Here are just a few of the responses FOXNews.com and Capt. Dan Sukman received in response to his June 20 Soldier's Diary entry, entitled "Church' Protesters Show Up at Soldier's Funeral."
On behalf of Christ followers everywhere, please accept my apologies for what some are doing under the guise of the church. They neither reflect the heart of Christ nor His church. The church is people who are followers of Christ. The church is not a building. Thank you for what you are doing for our country. There are millions who are for you compared to the dozens who speak against you. I am proud to be a Christ follower and proud of all who are serving our country in the military. —Pastor David Noel, Columbus, Ohio
I was one of the riders in Arkansas to honor Helmut's brother. What an inspiration the town was! For the procession from the church to the cemetery, people came out from their businesses and stood along the street with flags; some of the 'old guys' stood saluting the entire procession, and it was a long one. It was a bit difficult to see at times, with a tear or two affecting my vision. There are approximately 37,000 members in the PGR [Patriot Guard Riders] now. And we will attend any "mission" we are able to, regardless of whether or not the idiots are there. We are there to honor those men who made the ultimate sacrifice, and if necessary, shield the grieving family from the protesters. I have two sons in their 20s; it is just unimaginable to me what the families must be going through. And if we can ease the pain, just temporarily, then we must. Keep up the good work. —Ron
I wanted to respond to your latest column, 'Church' Protesters Show Up at Soldier's Funeral.' I don't know all the details of what transpired. I'm sorry to hear that of your soldiers' loss. It's always terrible to hear of a soldier's death. I wanted you to know that the response from the Westboro Baptist Church is not the response that should have been given. And for that I am sorry. I have no affiliation with that church, but it always pains me to hear when people protest in the name of Jesus. As you stated in your column, none of us are sure what Jesus would have done. I can tell you one thing ... the response should have been one of love and "how can we support your family in this time of need." That's what Jesus called us to do. …I will make a commitment to you that I will pray for you and your men on a daily basis. I hope that you will continue to write and I look forward to your many other insightful words! Keep up the good work. Thanks! — Jeremy
[E-mail subject line: I'm the one that stood on the flag (and spit on it), which is the only thing to do with that butcher's apron. Get over it already you damned idolatrous fool!]
We at Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) have incessantly studied the Scripture, and what we did in ***, Ark., is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ would do. He said, "let the dead bury the dead" (Matthew 8:22 and Luke 9:60). We at WBC (on our own time and money because of our love for our neighbors and the absolute sovereign God who created your weapons of war and holds your breath in his hands, pursuant to Leviticus 19:17-18) did that family a great service in Arkansas by warning them to flee the wrath to come. It's too late for their dead soldier; is it too late for the surviving family and community? If that dead boy could tell them, he would say listen to those preachers from WBC (read the last half of Luke 16 for a reality check).
You cannot fight for a country that hates God and despises all of God's judgments and commandments and expect to have any hope of heaven. (That is the opposite of "fruits meet for repentance" pursuant to Matthew 3:8, which one must present to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to exhibit you are not going to hell. You have that duty also, Captain!). This country in all its institutions have reprobated themselves and made God their enemy. There is no honor in that. There is no glory in that. That existence is only shame and disgrace of the eternal variety. In that situation, the burial of that soldier is properly described in Jeremiah 22:19: "He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." Quit pretending that you bloodthirsty beasts are fighting for freedom in Iraq, when the first time someone in ***, Ark., (me) exercises some of that freedom to preach to your fellow hell-bound soldiers you advocate their immediate death sanctioned by the police powers. We know that you simply reflect the attitude of a sodomite nation which has far exceeded the violence of those who surrounded Lot's house in Genesis Chapter 19. —Jonathan B. Phelps
I am [Helmut and Helmut's brother's] aunt and would like to thank you for all you've done for Helmut. I see the diary entry on FOXNews.com generated some positive feedback of which I'm thankful and was not surprised by the Phelps entry, as they are obviously so desperate for attention they are programmed to spew their hate automatically. The outpouring from town and state was tremendous and greatly overshadowed anything that church tried to pull. The only thing I resent deeply is the worry and angst they caused Helmut's mother, who was already overwhelmed with the lost of her son. For that I will not be able to turn the other cheek but instead will take solace in knowing what awaits them in hell. Thanks again and stay safe over there! —Aunt Marcella
First, thank you to you and your men and women. In the past three weeks, North Dakota has buried three (and is about to bury another) soldier(s). At the three funerals, the same group of idiots were there to protest. One thing I think is REALLY important is that if it were not for our soldiers those people would not have the freedom to protest. So, those morons are exercising the freedom to express , which they have because of our men and women in uniform. As for the Freedom Riders (Patriot Guard), God bless them all. They were at every funeral. And just like "Helmut" said, in Bismarck, N.D., people were lined up for miles in their cars, on bikes, motorcycles, and on foot waving their American flags. I hope that the families felt some peace in knowing that N.D. and the U.S. (most of us, at least) support the sacrifice given by their loved one and every soldier that risks his/her life keeping us free every day to do what we do. God bless you Captain, your men and women, and all of the U.S. military around the world. May God be with you and your soldiers. —Debbie, Bismarck, N.D.
I really do love your letters. I just joined the Patriot Guard tonight in response to your recent article. I am disgusted by these people who denigrate our service men and women. I am a Navy brat, so I know firsthand the sacrifices military families make to protect this country. Thank you so much for your protection. God Bless you Sir and you are in my prayers. —Trudy Kurz, Houston, Texas
My comment has to do with the reporting, or should I say lack of reporting, on the brutal killings of Army Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston and Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras, Oregon. This is something that should be on the front page of every newspaper in the United States and should stay there for months so the people here learn what kind of animals our troops are dealing with on a daily basis over in Iraq. The Abu Ghraib prison story was front page news for months and months after the story broke and managed to anger most of the world. Now, why don't we show the rest of the world what our husbands, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and daughters face every single day over in Iraq? People are too easy to forget what happened on 9/11 and how brutal these animals over there are. Yes, we "humiliated" some prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison, but we did not mutilate, decapitate and dishonor their dead. People are forgetting this is a WAR. War is not fair, not pretty. Whether you support the war or not, our families are over there fighting to make life better for others and something like this should not be taken lightly. —SSGT & Mrs. Thomas W. Funkhouser, Georgetown, Texas
Dear Captain Dan,
Thank you for your diary entries. Your entries confirm my belief that we are truly helping the Iraqi people and also confirm my faith in people. So, when I read your latest entry, June 16, I was shocked to hear about the 'church protesters' attending the soldier's funeral. I had heard of instances such as this from my aunt, who lives in the Midwest. I am a Christian and I know that this is not something that Jesus would do! Jesus was and is a compassionate being. He loves everyone and suffers when we suffer. I pray for the troops daily (my son-in-law is in the Marines and has had two deployments to Iraq. My husband is retired military, so I have experienced the separations and concerns with deployments.) I am sorry that Specialist 'Helmet's' family had to endure the heartlessness of these protesters, who were only seeking notoriety in the papers! I realize that reporters have to report on all sides of the picture, but they should have a heart and refuse to give the protesters the time of day! May God Bless you and your soldiers. You are in our prayers.—Ramona Shinn
Hi Capt. Dan,
We lost a Marine in my son's unit; he died August 1 last year from a checkpoint suicide car bomb in Hit. These same stupid protesters showed up here. They also showed up at our church one day because our church has a ministry to people who are homosexual wanting to come out of the lifestyle.
They are all from the same family; the preacher, his kids, their spouses, and their children, etc. Not much between their ears, or in their hearts. Our state (Oklahoma) is working on banning protesters at private funerals because of this. But let me tell you, to attend one of these funerals and see these protesters 'dwarfed' by the support is a heart wrenching and proud moment. Our barely 15-year-old daughter was moved to tears almost immediately when we attended our guy's funeral. All of today's youth should be made to see what it costs to be free. —TC, Tulsa, Okla.
I just read your entry about the soldier who lost his brother and had to face protesters at the funeral. I hope all of you know that they are a minority, and they don't matter. The rest of the country is so proud and thankful for all you do. I hope you and your men remain safe and I look forward to the day when you can all come home for good. —Michele
I am from Topeka Kan., the home of the infamous Westboro Baptist church, which regularly protests our soldiers' funerals nationwide. I am also an ordained Baptist minister of an extremely conservative nature. I must condemn the actions of Westboro Baptist 'church,' and its wannabe pastor Fred Phelps as intolerable. From a theological standpoint, their beliefs are apprehensible, and anti-scriptural. As an American, there are much worse sins and crimes that should be protested. Although the Scriptural practice of public preaching and public evangelism is a long lost art in America, WBC's actions certainly do not fit within the confines of Scripture. The Christian's command is to preach 'the gospel.' Jesus Christ never commanded any of His followers to protest the funerals of any soldier, regardless of whose side they fought on. The mission of the Christian is strictly spiritual, not political. WBC's actions are blight to our community here in Topeka. Most of us here are 'immune' to their nonsense, but it is an embarrassment to us to be associated with this group of bible perverting heretics. It is a double embarrassment for me, since they claim to be Baptist. They most certainly are not Baptist in word, action, thought, or in any other way. My most sincere apologies to you and your friends. Thank you for defending our freedom. —Pastor Stephen E. Schwenke, Topeka, Kan.
My brother was spit on at O'Hare when he came back from Vietnam, those people at that "Baptist" church are no better than the 'spitters' of the 1970's. I am pissed off at those people. Just showing support to your soldier's diary as I read it all the time. —Alex Goloskewitsch, Denver
First let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with you and every soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the globe. I am a Christian man, with a deep-seated faith in God and in his love for people. Those idiots for that so called church are no more followers of Jesus then I am a Kentucky Derby winner. They are a farce and the represent a twisted view of God and His love. I know you state in your column that you aren't a very religious person; well I'm not either, at least not in the sense that the world defines religion. True faith is a relationship with God and it is expressed with a love for others and a love for the things of God. Rest assured that I would have been there with SPC. 'Helmet' in opposition to those pathetic excuses for humanity that bring shame to themselves. Be safe and stay the course, those that truly Love God and proclaim the message of Jesus, are in daily prayer and support for you all. —Jerry Yeager, Shelbyville, Ky.
Please reassure SPC 'Helmet' that for every one of those putz protesters, there are thousands upon thousands of Americans who respect, honor and pray for fallen soldiers such as his brother Bobby. We thank God that you, PFC 'Helmet' and your comrades have the courage and conviction to protect our freedom.
I read your article regarding SPC "Helmet" and his brother's funeral. I get sick to my stomach every time I think about the people from that "church" in Kansas and their protest vigils at the funerals of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. I'm a native of Kansas and I'm also a Baptist and I know we weren't raised to think like that in Kansas and I know there is NOTHING in the Bible to give them the brain dead approach they are taking. I admire SPC Helmet's forethought in having the Patriot Guard line up in front of the "church" members while holding our flag. I also admire his restraint. I don't know whether I would have had the restraint as a young man had it been my brother being buried and those Neanderthals showed up to mock his funeral. We greatly appreciate for all you and the other servicemen are doing for our country in fighting the battle in the Middle East so it doesn't have to be fought on our shores. May God watch over and keep you and bring you home safely. —Bill Lamb, Goose Creek, S.C.
To PFC 'Helmet,' I hope that you realize in your heart of hearts that your country supports you and all the sacrifices you and your family have made on our behalf. Please don't let the actions of a few pusillanimous protesters and ingrates sully the image of what largely is a grateful nation. May God grant you and your family peace in what must be an incredibly difficult time for you. I pray that you find comfort in the fact that your brother is at peace, and I offer my humble thanks and respect for the sacrifice you all have made. —Jeff Williams
I just wanted to comment on the story regarding the death of PFC Helmet's brother. I am so sorry that he and his family was subjected to the protesters that plant themselves at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. I am also grateful to the Patriot Guard that came to their rescue. Please know that the majority of the country mourns for the loss of his brother as well as the many others who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We also support and salute all of those who are still giving of themselves in order for others to taste the freedoms we take for granted. I am so proud of all of you and want you to know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. —Sheryl D. Piper
Most Christians, including myself, have been horrified by the actions of this one church in Kansas. They do not represent the views of anyone other than themselves. Anyone who serves our country deserves the utmost respect and gratitude. —Ellen Scoby
Thank you for sharing your diary with us everyday Americans. Thank you for your service to our country. Relating to your June 16 entry, my opinion of homosexual "acceptance" in the United States is disgusting. It weakens any nation and is evil to the core. However, to use the homosexual issue at a hero's funeral is beyond disgusting! My prayer is that these misguided religious fanatics go back home any study their Bibles much deeper. I am Lutheran and I am here to tell you and your buddies that you are loved, supported, and prayed for every Sunday at our church. —Robert Herridge, Sealy, Texas
Hi Captain Dan,
I'm from Kansas. I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate and thank every single one of you in our armed services, especially you who are in Iraq. I am a Christian, and raised Baptist. This so called church is not a Christian church. They are made up of hateful, bigoted people who are all from the same family. Their 'pastor' is a deranged, pitiful man who has brainwashed his family and their whole lives. They speak only lies, and should not be allowed to speak at, much less attend, these funerals. I'm hoping somehow, someone will make a ruling against these people. Please tell Helmet how sorry we are. I have talked to a lot of people here in my hometown, and no one can comprehend how this 'church' can get by with this type of behavior. We are blessed to have men and women who sacrifice their time, talent, and sometimes their lives to keep America free. Thank you from the depths of our hearts. God bless you! —Cindy
I just wanted to let you know this has been addressed: I am not sure where it is in the process, but I'd read where the government is looking to pass a bill restricting ANY type of protesting at funerals. I applaud the Patriot Guard for their efforts in protecting the families of our fallen hero's at their funerals. I do believe these people should be shipped to Iraq for a 'day in the life' before they are permitted to exercise their 'freedom of speech.' Peace to you. You are still my hero. —Ginny, Gun Barrel City, Texas
I concur that the hate-filled protesters are reprehensible. It amazes me that they only get called on the carpet when they disrupt military funerals. No one said much when they did the same thing at Matthew Shephard's funeral. They were there too, yelling that Matthew deserved to be killed for being gay. As harmful and destructive as these activities are to the families of fallen soldiers, imagine how gay Americans feel when exposed to it every day of the world. —Tedi Elliott
Dear Capt. Dan,
I just read your story regarding SPC 'Helmet' and am infuriated that people claiming to be part of a church would have the nerve to insult a fallen hero. All of the men and woman servicing on behalf of the United States of America are true heroes! You all should be treated as such! On behalf of my family and many other people, thank you for serving and protecting all of us back home. Please also relay to any and all over there our thank you and let them know that we do support them and believe in the cause. —Bryanee Shearl, Minneapolis, Minn.
I read your article on the funeral and the 'church' from Westboro. As an evangelical Baptist pastor, let me reassure you that that group and their leader do not, I repeat, do not represent the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians from any denomination you might mention. I served in the military from 1965-1967 at Fort Hood, Texas at the height of the build-up for Vietnam. Most of us as Christians are strongly committed to our country and to those who choose to defend it. Please relay to 'Helmet' that we are 100 percent behind our servicemen and we are 100 percent behind the mission. Do not be deterred from your objective. Ever since the war began, I have been part of a group who have been praying for individual soldiers by name. I am adding you and 'Helmet' to my personal prayer list. —Jerry L. Propst
Sir, I just read your diary on FOXNews.com. I'm currently stationed at Ali Al Salem AB in Kuwait. I hate hearing about those 'church' people showing up at funerals and wish your troop would not have been subjected to the hate that the radicals in the U.S. possess. I'm in the Air Force, so I'm not subjected to the 'action' that you are, but I have a huge respect for what ya'll do upcountry. Let your troop know that I, as well as the rest of my pals here that read the article, pass on our regards to 'Helmet.' Keep your head down and get home safe, sir. —SrA James Demoney
"When are you guys going to learn? This is an illegal war! Period! Your illustrious president and his gang know exactly what buttons to push. In this case it was the patriotic button. Ok, what we are doing is illegal but once we send the boys over the people will get behind it. And they did. Bush and his gang are playing the American people like a cheap violin. And who is paying for it, the lost of life on both sides. Only don't cry about the loss of American life only. Let's talk about the many lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who never did anything to anyone in America, Britain, Italy, France, and so on. You see, America invaded Iraq not the other way around. So when you bully someone, well. You see, I come from a military family all branches were served in. I still got a brother in the Air Force. So I don't want to hear any red, white, and blue rah, rah, b.s. There is no democracy, when you shove it down peoples' throats at the barrel of a gun. Besides, there is no democracy in Islam. Islam is ruled by Kuran and Sunnah. This is why the fight is so hard. One is fighting for god and the other is fighting for a flag and an elusive patriotism. One more thing I'd like to point out is that I am by no means a pacifist. I will fight, but I will never fight for any country that would use its people for cannon fodder, and so the elite can get richer. You are fighting a war you can't win. You guys should be demanding that Bush bring these guys home. If you are not going to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, then there should be no crying over the loss of American life when you are fighting for a criminal. — Sayfud-deen Tayamullah
Dear Captain Dan,
I am a loyal reader to your column and in reading your most recent post about 'Helmet' and the protesters from Kansas, I feel I must apologize. What is heartbreaking is that this so-called Church has been doing this for years. They protest everything, absolutely everything. It is disgusting, heart breaking, and a disgrace to the State of Kansas. I think it would be fair of me to say that I speak for most Kansans in saying that we do not agree with their beliefs or tactics. I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone fighting and thank you for the sacrifices you have made so that I may sleep soundly at night. —Denise
I was deeply disturbed by your article on FoxNews.com. I have personally seen these 'protesters' before at funerals and I understand how Helmet would want to commit murder. These people are "legal terrorists" because they terrorize emotions. And wonderful good Americans are fighting to build a democracy such as our own that allows these 'protesters' to say anything they want. Sometimes the freedom of speech needs to be considered to how much hate and discord that some 'speech' creates. People who protest our mission in Iraq need but spend one day in the middle of Baghdad carrying their signs. Thank You and all members of the military for what you do. I too, was proud to serve my country during Vietnam. God bless you and your family and God bless Helmet and his fortitude! —David M. Anderson, Casper, Wyo.