One group that really puts my beliefs to the test is the group headed by Rev. Fred Phelps. Phelps and his group has gotten their yahoos from attending the funerals of AIDS victims with offensive anti-gay hail and brimstone protest signs. They get off on terrorizing grieving family and friends during the darkest times in their lives.
Now this group is going to military funerals saying that US soldiers deserve to die on IEDs as God's punishment for the United States "harboring homosexuals." Again, Phelp's group completely violates the tradition of giving grieving family and friends the dignity and space to say goodbye to their loved ones. All human beings deserve that -- it is just common decency.
I was against the invasion of Iraq and are appalled by the gross negligence and incompetence of the planning and direction of the conflict in Iraq. My ire has been always directed toward the civilian leadership of Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and crew, never the troops. The troops have been put in an impossible situation where they feel an overwhelming duty to serve our country and their fellow soldiers in being in Iraq. They go in our name, regardless if we agree with the policy that sent them there. So, we are obligated to receive all who serve with the dignity they earned.
Phelps and his group have constitutional right to speak and protest peaceably, but they also earned the right to be scorned and have their so-called Christianity called into question. Personally, I believe Phelps doesn't deserve the label of reverend, because nothing he does resembles what Christ would want.
This is why I praise the bikers, the Patriot Guard Riders, who are using their first amendment rights to drive to all the funerals to protect friends and family of the fallen from Phelps harrassment. I say HAZZUH to the Riders. Good for you!