates America (it's one of their slogans) because America tolerates homosexuality. And that's making their beliefs sound as sensible as possible.

After the WBC started harassing mourners, some states and the American federal government passed laws that help control 'demonstrations' at funerals.

Albert Snyder has taken efforts to control WBC's outrageous behavior to the grassroots level. He sued the WBC and won a judgment against the WBC's leader yesterday.

The WBC says it's appealing that decision. No surprises there.

Two points here.
  1. Mr. Snyder is struggling in what I believe is a good cause, and he needs help
    The law firm that's representing him isn't charging fees, but Mr. Snyder has to pay for the research, getting papers, that sort of thing.
    He's been getting some financial support, but as of this morning, he's around $50,000 (USD) short. And, he's not in the class where that's petty cash. Albert Snyder's website,, spells out how you can help.
  2. Individuals make a difference sometimes - and this is one of those times.
    Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder died while helping America get Iraq on its feet: A job that I think makes America (and all countries that don't have the bin Laden / Mullah Mohammed Omar seal of approval) safer. If he hadn't been there, part of that job wouldn't have gotten done.
    Albert Snyder is trying to slow down a group that's dedicated to breaking the morale of American soldiers and their families. He may encourage other individuals to resist lunatic ravings. So far, Mr. Snyder has succeeded in diverting WBC's resources from their usual activities: quite likely saving the family of some fallen soldier a great deal of grief.
    Even Fred Phelps, WBC's leader, is making a difference, albeit a negative one. His twisted mutant clone of Christian beliefs is hurting the targets of his hate-pickets, and seems to be keeping his followers in a state of rage: and that isn't healthy.
Why bother?

I'm not against free speech. But the WBC has, in my opinion, gone far beyond expressing their opinions. Their "God Hates America" demonstrations seem to be dancing on, or beyond, the edge of trying to damage the morale of American soldiers and their families.

And that's something I don't think is right.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.
Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.