The father of a Marine whose own son’s funeral was subjected to hateful protests by picketers with Westboro Baptist Church is now displaying the ultimate in forgiveness, pleading that the founder of the anti-gay group ought to be granted peace upon his death.
“I believe he has the same rights as everybody else should have, that he should be buried in peace,” said Al Snyder, about the death of Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, in a statement to Military Times.
Mr. Snyder sued Westboro after members picketed the funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matt Snyder, killed in Iraq on March 3, 2006.
The group members carried signs outside the service that read, “God hates you,” and “You’re in hell,” and even “Semper Fi [expletive for gays],” Military Times said.
It was Mr. Snyder’s case that wound up in the hands of Supreme Court justices — who ruled in 2011 that the Westboro group had the right to picket and protest in public.
Shortly after the ruling, Mr. Phelps was ex-communicated from the group. He died in a Kansas hospice Thursday after a log illness.
“I do not like Westboro Baptist Church,” he told Military Times. “I don’t have anything nice to say about them, but if I had anything bad to say…it would put me in the same category as him, and I don’t want to be in that category. I don’t like hate.”