The Funeral of an American Soldier

I don’t care what you think of the conduct of a war. What you think of the reasons we’re involved in that war. The funeral of a soldier is no place for political portest, except, perhaps, maybe, if that soldier is a direct family member.

The behavior of a dozen assholes from Kansas at the funeral of Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Piper was despicable:

The 14 demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., picketed Monday on a corner near the Old North Church, a Congregational parish founded in 1635, soon after Marblehead was settled. The followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps, who blame American tolerance of homosexuality for the Sept. 11 attacks and the resulting U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, have targeted Massachusetts for protests because it is the only state where same-sex marriage is legal.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer for the Kansas church, said Monday that the funeral demonstration was nothing personal against Piper, who was not gay.

“We are protesting the sins of this nation,” Phelps-Roper said. “That doesn’t exclude him.”

On the corner of a narrow street lined with Colonial-era buildings, the Kansas contingent tried shouting its anti-homosexual message at mourners who overflowed from the church. But every time demonstrators spoke out, the 14-man Boston Police Department bagpipe band broke into thunderous sound.


The Kansas group, which had been issued a two-hour protest permit, was escorted out of town by police minutes before the horse-drawn caisson carrying Piper’s flag-draped coffin arrived at the church.

“When we heard about the protesters, we became very angry,” said Bill Audette, a retired police officer and organizer of a central Massachusetts group called Blackstone Valley Nam Vets. Audette, 55, said even though he did not know Piper, he considered it his duty to attend the funeral.

From the LA Times, “Protest at Soldier’s Funeral Brings a Massachusetts Town Together.” Via Sivacracy.

4 thoughts on “The Funeral of an American Soldier

  1. Adam:
    Fred Phelps’s issue is not with the “conduct of the war” or opposition to the war, or anything of that sort.
    Phelps is the head of the “religious” organization whose members you may have seen photos of with “God Hates Fags” signs, and things of this nature. He believes that the US is a decadent, sinful nation which is feeling the wrath of a righteous God by straying from the straight and narrow. His people protested at that funeral because they believe the deaths of US soldiers are like the deaths of the wicked in Sodom and Gomorrah. If everyone in the US was a straight Christian, as Phelps says (rather loudly) that he is, God wouldn’t be punishing our country for its evil ways. That is the Phelps creed. That soldier could have been a child that died of malnutrition, and the Phelps message would be unchanged — the kid’s parents must have been sinners living a wicked life, etc. etc.
    This has NOTHING to do with beliefs about the morality of this war, of whether the reasons it is being waged have been accurately and honestly presented, of anything of that nature. This is one man’s (IMNSHO asinine, twisted, and dangerous) religious views being used as justification for hateful displays.
    The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith has a page which discusses Phelps and his “church”, using their own words to illustrate their thinking and doctrine. I have used it as my ‘homepage’ above. Even though it is five years old, it is still worth looking at. Another way to judge Phelps and his ilk is via Phelps’s web site “godhatesamerica.com” (seriously — it is his, no lie). There, one finds such pearls of wisdom as:
    “Thank God for IEDs killing American soldiers in strange lands every day.”
    This guy is an A-1 moron, and near as I can tell is unanimously despised by virtually everyone, regardless of their opinion on ANY issue. He is beneath contempt. Please, please, do not paint him as an “antiwar protester” or as “protesting the war”. That is not what this is about, and it’d be a disservice to the truth for folks to draw that mistaken conclusion.

  2. Chris,
    I didn’t mean to say that the actions ware those of an anti-war protester, I was using that to comment on how totally inappropriate the behavior was. Even starbucks-smashing anti-war protesters don’t disrupt funerals. (AFAIK.)

  3. These guys are famous for going to prominent gays’ funerals with the “God hates fags” message. Apparently, the 9/11 attacks were God’s wrath on us for failing to hate them as much as He does. (It’s unclear why God is such a lousy shot, though; couldn’t He have crashed the planes into some hotbed of homosexuality, rather than the WTC and the Pentagon?)
    These clowns thrive on attention. They deserve to be ignored, just like any other bunch of offensive but not actually dangerous lunatics.
    –John

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