I want to start this post by introducing you to the equivalent of radical Islam living right here in the United States. The world appropriately looks down on Al Qaeda and radical clerics because they take a beautiful peaceful religion and turn it into a brutal, hateful mechanism of pain. I have heard people who denigrate Muslims paint the entire religion of Islam with a broad brush due to the actions of this minority. I wonder if those same folks paint Christianity the same way when they hear about the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. These are the people who proclaim in the name of the lord to hate homosexuals and to show their hate, they picket the funerals of homosexuals or any funeral or event they can somehow link to homosexuality. Here is a link to the Wikipedia site about the group:
This group is nuts but also in my opinion wholly insincere, what this group is really about is getting attention for this group. They regularly picket that bastion of homosexual lifestyle, Kansas City Chiefs home games, the NFL is a lot of things positive and negative but a big gay pride festival it is not. This group claims to have an annual travel budget of $200,000 and that money must come from donations and I say shame on anyone contributing to this hate group.
So the Westboro Baptist Church has announced it will protest at the funeral of the nine-year old girl who was shot in Tucson earlier this week that targeted Congresswoman Giffords. In watching CNN today the network appropriately reached out to the church to get a statement from them, it is fair to hear both sides of the story. In full character the church responded with a hateful rant including accusations about everyone including the little girl. I think the Westboro Baptist Church is a collection of the most hateful Christians in America and if there is a Christian God, I’m quite sure he has a one-way ticket to Hell punched for these cretins.
As someone with a Libertarian bent, and a strong believer in the freedom the constitution guarantees, I will wait and see what the Supreme Court says this spring about whether or not this type of speech can be banned. It worries me on some level to ban any speech that does not cause direct physical injury, the cliché screaming fire in a crowded theater. The infliction of emotional harm is a much stickier issue and the one that the Supreme Court is facing and it will be interesting to see what they say. Regardless, you are scum if you picket the funeral of a nine-year old girl for any reason!
Happily, the people of Arizona are fighting back against the nut jobs like people have done on many other occasions. People have conducted anti-protests against the Westboro church ever since the Matthew Shepard funeral in Wyoming in 1998. The way they do this is to wear giant angel wings and use these to block the view of the protestors by the mourners. The image below comes from the Portland Independent Media Center at:
Finally today I have a huge problem with what the nuts of the Arizona legislature are doing now. They are rushing to pass a bill today to keep the protestors at some set distance away from any funeral. They are waiving rules and are setting records in getting this law done and signed in one day. Let’s be clear, their intent is to be commended, as I’ve said picketing a little girl’s funeral is despicable. However, this church has been picketing military funerals for years and so once again today I ask the question why is congress so special? Does the Arizona legislature only care about the mourning of families if they get killed standing nearby a congresswoman but not if they were killed in the line of duty in the military? Or is it that they only care about their citizens when the media is watching? I think the government of Arizona has shown in the last two years that it is completely off the rails.