Family Matters
Finksburg Soldier Dies, Idiots Protest the Family Funeral
March 2006
Hugh Jensen

March 3rd American’s lost another family member. Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder (age 20) was killed in an automobile accident. Lance Cpl Snyder’s family didn’t ask for special favors, they didn’t make an issue of the loss of their son. They simply wanted to mourn the death of their loved one. Apparently that was too much to ask of some right winged radical, prejudice Baptist Church group from Kansas. This display of human injustice is rewarded by coverage on all major news stations accompanied by photos of their messages and their filthy selves. The media, including the Carroll County Times should be ashamed of themselves.

Every day, our soldiers put themselves in harms way to protect our way of life. In times of peace they protect our borders. They train and prepare endlessly to shield American’s. These warriors make certain the Game of War is an “Away Game”. As an American and as parent, I thank god every day for these brave young men and women.

American’s know very well the sting and hurt that accompanies the sudden death of a loved one, especially a family member. Our military people are part of everyone’s family.

It sickens me as an American, as a parent and as a person who has family members in the military to witness the disrespect for human dignities demonstrated by this family of “Christians”. I am speaking of course about the shameful and cowardly demonstration staged by the Reverend Fred Phelps, Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas and his family members on Friday March 11th 2006 at St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster. Hiding like cowards behind their signs and sunglasses these church members protested the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder.

Regardless of the beliefs the Phelp’s have. Right or wrong, honorable or insane, leave mourning families alone. As a message to the Phelp’s as you leave Maryland, “What you did was hurtful and wrong. You should be ashamed for using your children to garner attention and to protect yourself from the crowd.” You are nothing more that cowardly extremists.

Perhaps if American’s were to protest the Phelp’s and their followers at their homes, places of worship, work and school, perhaps if messages of hate were communicated to them while they shopped, when they stopped at a red light, and when they walked down the street they would realize the disgust we as American’s feel towards them on a personal basis. No one remembers your message. We only remember the radical cowards hiding in the distance. Perhaps the church they claim to attend should remove the pastor from office for crimes against humanity.

There is a time and place for everything. American’s like Lance Cpl Snyder fought and many died for the freedoms we all enjoy. A soldier’s funeral (nor anyone else’s funeral) is neither the time nor the place for such a demonstration.

Finally, a message to the media. Please stop photographing these people. When the media stops covering them they will go back where they came from and mind their own business. The report in the Carroll County Times and on several news programs could have stated that a few idiots protested the funeral of a fallen soldier and end it there. Don’t mention the radical cause. Don’t publish their photo’s and signs. Your reporters should be ashamed of themselves as human beings. This is no different than publishing a grotesque photo of a loved one who had died at an auto accident. Regardless of what your instructions were from your editor, sometimes, as a person you need to step up and do the right thing. Maybe the Carroll County Times should do what is right just because it is the right thing to do. Perhaps we should all mention how disappointed we are to Isaac Baker and Ari Natter when we see them. I wonder how Baker and Natter would feel if their family was confronted in a similar situation. How would they feel if the funeral of their spouse or child or parent were protested and “covered thoroughly”. I have lost a lot of respect for the Carroll County Times and specifically for these two reporters for this flagrant misuse of process.

When the media stops covering the Phelp’s, they will stop protesting soldiers funerals.

I am certain every American who saw or read about the incident got a sick feeling in their stomach and a pain in their heart. I know our family did.

”Family Man”
Hugh Jensen

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