Tag Archive | "Bill O’Reilly"

A National Disgrace

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When Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder lost his life in Iraq on March 3, 2006, he set into motion a chain of events that leaves me wondering when the Constitution of the United States of America was shredded and discarded like so much junk mail.


Although Lance Corporal Snyder died in a non-combat related vehicle accident, he’d gone to Iraq to serve his country.  His inner call to duty came just months after he’d graduated high school in 2003.  Enlisting in the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Matthew was assigned, in August of 2004, to the Combat Logistics Battalion 7.  This battalion was deployed to Iraq, where Matthew met his death.


As Matthew’s body was en route back to his native Maryland, his grieving family planned, and indeed anticipated, a solemn ceremony commemorating his life and commending him to his Maker.  The family was denied this right when a Mr. Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church burst into the proceedings with jeers and placards dishonoring the dead Marine.  The family was so shaken and righteously insulted that Matthew’s father, Al Snyder, filed a civil lawsuit against the offending parties; he had hoped that this action would prevent other military families from suffering in the same manner.


Al won the first round in court.  However, on an appeal, the judge reversed the decision, citing the defendant’s “right to free speech.”  To add further insult to injury, the dead soldier’s father was slapped with court fees of $16,000!  Refusing to have his son’s sacrifice desecrated, Al then brought the case before the Supreme Court, where it awaits a decision.


I learned of this deplorable case through journalist Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, who was so outraged that he offered to pay the $16,000 in honor of the fallen Marine.  I don’t know about you, but I am just as angered as Bill.  Something is seriously amiss in our society when we ask that men such as Mathew Snyder defend our country with their very lives while we, in return, refuse to defend them against unjustifiable affronts — and abuse the Constitution in so doing. 


Recently, President Obama surprised our troops in Afghanistan with an unannounced visit.   In a soul-stirring speech in which he vowed to pursue our enemies aggressively and win the war, Mr. Obama also gave his solemn promise that the troops’ families would be cared for while the soldiers themselves “finished the job.”   The part about caring for soldiers’ families seems mere rhetoric in light of the Snyder case now pending before the Supreme Court.  As Commander-in-Chief, I feel that our President’s voice should carry more than rhetoric.  It should defend Matthew Snyder as well as every other enlisted person that serves and protects our country.   Above all, it should question the interpretation of “the right to free speech” when that right is abused, as it so clearly was by Mr. Phelps and his cohorts at the Westboro Baptist Church.

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