Military Funeral Protests

I don't often get a great deal of news here in Sardegna… just enough to know the big headlines most of the time. It is not easy to find an English language newspaper.  Occasionally one can find the International Herald Tribune, which gives the big picture news around the world, and is just enough to know what is going on… but in my town of Arzachena you cannot get this paper either, and finding it in the next closest town of Palau is hit or miss… usual miss.  I mostly get news from the internet, and occasionally if the tv is working (which is not often in my house) from CNN or MSNBC reports.  If something peaks my interest I log on to the internet and search for the subject and research it in greater detail. 

Today the story of the Kansas baptist church that is protesting the funerals of American soldiers was my topic of choice.  I have heard, read and seen reports of this situation and was disgusted by it.  It is not just that my husband serves in our nation's military, that sparks my anger, it is general humanity, which apparently these people do not have.

Months ago when I learned of the motorcycle group that was shielding the families of fallen soldiers from seeing the Westboro Baptist Church protesters at the funerals of their loved ones. The Patriot Guard, http://www.patriotguard.org/, is dedicated to allowing these families to mourn their loved ones in peace, without having to see or hear the disgusting and horrible things these protesters say and do. 

The ACLU is now supporting WBC and their First Amendment right to freedom of speech in their protests.  While I agree that our country allows for freedom of speech and that it is a vital right that must be protected, I dispise the distortion of morality that these people are spewing. 

I don't care what your political or sexual preferences are, I don't care if you support the war or don't, I don't care about what ever your opinions are about anything… funerals should be sacred, they should be private, they should be free from this insanity.  Not because of law or politics… because it is right… because it is human…. because to do otherwise is unforgivable and wrong. 

I respect the right of personal views, and the right to protest, and the abiity to say and do things that others find  offensive… even when the message is as amazingly ignorant, inflamatory and reprehensible to me as the one the WBC promotes.  But when a mother, father, friend or family is burying their dead, it is a private matter. 

These soliders are not even the specific targets of the WBC.  After visiting their website, which turned my stomach, I learned that their objective is to oppose homosexuality, to put it much more kindly than they do.  One only has to read their URL to know they are incindiary, fanatical and extreamist. (I will not print it here, as I do not wish to promote them or to give them any greater an adudience or any further publicity).  They believe that our fallen service men and women are divine retribution for the military and our government toleration of homosexuality.  I am not sure how this link was made or how they tie it all together, I was too repulsed to keep reserching their website.  I find it difficult to understand how members of the military, who sacrifice so much to defend the freedoms of all of us – including the WBC – are the targets of their protests.  Their voices are not being raised to protest the invasion of Iraq or to bring our troops home.  They use slogans like ' Thank god for dead soliders' , '… for IEDs', '….for 9/11'… it is sickening and incomprehesnible to me how these words or their protests make any sense for their cause.  I don't like or agree with their cause, but even so… I don't get how they connect the dots to make these protests the pinnicle of their statements.

 I salute the Patriot Guard, in all their efforts, not only to help, protect and honor but also in keeping their mission non viloent, keeping their mission on point and getting involved to change the laws of our land in a productive, partriotic and very American way.  The WBC should take a lesson… when you want change, there are constructive, productive and effective ways to do it… then there are the destructive, ignorant and repulsive methods. 

Not enough can be said about this issue, but I will stop here and encourage everyone to research this issue to learn more, to support the Patriot Guard and take a lesson from them… they are truly great human beings.