Follow posts tagged #military funeral in seconds.Sign up
Thoughts on Westboro Baptist Church protesters coming to my hometown:
Last Thursday, Scott (“Boots”) Harper, a young man I went to church with, was killed in Afghanistan while conducting a combat mission. I won’t say that I knew him very well, he was two years older than me and we went to different high schools, but he is the first person I knew to die in the war. What makes this news even more upsetting is that members of Westboro Baptist Church plan on protesting his funeral.
Not only do I feel disgust at the thought of someone protesting the funeral of a fallen soldier, but it makes me sick to my stomach to read what they had to say in their so-called “news release”. Their rhetoric is disrespectful and full of unintelligible babble, making frequent references to sodomy and America’s “other sins”. I understand the connection between homosexuality and the military (especially since the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), and I understand that they have the right to free speech, but what I don’t understand is how anyone could prey on a grieving family and community in order to spread their message of hate. Yes, they have the right to voice their opinion (however twisted and revolting it may be), but they could have the common human decency not to do it during the funeral of a man who gave his life to protect their rights.
What angers me the most is the last line in their news release- in bold, at the very bottom of the page: “Thank God for IEDs”. After yelling several unspeakable things at my computer screen, I thought about why they included this- in bold, at the very bottom of the page. This is a group that knows how to elicit a strong reaction. They know how to create a rally cry for their members while simultaneously enraging their opposition. They want me to be angry. They want me to stage a counter-protest and hurl insults and react with violence against them.
If I make 500 signs and fight them at every point and yell until I’m hoarse, I will accomplish nothing. If I get angry and go with my instincts and react with violence, they will sue me and I will lose. If I do these things, I will be no different than they are. Mark Twain once said, “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” But I’m better than that.
I know that hate does not stop hate.
Anger does not cure ignorance.
Violence only leads to needless, senseless, pointless violence. And heaven knows we have enough of that.
In light of these things, I can only respond by living out the opposite of the hate they preach, and that is love. Love for everyone regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, personal viewpoint, political party, class, caste, country, sect, name, tribe. Love for people who hate others, love for people who hate me. Love for everyone regardless of whether or not they deserve it and especially for those who need it most. I can have only love for the members of WBC because they are no less human than I am. Hating is the easy way out.
The members of WBC are extremists and classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League. Even the KKK distances itself from these people. They are not accomplishing anything with their hatemongering tactics, they are struggling to find more supporters, and they will die out. They will be remembered for their absurd claims about religion, their intolerance, and their indecency towards others. But they are not the last of their kind. If we want to fix problems like this that persist in our society, we need to create an environment where people are taught love rather than indoctrinated with hate. No child learns to hate and persecute a specific people group on their own; that is something they are taught. I’m looking forward to a day when groups like the WBC will be nothing but a distant memory and we can learn that the greatest thing truly is to love.
Meaning of the U.S. Flag folding
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stand, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.