Yesterday, a memorial service was held for the members of the family killed in Ohio by a drunk driver on December 30th. The tragedy made national news as the family was returning home from holiday celebrations with family and their vehicle was struck by a vehicle driving the wrong way on the interstate highway. Five members of the family died.
During the memorial service, three members of Westboro Baptist Church were protesting about a block away. From the Baltimore Sun:
Yesterday’s memorial service was the scene of a demonstration by a group that was recently ordered to pay millions for protesting at the Westminster funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Three members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, known for protests at military funerals, were demonstrating about a block from the church in the 7000 block of Harford Road.
The demonstrators said the deaths are God’s retaliation against the community for the $11 million award by a jury in Baltimore against the Kansas group.
So God punishes a community by killing a family for the actions of a Federal Court Jury? I have just a couple of questions for this theological stance.
- Should the charges against Michael Gagnon, the man charged with 5 counts of aggravated vehicular homicide be dropped because he was an “agent of God” doing God’s work of punishment?
- How far does this unjust god of theirs go in imposing punishment? Does there have to be a connection or does just being a member of the human race and living in this country suffice?
For the Phelps family, it seems as though any funeral or memorial service is designed to glorify the people who are dead. Too bad they don’t understand what a funeral or memorial service is about. I’ve posted my understanding of funerals and funeral sermons here.
Oh, one more thing. Westboro Baptist Church claimed after the judgment against them that the jury verdict that “killed this family” was a good thing. They bragged about the $11 million judgment doing more to advance their cause than to hurt it. It seems as though god who was at first happy about the judgment is now upset. Read their response to the verdict.