The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas — the hate-mongering funeral protesters who’ve picketed or threatened to picket the funerals of Elizabeth Edwards, soldiers who’ve died in Iraq, and people who’ve died of AIDS, among others — are taking their efforts to piss people off in the supposed name of God a step further by announcing they’ll picket the funeral of 9-year-old Christine Taylor Green, who was killed during the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday.
According to CNN, the people of Tucson are prepared, and will implement a plan created by Romaine Patterson, who saw Westboro Baptist protest the funeral of his friend Matthew Shepherd. People are signing up to wear giant “angel wings” that shield mourners from the picketers. Christin Gilmer, who’s helping to organize, writes on the Build Angel Wings for the Westboro Funeral Counter-Protest and Meeting Facebook page:
In lieu of any acts of violence or physical altercations, we will be donning 8 – 10 foot tall angel wings so that we can block the group, their signs, and their words from the funeral and all those who will mourning our community’s losses.
There are a number of other related Facebook pages, including We will not let Fred Phelps or WBC protest any funeral in Tucson, Protect Christina’s Funeral from the Westboro Baptists, and Show Support for the Families of the Tucson Shooting Victims.
“This isn’t a counterprotest,” said Chelsea Cohen, a University of Arizona senior who started the Show Support page on Facebook. “We wanted it to show support for the families and to show that Tucson is there with love and support.”
Of course, as the Show Support page points out:
WBC MAY NOT SHOW UP. Their press releases and website say they are coming, but they apparently have not followed certain steps in order for them to legally be there yet. Even if they do not come, we will be there showing the families that Tucson supports them.
According to a flier released by the Church, “the picket targets the Roman Catholic Church because Christina and her family were members.” But as violent (and just plain nasty) rhetoric is condemned by people of all affiliations, it does seem high time to quash the downright ugly, attention-seeking tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church — peacefully, of course, and by “taking the high road” of ignoring them. As Mom used to say, what the bullies want is for people to pay attention to them in the first place.