The Westboro Baptist Church’s new, hateful agenda
Growing up, I can recall adults in my life reflecting on major historical events like the JFK assassination, the start of the Vietnam War, or hearing of the bombing at Pearl Harbor in much the same way – always saying that they could remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. It wasn’t until last year that I realized one of those moments has already occurred for me. Almost twelve years later, I can picture news footage of the Twin Towers, surrounded by more smoke and firefighters and debris than I’d seen ever before, as vividly as though I were watching it for the first time. On the afternoon of Monday the 16, as I sat in the Cellar watching CNN, I knew that another one of these instances I would remember so well had occurred.
The immediate assistance provided by emergency personnel, the selfless donations of blood, shelter and food to victims, and the national climate of togetherness are all reassuring – they instill the idea that people are compassionate and good. Against the backdrop of inaccurate news coverage by certain stations and embarrassingly racist assumptions made both by the media and by ignorant citizens empowered by witter to spew hatred and ignorance, these acts of solidarity and kindness helped to reassure Americans across the nation. As sad as it is to say, I think we all expected a certain portion of the population to jump on that racially constructed bandwagon – wrong as it is, it was almost inevitable given our current social climate.
But at least as citizens, we had our unified spirit, right?
On the evening of April 16, as social media outlets were blowing up with information on the bombings, the Westboro Baptist Church’s Twitter account, @WBCsays, tweeted “THANK GOD FOR THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBS!! Westboro Baptist Church to picket funerals of those killed. #PraiseGod,” presumably in response to the Massachusetts Superior Court ruling of DOMA as unconstitutional, thereby legalizing gay marriage. At a time when it is necessary for our nation to bind together, a hate group has once again made headlines.
Attached to the message was a Twitpic of a statement from the Church.
“How many more terrifying ways will you have the LORD injure and kill your fellow countrymen because you insist on nation-dooming filthy fag marriage?”
I have so many problems with this. First of all, as a human, and as a citizen entirely in support of marriage equality, I think this sort of response is disgusting. As a member of the American public, it is incredibly disheartening to continually see news coverage about the Church (keeping in mind that I am doing the very same with this article). Yet this is a problem I do not know how to solve. Mostly, I am sickened that, in the midst of a national tragedy, there are people in this world who choose to alienate innocent victims because they didn’t get their way. There are many things our nation needs to get a handle on – how we treat people inflicted with mental illness, the incredible disrespect that is still shown toward minorities, women, and the LGBT community, and the manner in which we treat the environment to name a few. But this? This is perpetuated hatred that I simply can’t find an excuse or make time allowances for – and it needs to end now.