This week the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Everyone Except Us) founded by Fred Phelps (Godhatesfags.com) tried to go into Canada to hold a hate-filled protest at the funeral of the innocent man who was decapitated on a bus trip. Quoting from Paul Gackle,Winnipeg Free Press as published in the National Post:
"Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean's death as God's wrath.
Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church - an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers - announced they would picket Mr. McLean's funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God's response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.
But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church's founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.
"They won't let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot," she said. "They'll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won't know who we are. They'll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts."
The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean's funeral. . .
By mid-afternoon Thursday, Mr. Cotton's page had over 100 friends. Rodney Taylor, an Ottawa resident, found the page and pitched in.
Mr. Taylor phoned the Prime Minister's Office, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's office and border services, asking them to keep the Westboro group out of the country. He also created his own Facebook page urging other offended Canadians to follow his lead.
"These people are callous, vicious and shouldn't be let into our country," he said. "We have freedom of speech, but they are inciting hate."
Mr. Taylor's plan worked. Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls yesterday from angry Winnipeggers.
"These people [from Westboro] are almost as crazy as the murderer," he said. "If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing."
According to Mr. Martin, Mr. Day's office sent an alert to border patrol to "look out" for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.
"In the opinion of his office, coming up here with the message they're articulating constitutes hate speech," said Mr. Martin.
Members of the Kansas-based fundamentalist sect were already planning to picket in Canada prior to last week's bus slaying. The group was scheduled to protest in Toronto Thursday night at the opening of playwright Alistair Newton's "The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret", which satirizes their leader's fervent anti-gay stance. . .
. . .In 1999, the Canadian government said it was powerless to prevent Mr. Phelps from entering the country when he was planning a protest in Ottawa over a Supreme Court ruling extending rights to gays and lesbians.
At that time, the government said the minister could only make exceptions at the border to grant people entry who might otherwise be denied, not deny people entry who would normally be admitted. . .
. . .The Winnipeg Police Service said they were not planning to block the funeral protest if the group successfully crossed the border, but they were prepared to be on hand if necessary. "This hate group was a no-show at the funeral ~ citing concerns for their safety - but in actuality they must have realized that they lost the opportunity for publicity as 250 Winnipeg residents were on hand to protect the funeral and the family.
What troubles me so much is that this group - while spewing hatred for everything and everyone that doesn't believe in them are now trying to export this brand of hatred. Adding insult to injury, they are also spewing in the name of God, that God has already decided who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell, so it makes no difference what you do - (unless you're a Westboro church member - which automatically grants you access through the Golden Gates). I'm not going to get into the murky waters of predestination and/or pre-ordination. But rather the manner they are going about it.
The church itself (as a non-profit organization) is supported by the donations of its members and those who share their perverted view of God's law and God's attributes. And without publicity, their donations would, in fact, start to dry up. Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had “little regard for the ethics of his profession.” Which says a lot to me.
Once a group moves from sharing what they believe and trying to beat people into submission of ONLY what they believe ~ they have moved into being a cult, not a belief. But to this group of hate-mongers it makes no difference. They have become publicity whores and donation driven. How else could he and his family afford all these trips to perform at "20,000 protests" (their claim) and put fairly well done videos on the web? Being non-profit gives them incredible tax advantages which helps fund their activities.
But here's what troubles me the most. What is it within people that makes them believe in this kind of activity and speech? Is it within each of us to fall into this kind of trap? Is there something within me that festers and decays that would allow me to live in that kind of hate and fear? That's the troublesome question. I have some very strong held beliefs, could those turn into a driving force pushing me "over the edge?"
--thus endeth part one of today's meditation