Dead U. S. soldiers don't go to heaven.
That is one reason why members of the Westboro Baptist Church protest at their funerals, according to lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Monday in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, sister of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, is challenging ordinances banning funeral protests in the eastern Missouri communities of Manchester and Pevely, claiming that the laws violate the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion for Ms. Phelps-Roper and other church members.
Ms. Phelps-Roper and the ACLU recently won a battle with Laclede County officials, who agreed to a consent judgment which allows the church members to protest in that county any time they want.
The church is still challenging the state of Missouri's laws and has won a preliminary injunction stopping the state law from being enforced.
In the petitions filed in the Manchester and Pevely lawsuits, ACLU attorneye explained the church's beliefs:
"Plaintiff is a resident of Topeka, Kansas. She is a member of WBC. WBC follows Primitive Baptist and Calvinist doctrines. Based on these doctrines, church members, including Plaintiff, believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination. They believe homosexuality is an abomination, integrally related to idolatry, and indicative of the final reprobation of an individual; it follows, according to their beliefs, that acceptance of homosexuality by society prompts divine judgment. They further believe that God is punishing America for the sin of homosexuality and other policies of sin by killing Americans, including soldiers. Because God is omnipotent to cause or prevent tragedy, they believe that when tragedy strikes it is indicative of God’s wrath.
The petition also includes a notation that "(Ms. Phelps-Roper)and her church believe that the scriptures teach that an individual who dies on the battlefield for a nation that is at enmity with God cannot go to heaven and, despite the views of public figures and the public at large, is not a hero."