The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has had a special hatred for Oklahoma since somebody in McAlester slashed the tires on the family's minivan during their protest at a local soldier's funeral. WBC has used that hatred to justify picketing the funerals of not only Oklahoma's fallen soldiers, but Oklahoma's fallen children. On Thursday, WBC members (who were vastly outnumbered by area residents) protested at the funeral of a young man who'd died in a motorcycle crash. And although they didn't show up as promised, they'd also planned to protest at the funeral of a young woman who died in the same crash.
I already knew that WBC and its founder Fred Phelps have no regard for children. According to Nate Phelps, who fled from the family literally the moment he legally could, his father Fred regularly beat and emotionally abused him and his siblings. I don't know what goes on inside the Phelps' family compound in Topeka, but I can and do judge them from what they display to the public, namely children smiling as they hold signs bearing hateful slogans:
It's like watching a child who's sick with a disease that's beyond our comprehension. We're disgusted by the symptoms of the disease, as we'd be disgusted by oozing sores, projectile vomiting, or explosive diarrhea, but if any WBC kids ever read this, I hope they understand that our disgust is outweighed by our compassion for them. If they can overcome the intellectual and emotional holds that their elders have on them, we can overcome our abhorrence of the things they were forced to do as children.
Their fanatical elders have done their best to infect them with hate. Let's hope that didn't take, but their parents' toughness did. Whether the kids stay with the family or flee, they're going to need every bit of backbone they can muster.