Thursday, September 21, 2023

Armed Forces: Has the Right To Protest Gone Too Far?

November 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( This article was posted on my blog back in May of this year.  To some this may be old news but, it still remains in the hearts and minds of many. It shows how sad it is that some people do not appreciate our soldiers and the sacrifice they have chosen to make.

Imagine that your son or daughter has chosen to join the Armed Forces to fight and protect our country.  They’re excited, but you’re not as joyful.  However, regardless of your apprehension you support them none the less. 

Then imagine years later your child’s life is taken while on duty.  You are now  praying for strength to simply make it through the horrific day, when you are faced with attending your child’s burial. 

On that somber day your family, friends and even strangers surround you to show their support.  Then only a few feet away are others that disagree with the thoughts, choices and personal opinions of others.  Instead of agreeing to disagree, they choose to disrespect and desecrate your child’s funeral service.  They plot, target and spew their views at your son’s or daughter’s home going.  The strangers I speak of are a group of people that choose to protest outside of military funerals. 

I have wrestled for months trying to decide what I would say in this particular blog or if I would even write it for that matter.  I have pondered on how I would convey my thoughts because this has bothered me for quite a while.  As you can see my emotions won out, so here I am blogging.

Now let me stress that I don’t possess political savvy.  I will also admit that there is no American Flag waving outside of my home.  But when I watch the news and view the videos of these protests I am appalled, disgusted, angered and amazed.  I wonder “how can someone have the gall to be so disrespectful?” 

Then I remember that I live in a country that allows free speech, regardless of how painful. 

The protestors are members of The Westboro Church an extremist group located in Topeka, KS.  Westboro members believe that military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God’s punishment for the military allowing gays to participate in the Armed Forces.  The church travels throughout the country and stands outside of the funerals of fallen soldiers to protest.  This is their way of voicing their dislike with the government choosing to allow gays to participate in the Armed Forces. 

These protests are not peaceful.  They are full of anger, lacking compassion for our deceased soldiers and their families.  Members of The Westmoreland Church march back and forth yelling and screaming.  They wave their signs that read, “Pray for More Dead Soldiers and “Thank God for 911.”

No one is left out of their path of rage, regardless of age.  Even our little angels are targets.  Plans were made to protest the funeral of nine-year-old Christina Green and other victims of the Tucson shooting rampage.  With the persuasion of a local Christian radio personality they agreed to call the protest off after accepting free airtime to voice their position.  Westmoro believed this young child was killed because of the United States’ rebellion and that God sent the shooter to deal with the idolatrous behavior of the US.

I understand that people have various views and opinions about homosexuality.  I however, cannot understand how protesting at a soldiers funeral will aid in getting their point across or even changing the mindset of others for that matter. 

Why not go to the government itself and protest?  How about the White House or the State Capital?  Why upset the family members of the very person that has chosen to risk their lives to protect you?  Is there no other way to voice your concerns?  These are the questions I would love to pose to Westboro.

Vicious and verbal assaults are thrown to the mourners.  I wonder what is going through their minds to do such a thing.  These are Christians who feel that they are the judge and jury.  I wonder if any of them have family in the military.  How many have lost loved ones?  Do they disown family or friends who may choose to join the Armed Forces?  If their child were killed in the same scenario would they dare rally outside of their funeral screaming they are “praying for more dead soldiers??”

Even as painful as these protests may be, they are protected under the Constitution.  Because of such protection, the Supreme Court ruled that The Westboro Protests will be allowed to continue.

Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain.” Chief Judge Roberts of the Supreme Court wrote the majority opinion for the court.  Roberts wrote.  “On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker. As a nation we have chosen a different course — to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”  See anti-gay funeral protest.

I understand that the military is allowing the protests to continue because they are constitutionally protected.  I understand that we have the right to protest and the right to free speech.  I believe that it is distasteful and a smack in the face to our men and women that have chosen the military as their profession.

I am absolutely convinced that some things are sacred.  Let God take care of those things that you strongly believe are not correct.  Because some things are very sacred to others, regardless of how we feel.  I thank God for the freedom of speech and the right to protest, but there comes a point when you have to draw the line.

Maybe Westboro should spend more energy professing the love of Christ, instead of protesting and dishonoring our dead soldiers that sacrificed their lives to secure a safe future for our country.  How about we try this little thing called love instead of hate?

Staff Writer; Eleanie Campbell

For more writings by this sista feel free to visit; SoulXPosed2U.



2 Responses to “Armed Forces: Has the Right To Protest Gone Too Far?”
  1. Eleanie says:

    Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

  2. mike burch says:

    Elanie Campbell: armed forces:has the right to protest gone too far. A beautifully written report on this terrible so called church.I can only imagine what my response would be towards there fools if that was my sons daughters or grandchildrens funeral. excellent reporting….mike b

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