This Saturday, January 22, the Westboro Baptist Church will protest the funeral of Army Private First Class Benjamin C. Moore. Moore was a firefighter from Bordentown who served and perished in Afghanistan. I make a living writing articles that encourage people to visit and explore South Jersey and the suburbs of Philadelphia. I truly believe we live in one of the most historically rich and patriotic areas of the country. It angers me to see that my area of residence has been targeted by a group of fools with a harsh ideology who offend civil rights activists, military personnel and churchgoers alike.
Each time the Westboro Baptist Church protests a military funeral, it makes news. Citizens and pundits debate whether these individuals have the right to protest a funeral and whether others have a right to protest the protesters or shield the deceased’s family from the church group.
I believe this is a perfect example of something that is legal (and should remain legal) yet unethical. As a supporter of gay rights and genuine human decency, I abhor the position of the Westboro Baptist Church. I remain in strong support of those who will attend the funeral in an attempt to nonviolently shield the deceased’s family from these insensitive idiots.
I support everyone’s right to be there. I feel this way about other hot topics for the same reason. While it isn’t prudent to build a cultural center with a mosque near Ground Zero after so much controversy, it’s legal. While it was insensitive for Sarah Palin to publish a ‘target’ list with Democratic public servants’ names on it, it’s legal. More hurt than help may have come of these actions (especially those of the Westboro Baptist Church), though the legal right should remain.
That said, everyone has a right to protest, ignore or denounce these groups. In some parts of America, the Klu Klux Klan still holds meetings and marches. While this is legal and it’s important for people of dissenting opinions to have a voice in turbulent times, I strongly encourage opponents of such groups to attend such demonstrations and offer a peaceful resistance to their outdated and unjust ideologies.
If the Westboro Baptist Church and their actions offend you, show up and spread the word. You can also consider a proactive approach by donating time or money to groups promoting nonviolence, tolerant religious organizations, gay rights groups and military veterans and their families.
For information about shielding Moore’s family from the insulting ignorance of the Westboro Baptist Church, see the Facebook page regarding the counter-protest.