The caption is as such:
According to the Newtown Patch, bikers descended on the town of Newtown yesterday and linked arms blocking the hate group protesters of Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting the funerals.
"More than 100 riders from New York and Massachusetts, organized by the anti-Westboro group Patriot Guard Riders, were also in Connecticut on Wednesday to show their support, Patch reported. The lined the streets arm in arm."
“All these guys see us and think we’re bad. We’re not. It’s solidarity, is what it is,” New York native Jim Hannigan told Newtown Patch. “I just felt I had to be here.”
Source and Photo by Newton Patch.
This peaked my curiosity, and interest. Of course, I had to read into what Westboro Baptist Church was doing this time. Before I get into that, I will give some background for those of you unfamiliar with the circumstances and such being discussed. First of all, Westboro Baptist Church is a hyper-"religious" group who protests anything and everything, as long as there might be the smallest link to homosexuality. They really hate homosexuals, and everything that they could possibly stand for. This time, they are protesting the funerals in Newtown. Newtown being the location of the most recent, and one of the worst school shootings in United States history. In this shooting, 20 children were murdered, along with 6 teachers and adults. The entire event is tragic, to say the least, and few words can be spoken to express what a terrible thing it is, that something like this can happen in our world. The death of children is a true cause for mourning at the 'best' of times, but when so many young lives are taken in such a short time, and without any known cause... I can't even express in words. Now... why on earth would anyone want to protest the funerals of the victims?
According to an article by Tim Stanley of The Telegraph, the WBC was picketing "to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgement". Apparently God had 20 children killed in order to send a message about his disapproval for homosexuality and same-sex relations?
I don't think so. Not any God that I know.
True, God was a bit vicious in the Old Testament. He did some crazy things, made insane requests, and prompted many biblical characters to make possibly questionable decisions. However, as we know, Jesus Christ was sent to earth to teach about love and understanding, and all around peace.
Today, the world was supposed to end. For the entire planet, it has yet to do so. The world may have ended for some, as they did yesterday, and the day before. The world ended for those children in Newtown. They were not killed to send a message about homosexuality being a sin. They were not killed by a malevolent God who is the God whom these WBC followers worship. They were killed in cold blood. In hatred. To this day, police are still trying to determine why.
The Westboro Baptist Church has been protesting some touchy subjects for a while. Generally, things that shouldn't be protested. It has gotten to the point that many groups have started to protest their protests. This includes the KKK (yes, the Ku Klux Klan. see Telegraph article), and as of the past couple of days, bikers forming non-violent protests to let the funerals continue in peace. As they should. In my opinion, when the KKK, known historically for being a symbol of extreme hatred, speaks against you... You should probably reconsider what you're doing.
When I heard that the WBC was being protested by bikers from several states, I was happy to at least hear that, but the concept that people would be filled with enough rage towards homosexuality to protest funerals, and even worse, voice their opinions that the death of children was an act of God to speak against homosexuality, it filled me with such sadness and anger. Although I do not label myself in relation to my religious or spiritual belief, my beliefs are strongly influenced by Catholicism because it is how I was raised. I grew up with the message that the golden rule of Christianity is to love others. This was not a rule with exceptions. This was a solid rule. Regardless of shape, colour, creed, so on or whatever makes a person different from you, you are supposed to love them. Love is what saves people. Not romantic love, obviously. Simply love for humankind, and a love that sprouts caring and compassion.
What WBC is doing is hatred. Hatred is the root of evil. Hatred kills, damages, inflicts pain, destroys, and hurts. It does not solve problems. It grows and spreads, hurting more and more people, instead of helping or saving others. How can someone say that they are spreading the word of God, and instead spread such pain and anger to the world around them? That is not what the Bible, or any Holy book, teaches. It fills me with such sadness that individuals can be so full of hatred towards something that doesn't even hurt them. I have several close friends who are gay and bisexual, and they are some of the most wonderful people I know. They are genuine and true, and willing to share so much with the world. Really, when they have so much to offer, what does their sexual orientation have to do with anything? To protest these people is ignorant and outdated. Furthermore, a loving and benevolent God would not encourage the death of children with a vast future ahead of them. Especially when the protest is against people who are as good hearted as anyone else. Good hearted people like those who know that the death of a child is a tragedy, and that the funerals of massacre victims should not be stopped.
(Side note, the [irrational] prevention of funerals is something that also causes me a lot of pain. It hurts me as much as the desecration of human bodies. Not to the same extreme, but it shows just as little respect for the person who has died.)
As Christmas draws closer, please love others. I'd like to hope that those who read this blog would never be so extreme as to cause such pain to others as the Westboro Baptist Church, but nonetheless... Any extra ounce of love you have can do a world of good. Hatred does nothing. Love can save the world.