First, this post is a little off topic for me. Okay, it’s extremely off topic. I’ve been keeping up with the whole death of Ryan Dunn and what not primarily because I find sick amusement in the Jackass movies. It happens. His death wasn’t too life destroying for me, either. However, there is one thing that has set me ablaze with anger. Westboro Baptist Church. I know you guys have heard of them. Who hasn’t? They feel it is their right to show up at funerals and memorial services solely to tell people they are going to Hell in a hand basket. Nevermind that most of the services they show up at to spout their nonsense at are for those who died defending their right to protest.
Let’s also not forget that there’s this thing in the Bible that says “Judge not, lest ye be judged. For with that judgement, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” I’d like to think that a place like WBC would try to advocate that sort of thing, but no. They’re too busy telling homosexuals that they are going to rot in Hell. They’re too busy telling us who God hates. Hell, they probably think my fellow horror writers are destined for the same fate, for certainly the tales we weave are un-Godly, no?
That aside, I suppose what really set me off is the public’s response to one state standing up against Westboro. One state who took their brother into their arms and supported his choices in life. One state who stopped Westboro from picking the funeral of USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers. That state? Mississippi. One of the southern states that most people look at and laugh. The thing is, places like that stand up for their own. It’s a fact. I live in a small town and when one person is wronged, you don’t want to be seen loitering around. Someone will kick your ass. I’m proud of the residents of Brandon, MS. They did what was right. They saw to it that a fallen American hero got the memorial he deserved. And they did it by whatever means necessary. I would’ve loved to see that.
Here’s the sad thing though: there are people who, while swearing they don’t support WBC’s actions, fumed at the fact that someone stood up against these fanatics. There are people who still defend the rights of this hate group, despite the fact that what they do should be illegal. I would not want my friends and family being told they are going to Hell while they’re already mourning my death. That’s taking things a little bit too far, no?
If the Ku Klux Klan were as active an entity (yes, they are still around and they are still active in Southern states such as Arkansas) as Westboro Baptist Church, there would be an outrage. There would be arrests, charges, fights, all of that. But because WBC masquerades under the guise of being Christians; because they don’t attack people physically, they are allowed to continue with their bullshit. Really, WBC isn’t any better than the KKK. Rather than believing they are white supremacists who are entitled to hate crimes against all other races, they are religious zealots who use God as an excuse to terrorize and harass others. Yes, harass. That’s illegal too, y’know? Yet somehow, they get away with it because of their right to speech.
I fully support the freedom of expression, I really do. With a few limitations, anyways. I don’t feel it is right to barge in on a private matter in the manner that WBC does. I feel some things are better kept to oneself. These people are dead. Have respect for them. Have respect for those they left behind. I think that lawmakers should really take the bullshit that WBC does into consideration. It’s harassment. It upsets people, it’s unwelcome. The right to protest should be reserved for public matters. Like a car wash or a festival. Not for something private, like a death.
If WBC tried pulling this shit where I live, they’d meet a much worse response from my fellow Arkansans. After all, we have a governor who was quoted saying, “If they try and tell us what to do with our flag, we’ll tell them where to shove it.”
Mississippi, thank you for making a stand.
For those interested in the story of how the residents of Brandon, MS stood up against the lunatics of Westboro Baptist Church, check out this link.