You would think that an organization that claims to work for God would have compassion and understanding for victims of violence. However, the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas is only promoting more hate as they plan to picket the funerals of the six victims that were killed outside a Safeway store during a political rally on Saturday.
This church has been known for inciting violent declarations against gays, Jews, and even the U.S. troops. Their proclamations are shocking and the statements they put out not only endanger people everywhere, but they also are a slap in the face to these innocent victims and their families.
Fred Phelps, leader of the supposed church plans to picket every one of the six funerals including the funeral of the nine-year-old girl, Christina Taylor Green who was killed. His reason?
“Your federal judge is dead and your (fag-promoting, baby-killing, proud-sinner) Congresswoman fights for her life. God is avenging Himself on this rebellious house! WBC prays for your destruction–more shooters, more dead carcasses piling up, young, old, leader and commoner–all. Your doom is upon you!”
Please someone tell me how this is allowed. Whatever you might believe or not believe about Sarah Palin and her misguided, ridiculous crosshairs map, the statements of Phelps and his congregation, and their subsequent picketing are actual calls for violent action and should be treated as such.
An anti-protest is also set to take place similar to the one that was held when the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards. Participants in the anti-protest plan to wear giant angel wings to block the sight of the protesters for friends and family attending the funerals. During the protest at the Edwards’ funeral, supporters created a human shield of sorts to prevent the family from seeing them and also sang carols and hymns to drown out the chants coming from the protestors.
As if our kids aren’t confused enough about the recent shooting, they now will see picketers on the news rallying against victims who were shot while simply attending a political rally at their local supermarket. As if the families in mourning aren’t grieving enough, they will endure being insulted and harassed during this horrendously tragic time in their lives.
It makes no sense (not even to us adults), so how do we explain to our kids? I think we start by telling them that even though a group of people claim to be a church, we should not blindly listen to their hateful beliefs. Any normal and decent church goes out of their way to help people. As pointed out by Carolyn just one month ago, hatred can make people crazy.
Maybe we can also stress that even despite all the recent hate surrounding this story, good people still do exist and we shouldn’t become tainted by the hateful ones. We can also explain how the anti-protesters are willing to stand up to hate and help the families grieve and heal. They are the good examples in this story. We can tell them that they can be the channels of goodness in their classroom, on their block, and they can be the next generation that creates change. And we can say that no matter if you are religious or not, you always have the chance to do good, to help, to be an agent of change — and if everyone chooses good, what a better place this world would be.