Does it shock anyone that the Westboro Baptist Church has announced its intention to picket Joe Paterno’s funeral on Saturday? Of course not. Fred Phelps and his family, who comprise the main core of the small Kansas church, are best known for picketing the funerals of marines in order to protest gays in the military. These people are so irrationally fearful of homosexuality that they react by torturing the grieving families of fallen servicemen and women. What self-professed Christian does something like that? Obviously, Fred et al are a few gospels short of a full Bible.
Westboro Baptist intends to drive home its message about the depravity of homosexuality at Joe Paterno’s funeral. I have tried to follow the reasoning, but I’m not really sure there IS any logic here. Perhaps it’s that the recent allegations of child abuse in the football department at Penn State have damaged Paterno’s reputation and left him vulnerable to being “tarred with the same brush” as Sandusky? But that issue isn’t about homosexuality. The sexual abuse of children is an unforgiveable crime; same-sex relationships between consenting adults, on the other hand, are simply a normal and natural way of life for many people. I fail to see what the two have in common.
Of course, logic, compassion, and Christian values are woefully lacking at the Westboro Baptist church. I suspect that the only reason Phelps and his kin decided to protest at Joe Paterno’s funeral is because they expect to get some publicity from their actions. They can spread their message of hate much farther with media coverage than they can without it. Don’t let the haters win. On Saturday, let’s ignore the Westboro Baptist Church protesters and their disgraceful, hurtful message and just focus on saying farewell to Joe Paterno.