While many are justifiably concerned about the poor image Kansas is projecting because of the evolution-creationism flap, not enough regret is expressed about the woeful behavior of delegates from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. These people continue to pursue many shameless activities that cause most residents of the Sunflower State to cringe.
The latest insult: Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Thomas Britt helped make a difference in the world, Monsignor Joseph Tash told mourners Monday at the funeral for the 24-year-old soldier killed while leading a patrol in Iraq. Britt, a member of the Army's famed 101st Airborne, died Dec. 22 in Baghdad.
While mourners filled the 1,000 gymnasium seats at Wheeler (Texas) High School, the Kansas Westboro people gathered outside to distribute fliers saying American soldiers are dying in foreign lands as divine retribution for the nation's support of homosexuality. Fortunately, the demonstrators' chants were drowned out by motorcycle riders surrounding the group and revving the machines' engines.
The disgusting Fred Phelps-spawned crew has staged similar displays at many soldiers' funerals, including ceremonies in Tonganoxie and Topeka.
In response to an incident involving the Phelps group last August, the Indiana Legislature is considering a bill that would make disorderly conduct a felony if it occurred within 500 feet of a funeral or memorial service. The bill was unanimously endorsed by committee earlier this week and forwarded to the full Senate. At a funeral in Martinsville, Ind., for an Army sergeant killed in Iraq, six members of Westboro Baptist Church dragged U.S. flags on the ground and shouted insults at Jeremy Doyle's surviving family members.
Ironically, American soldiers like those that these services honor, have given their lives so that mindless misfits like the Westboro group can keep demonstrating as they do.
It cannot be put any better than attorney Joseph Welch did on national television when he admonished the out-of-control Sen. Joseph McCarthy with, "Have you no sense of decency, Senator?"