It has been said that nothing does more to bring people together, than a common enemy. And while I think it would be going a to a bit of an extreme to call someone like the Westboro Baptist Church an “Enemy”, I would say that they are enough of a foe to the people in general that they almost qualify.
So if you have been reading my work for any length of time, you know my opinion of homosexuality. For those of you just tuning in, that is to say that I am really rather apathetic to it. I pay about as much attention to it as I do any heterosexual couple’s relationship.
With that being said, Westboro seems to place all the wrongs in the world squarely on the shoulders of the Homosexuals, or “Fags”, as expressed in their own words. If there is some wrong in the world, anything from Soldiers dying in the middle-east, to a kid shooting up a school to an educator going on a murderous rampage.
Through their unique class of extremism, this is a group that seems to have done something that others could not, and that is that they have brought people together that would normally not have joined forces. Think about this, when the Klu Klux Klan comes out and counter-protests a group like the Westboros, then you have to stop and consider that their brand of hate actually outweighs the ideals of the KKK. THAT is, in itself, impressive.
The Westboros and their zealots have found a formula to single handedly annoy, anger and generally piss off (pardon the french), almost every group out there. Even some people that I know to be pleasant and menial, get there hackles up when I mention this group to them.
So what does this group gain by their actions? It is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and yet if you do a Google search for this group, you will certainly not be disappointed in the plethora of articles you find. There are so many out there that the mind swims. They are not all bad either… there does actually seem to be some that agree with them and what they are doing, but the percentage, thankfully, is low.
I personally have no grudge against this group as an entity… they have the right to exist just like all other quasi-religious groups in the United States have the right to exist. I see them in the same light that I see the Moonies, Scientology, Church of Satan, etc… They all have the right to practice what they want, as long as it does not hurt others.
And THAT is where my problem DOES start with these people.
Through their actions, they ARE causing harm to others. No, not physical injury, but emotional. By protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers, police and others with their “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” banners, they are not sending anything BUT a message of hatred and anger. There really is no good in what they do, and it is beyond me how they can, in any way shape or form, see a positive message in their actions.
What seems interesting here is that the rights that they have to do what they do are protected, even though a majority of people out there agree that what they do is considered, hate speech, they are, as the Supreme Court has upheld, protected to do so. Thankfully, that right does not include trespassing on private property, which most cemeteries are, and does not preclude others from COUNTER protesting them when they do show up.
Some of the best examples of these counter-protests have been from groups like the Teamsters, The KKK, The Patriot Guard Riders (Bikers), Anonymous, and students, among others, have found some common ground in the need to stand up against this group.
One can look at the diverse groups that are rising to curtail the WBC and say that maybe there IS some good in what the WBC is doing, as a byproduct. That good would be that providing us all with a common evil that we can agree on, we find a way to work together.
I recently posted on my Facebook page a request for people to tell me what they thought about the WBC, and though the response was weak, and briefly overshadowed by someone diverting the subject, I saw responses like this:
“After a major earth change, these people will burn you as a heretic if you disagree with them. Every civilization has thugs like this, unfortunately.”
“Most of us seem to feel that they are bigoted idiots and lunatics who preach hate & violence (which they proudly do), and that doesn’t mean people aren’t for equal rights. If WBC is in their church, preaching whatever brand of venom they want, that is their business. When they spew it onto the rest of us, especially those grieving the loss of a loved one, then it becomes the business of the rest of us. By forcing their way into our view, aren’t they violating our rights to not have to put up with their crap?”
Finally, T.D. wrote:
“WBC and those like them are, or should be, the bane of Christians everywhere. They have set Christianity back at least 500 years. If you ask me, about the only difference between them and al-Qaeda and groups like them is that they have not yet taken up arms. I fear that if left to their own devices, they one day will. It is the duty of Christians everywhere to stand up against them. To let the world know that the vile poison they spew is in no way Christianity. That they in no way represent Christians or the God of the Muslims, Jews and Christians.”
There are more on my FB site and you are welcome to visit it… for the sake of time and space, I only put a few here.
In closing… I wish no ill will to the members of the WBC… They are, still, humans like you and me. They have hopes, dreams, wishes, ideals, just like you and I do. I just wish that they could see that what they are doing is hurting more than helping people. Their actions are selfish and hurtful to the people that the protest. No matter what your religion, I cannot see that as how G-d would want us to act towards others.
Thanks for your attention and time.