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Friday, November 03, 2006

Respect for our Heroes


So…I just got off the phone with my mother, who is currently residing in a very small town in Kansas, as she is helping to take care of my ailing grandmother. She said a local boy, Willsun Mock, passed away recently, serving in the Iraq war. Today, his funeral will be held at a church one town over. Then the procession will drive to the cemetery in their small town. (Click here for an article about Willsun.)

This is all very sad, but why am I telling you this? Well, my mom said they’d made the news and, perplexed, I asked why. (If you knew how little this town is you’d understand why I was asking that.) Prepared to be further saddened…

There is a “religious” group out of Topeka, Kansas called Westboro Baptist Church who is lead by resident nutcase Fred Phelps. Members of this tiny church have been going around the country and picketing at the services of U.S. soldiers they say died as punishment for defending a country that harbors homosexuals. They hold up offensive signs at the funerals saying “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “America is Doomed.” Is there nothing sacred or respected in this world anymore, that people actually have the gall to protest at a funeral!? I mean how hateful, hurtful and insensitive could you possibly be? Word is they are planning to be at this boy’s funeral.

Well, here is the uplifting part of this story. There is another group that has formed, specifically to counter this movement called the Patriotic Guard. (Check out their website here.) They are a motorcycle riders group that volunteers to attend military funerals (when invited by the family) to “shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.” Thankfully, they have been invited and are planning on being there too.

My cousin runs the small hotel in the town, and he donated rooms to the Patriotic Guard, free of charge. The local farmer’s co-op also donated $500 in gas to the Patriotic Guard. When the news crews wanted to interview my cousin for the nightly news, and talk about what he did, he said, “This isn’t about me,” and refused to be filmed.

So, which group is truly exhibiting Christian love: my cousin and the community, or the protesting “church” out of Topeka? It’s an easy answer, right? I don’t remember any story from the Bible where Jesus protested at a funeral, saying that person died because Rome was evil.

It angers me to my core that completely irrational and misguided people like Fred Phelps and his follows do terrible things like this, all under the guise of Christianity. But thank God for the true Christians, who quietly step up and offer support and love in the face of hateful people such as this.

As an aside, a bill has been forwarded to President Bush called the “Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act”, which will prevent these types of protests. (Read more about it here.)

5 comments:

D.L. White said...

Ragamuffin said...
Phelps and his group are a menace. It's sad that they would do something like this thinking that it is the Christian thing to do when that couldn't be further from the truth.

Talk about somebody needing a "come to Jesus meeting".

shawn

D.L. White said...

Elizabeth C. said...
I agree with you completely. How can Fred Phelps and his crew possibly think they are being Christlike? Thank God for people like your cousin and for people like Willsun who are willing to serve and protect our country. I will be praying for the family of Willsun Mock.

D.L. White said...

D. L. White said...
Thanks for your prayers Elizabeth.

I talked to my mom later and I guess the whole town lined the streets and stood at attention when the funeral procession went through. And the local electrical company suspended a huge American flag across the road from two of their cherrypicker buckets on their service vehicles.

She said the protesters showed up at the church service, but the police kept making them move further away. And later, the protesters told the news crew they "feared for their lives and were afraid of being shot at by snipers" so they didn't go on to the gravesite.

D.L. White said...

Elizabeth C. said...
Oh brother...."feared for their lives"! Well, this may be wrong of me, but I'm glad if they felt a little intimidated. They should be ashamed of themselves!

I'm so glad (and not a bit surprised) the town came together to honor this hero. It gave me goosebumps to hear about the flag and the town lining the streets.

Anonymous said...

people like phelps excuse my language but they need to just go to hell. police just need to go to his fricken church of a phony leader. Sgt. Mock is my uncle And I'd like to teach him some fricken respect He Comes near will's Grave i might teach him that.