If your community has endured the loss of a military hero since the beginning of the Iraq conflict then chances are you have heard of the protesters from Westboro Baptist Church based out of Topeka, Kansas.
This group travels the country protesting at military funerals as well as funerals of gay people and other events.
I first learned of the group while working for the Arkansas City Traveler, a newspaper in Arkansas City, Kan.
That year the local high school was planning to create a gay-lesbian group and the church decided to pay a visit.
Those in charge of the paper decided not to give the group any publicity and chose not to cover it.
In 2005 I went to work at different newspaper and soon after area Army Spc. Jed Hartley was killed in Iraq.
A dozen or so members of the Westboro Church traveled to Newkirk, Oklahoma to protest Hartley’s funeral.
They displayed distasteful signs and even had children too young to have any clue what they were doing running around with signs.
A band played tributes to the soldier and drowned out any noise the protesters attempted to make while area law enforcement stood by waiting to squash any violence.
Locals displayed the American Flag to out do the protesters that were desecrating it.
After mourners entered the church for the funeral, the protesters left without incident.
This month members of Westboro visited McAlester, Oklahoma to protest the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James and things didn’t go as smooth as they did in Newkirk.
It seems angry Oklahomans slashed two tires on the group’s mini van.
The protesters began searching for a tire repair shop and discovered that no one in town was willing to fix their flats. So they pulled into a parking lot and called triple AAA.
Three days later the church announced they now plan to protest children’s funerals in Oklahoma in retaliation.
On their website www.godhatesfags.com, the group lists their picket schedule and they plan to return to McAlester on Dec. 10 to picket at city hall.
The site entry reads ” WBC will picket the City Hall of McAlester, OK, city of doomed reprobates, to remind Oklahomans of the Lord’s command, to wit, ” Touch not mine annointed, and do my prophets no harm ” Psalm 105:5 The gentle servants of WBC went to McAlester carrying the only message of Gospel peace and hope this wicked generation shall ever receive. The hateful mayor of that vile town whipped the angry mod of Hellbound hounds into a frenzy against the prophets of the Lord. Instead of thanking the messengers for bringing their kind words of truth and repenting while they still have time, those rebels set upon to old women and several children to do them harm. The doomed reprobates of sodomite-infested Oklahoma lifted their clenched fists to Jesus Christ and announced that they will NOT tolerate the Word of God to be preached on their streets.”
They also plan to picket at three other locations in McAlester that day.
The group also released a press release that states God Hates Oklahoma.
In addition, the group plans to protest at the funeral of a plane crash victim that they describe as “a man thrown from the sky by an angry God.” Then they post “Thank God for the Oklahoma Plane Crash.”
They also picketed at the vigil held for a 10-day old infant that was killed when a guardian placed her in a washing machine. In response to the child’s death they post “OK brutes attack WBC’s children and God sends you dead babies and hateful mothers”
It is sad that families in mourning have to deal with this type of behavior.
Now it is even sadder that more will have to endure this group’s presence because someone couldn’t contain their anger and slashed a couple of tires.