It hasn’t been that long since the so-called “Rev” Fred Phelps’s clan members gave Blacksburg an unwelcome visit. Westboro visited town to tell us we “deserved” the horible events previously unleashed upon our town and to hurl cruel statements about the recently deceased VT student, Morgan Herrington, who was murdered in Charlottesville. About 500 townspeople and students encircled Morgan Harrington’s father, who was present at the counter-demonstration, and greeted Phelps’s family members with messages of “stop hate” and other assorted greetings.
But the clan is also notorious for its protests outside of fallen soldiers’ funerals. Now a former marine isn’t going to take it anymore. According to a Marine Corps Times article, now a former marine has taken up the cause of giving the so-called minister of hate Fred Phelps of Westboro “Baptist Church” a taste of his own medicine, albeit with much less hatred. He’s serving up a counter-protest of his own right where we all should–outside of Phelps’ so-called church.
Former Marine and Iraq veteran Jerry Bacidore, along with about 15 supporters, recently traveled nine hours from LaSalle, Ill., to attend a service at the Topeka, Kan., church and stage a silent protest.
The plan was to stand silently during the April 25 service, dressed in black, representing all fallen troops, Bacidore said. Prior to arriving, Bacidore said his group received approval to attend from Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps. But when they arrived, they found the church service time had been changed and that the service was no longer public.
As they did in Blacksburg, many town residents honked in agreement and waved on the counter-protesters. Some even stopped and joined in. Kudos to those who stood up. Despite reinforcement theory’s prescriptions, I do not think the correct action is to stay away or do nothing so as not to call attention to these people. We need to stand up too, about that –and a lot more.