Saturday, January 21, 2012

Freedom Riders shield grieving military families

Pastor Fred Phillips is the kind of guy whose zeal for religious matters exceeds the bounds of social convention.

He and his Westboro Baptist Church, a member of the Primitive Baptist denomination, routinely appear at the funerals of military veterans cut down in combat, sporting signs and chanting protests that say the veterans' deaths are a form of divine retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality.

Never mind the improvised explosive devices made from unexploded 250-pound bombs, the .308 rounds that spewed form the muzzle of AK-47's, or the rocket propelled grenades fired at American troopers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their deaths were the work of the Lord, according to Pastor Phillips and his flock.

A Topeka, Kansas, organization, the church consists mainly of his family members. They are also famous for their protests of community sympathy for the grieving family of a Laramie, Wyoming, youth who met his demise on a stretch of chilly upland prairie where he was lured by some straight cowboys who decided to pistol whip him to death.

In reaction, the Patriot Guard Riders often appear in their leather riding garb astride mucho loud-ola Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, bearing American flags which they unfurl and shield the grieving families of the stricken combat warriors from the taunts and insults of the Westboro Baptists.

When the time comes, they rev up the motor scooters and drown out the chants, singing patriotic songs and holding their American flags to keep the Westboro Baptists from getting through to their intended victims.

All hail!

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