Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hate Group Targets Military Funerals

 I have to tell you, it takes a lot to surprise me. With television shows like CSI, Dexter, Family Guy, The Jersey Shore and 1000 Ways to Die, coupled with video games where you can rob and beat up hookers or blow off some guy’s head, not to mention any of the wacky, borderline offensive ensembles you can see at Wal-Mart on a daily basis, I thought I’d pretty much seen it all. Now, mix in the daily news stories and the large amount of verbal vomit that spews from the mouths of politicians and viola! You have a desensitized, shock proof society and I must admit I was no exception. Or at least that is what I thought.

A man and woman stand with a larger flag  
 Sunday, I attended my first military funeral. Lance Corporal Scott Daniel Harper was killed in action in Afghanistan in the beginning of October. I do not know this man. Nor have I ever met any member of his family. Still this Marine made the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting for my [our] freedom. As I drove toward the church uncertain where it was located and a little afraid I would feel awkward being at the funeral of someone I didn’t know, I saw a lone man standing on the side of the overpass waving a small flag. I smiled to myself, touched by his simple, yet respectful gesture unaware of what I would come across a little further down the road.

A community comes together to grieve and show support.
The scene looked like something from a movie. The street was lined with at least 500 people of all ages holding flags of various sizes and thank you signs. Bikers, at least 75 of them, along with military men in full uniform and people dressed like angels with huge wings formed lines around the perimeter of the church grounds that stretched right up to the church door. Most of them had never met the soldier or his family either. Yet, this Georgia community came together to mourn the loss of a 21 year old hero and pay their respects to his family.

A young girl hold a flag and a sign of thanks, not protest.
Unfortunately, that was not the only motivation for why they were there as I discovered when I spoke with some of the locals as we waited for the family and Lance Corporal’s body to arrive from the funeral home. Nor was it my only reason. Many of us came because we had heard that a notorious hate church was going to protest the funeral. I will not name this group because they live for publicity. I will tell you that they are known for protesting the funerals of public figures, the most recent being Steve Jobs, as well as military funerals and the funerals of openly gay individuals. Earlier in the week, they could be seen outside Woodruff Park protesting Occupy Atlanta which has been holding a peaceful assembly against the unfair division of wealth in this country. Yes, the protesters were protesting the protesters.

Why does this church protest such things as funerals, peaceful protests, military events and too many other things to name? Well to answer that we must look deeper into this church, its leader, its congregation and its beliefs. The church was founded by a man that describes himself as a “Primitive Baptist,” although mainstream Baptists openly reject his teachings. Personally, I have another word for this preacher but I digress. He has a following of approximately 70 people, that surprise, surprise, are mostly made up of his children and grandchildren. They are anti-gay, anti-Semite, anti-military, anti-Catholic, anti-Lutheran, anti-Protestant and anti–Amish. I could go on, but I don’t think there is enough room on the internet for me to list everything they are against. However, just in case you are feeling left out, here are a few more groups he opposes, one of which I am sure will apply to you: Canadians, Swedes, the British, Chinese, the Irish and Americans that “tolerate” homosexuality. He also condemns college students, claiming they engage in petting and pursuing lusts of the flesh(I would like to point out that this preacher has 13 children, so apparently he was lusting after some flesh himself). He also says that menstruation is a curse for not being pure and if a female remained pure she would never menstruate. Okay, I haven’t been "pure" for many years now, but even when I was, I menstruated.

This group claims it protests at least 6 times a day at different locations. The members and their children can be seen holding signs with such grotesque slogans as “God Hates Fags,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Thank God for 9/11,” “Rabbis Rape Kids” and “Thank God for Breast Cancer.” They refer to the head of the Catholic Church as the “Pervert Pope,” Barack Obama as the “Antichrist” and view almost any other religion as Satanic or claim their leaders are “sending their members to Hell.”

Still not offended? How about this? After the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Gifford and several others, the group planned to picket the funerals of the six that were killed. They also posted “THANK GOD FOR THE SHOOTER—6 DEAD!” on their website whose address itself contains a hate slogan.

So how does a man that was a Civil Rights activist, once receiving an award from the NAACP for his work with black clients become a hate mongering preacher? Well, I have a couple theories on that, not all of which are mine. The first comes from his estranged son that says the preacher regularly used racial slurs outside the earshot of his clients and was simply representing them for one reason alone: Money. This same son also claims his father abused him, his siblings and his mother with his fists or the handle of a mattock. I mean clearly that must have been God’s will, right? Guess I missed the line in the Ten Commandments that read: Thou shall beat thy family.

My next theory is that, well, he is a big old homosexual and is so afraid of his feelings, urges and the possible acts he has engaged in that he condemns others for theirs, afraid someone will discover his true nature. After all, aren’t the ones that make the biggest stink usually the ones with something to hide? Most of the venom he spews is against anyone that is gay, supports homosexuality or doesn’t openly oppose it. His reason for protesting the military is because they allow homosexuals to be in the service. His argument against many churches is due to their “tolerance” of gays.

Then there is the fact that he is a fame whore. It cannot be overlooked that he purposely takes the most ridiculous, controversial view on everything, hiding behind his interpretation of the Bible. Isn’t it funny how all of his protests seem to be at the places that can gain him the most publicity? Steve Job’s funeral, Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, the funeral of a boy that was beaten to death by his peers because he was a homosexual and the Arizona shootings all gained national media attention. Boy, this man spends so much time protesting and spreading hate that I can’t help but wonder when he has time to preach at his church.

Whether this soap box bigot is gay, mental, drug addicted or just wasn’t hugged enough as a child, or maybe he was hugged too much, I don’t care. Hate is hate. But unfortunately, this preacher has the right to free speech however moronic that speech may be.

This brings me back to the soldier’s funeral. As we waited for Lance Corporal Harper to arrive, we all seemed to hold our breath every time a bus or large van went by fearing they would be carrying the protestors. Laws have been enacted in most states saying protestors must stay at least so many feet from a funeral (The distance varies from state to state). Still, the preacher had said that his people would be there. A part of me almost wanted them there so that I could go up to them and say something like “I am happy that your life is so perfect that you feel you have the right to judge others” or “God spreads love not hate. You are not doing God’s work. You are doing the Devil’s.” I would also have liked the opportunity to point out to them that the only reason they had free speech and were able to protest was because this man and many more like him fought for and protected that freedom. And although I don’t encourage violence, I kind of relished the idea of this group showing up to a place that was surrounded by Marines and bikers. Still, I didn’t want that kind of display for the sake of the fallen soldier’s family. After all, hadn’t they been through enough?

Nervously, I tried to search for protest signs through the windows of a blue bus that had slowed down and then went on its way. As I returned my gaze to the church, I couldn’t help but notice the white robed angels with their wings stretching approximately 8 feet across.

“I called them,” said the man next to me as he watched me admiring the ethereal figures.

“You called them?” I asked thinking they had just been a group of individuals showing their respect.

“Yeah, I heard on the Bert Show that there was a possibility of protesters coming so I called them and they sent out an email this morning to rally people.”

“Who are they?” I asked. He went on to explain that they are called Angel Action, a volunteer group that shows up to these events, surrounds the opposing group and raise their angel wings to shield the family from the protestors. The angels do not say a word to them, but simply keep them out of view. Apparently, there are different chapters of these angels across the country.

Angels in Action

As I said before, it takes a lot to surprise me. Still, I sat there in shock thinking what a wonderful concept this was and what an amazing thing it is that these angels do. These people take time out of their lives and volunteer to attend funerals of people they have never met in an effort to ease the pain of the grieving and to keep the hate from spreading. I couldn’t help but wishing everyone had a set of angels that would show up and block us from callous remarks, biting words and any cruelty we might encounter daily.

One of many homeade signs that lined the street.

Thankfully, the protestors elected not to show up, although there was buzz amongst the crowd that a few had come earlier and were arrested, but I couldn’t find anyone to confirm that for certain. I later saw in an article that the hate preacher was belly-aching about how his inability to protest at the funeral was a violation of his free speech.

Boo-freakin’ –hoo! Being an Irish Catholic, menstruating, former student that is dating a marine and that has many gay friends, as well as several female friends that I am pretty sure menstrate, I consider his rants and ravings offensive and in direct violation of my pursuit of happiness. Not to mention his protests cause noise pollution and there are ordinances for that.

Anyway, all I have to say is, “Not today, Fred.” You may think that you are righteous, but you certainly aren’t moral or humane. Nor do you have an ounce of compassion in your body. If you did, you would never protest a funeral hiding behind God's name and make a family’s suffering even worse.

Preach your hate if it makes you feel all warm and cozy. Twist the words of the Bible to fit your warped views. Make your protest signs. We heathens don’t care. After all, God has sent us our own set of angels to protect us from evil like you. Oh, and if you are ever in Detroit, give me a call. I have a Marine boyfriend with several military friends, a nephew that is a Private and a bunch of bikers that would love to have a few minutes alone with you.
Bikers gather to honor the fallen and pay their respects.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you wouldn't mind PLEASE spread the word about Angel Action and "Like" their website:!/pages/Angel-Action-Atlanta-Malachim/218688311528026

    Angels, thank you for all you do. God Bless!