At a time when this country desperately needs to find a way to heal, the door through which hate lives opens, once again.
That door belongs to the Westboro Baptist Church and its sick flock of followers based in Topeka, Kansas. Self proclaimed minister, Fred Phelps began making overtures that his church would picket Christina Green’s funeral on Thursday.
Green was the granddaughter of legendary baseball manager Dallas Green,(he once managed the
Philadelphia Phillies). She was the youngest of six victims gunned down in last weekends horrible mass shooting in Arizona that left 13 people injured including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
According to published reports, the church has decided to skip Green’s funeral because its founders have decided to do an interview with a radio station. However, some congregants plan to bring their vile message to the funeral services of U.S District Court Judge, John Roll. He was also killed during the rampage.
Wesboro has made a hate-mongering name for itself by protesting the funerals of servicemen and gays that have been murdered, in the twisted logic of, “its God’s punishment,” for America’s involvement in wars and tolerance of homosexuality.
The group’s followers have demonstrated in Pennsylvania, and across the country thousands of times starting in the early 1990′s
Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania took his case before the U.S. Supreme Court last year arguing Phelps and his followers harassed Snyder’s family following the death of his son in 2006. Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder was killed while fighting in Iraq. Among the signs Westboro brought to picket Matthew Snyder’s funeral,”thank God for dead soldiers.”
The Supreme Court will weigh in on whether freedom of speech has crossed an undefined line. Unfortunately, decency and rational thinking can not be factored into the court’s ruling, which is expected in the spring.
Rock The Capital has tried to reach Phelps but his phone number has been temporarily disconnected.
As a reporter, I interviewed Phelp’s wife, Shirley, on at least one occasion. It was memorable because she screamed at me over the phone. I called her after Westboro threatened to come to Connecticut to protest the funeral of a marine. I recall her telling me that God is angry, very angry and America had better change its ways. The group did not appear at the young man’s funeral.
We asked Governor Ed Rendell, during our exclusive interview, if gun control has a better chance of gaining traction.
“If there was ever cause for reinstating the assault weapons ban and its limitations of the type of magazines you can buy, this is the case. If we don’t use this, if we don’t pivot off of this to get reasonable, common sense control, we never are. Good Lord, what private person defends themselves with a magazine that has 31 bullets in it,” said Rendell.
(Want to read what the Governor has to say about losing his cool on 6o Minutes go ahead and click on Rock The Capital.)
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