Phoenix, AZ – They are members of the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas.
They've gained national attention by picketing the funerals of
service men and women killed in action, carrying signs
proclaiming that God Hates Fags. Now they're targeting some of
the victims of Saturday's shooting in Tucson. The first planned
picket is for Thursday at the funeral of 9-year-old Christina-
Taylor Green who died in the hail of gunfire that killed five
others and injured 14, including Congresswoman Gabrielle
Giffords. But church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps Roper said the
victim's age is irrelevant.
(God gets to choose who he will make an example of. He chose that
child. Now you're worshiping her because of the stinking date
she was born. What the heck. This child is ruined by this
country. She was taught from the womb. The Bible, God's word
said, you corrupted her, from the womb.)
That birthdate reference stems from the fact the girl was born on
Sept. 11, 2001. Church members also plan to picket the funeral of
John Roll who was the presiding federal court judge in Arizona.
(That federal judge is paying the down payment for this nation,
through your federal judiciary, lining up across the country and
putting us on trial. Everyone watched that happen and every
federal judge had a duty to rise up with one voice and say, no,
this violates our First Amendment. This is the law of this land.)
The new law says there cannot be any picketing or protesting
within 300 feet of a cemetery or any house of worship where
funeral services are being conducted, from one hour before the
event until one hour after it ends. Violators are subject to
being jailed for six months and a 25-hundred dollar fine. House
Speaker Kirk Adams said he is confident that this doesn't violate
either freedom of speech or the right to assemble.
(The courts have long upheld that we don't have the right to
dictate or prevent speech. But we can regulate time, manner and
place. And this bill, we believe, is in compliance with those
court rulings and the First Amendment.)
Governor Jan Brewer, whose signature made the law effective
immediately, said she's very conscious of protecting individual
rights. But the governor said she, like Adams, believes this bill
is legal. And given the actions of the members of the Westboro
Baptist Church, Brewer said it's the right thing to do.
(We're fed up with this nonsense, of these people and that
behavior. They can stay a little distance away from people that
are mourning and grieving.)
The new law won't be the only thing that may keep protesters some
distance from the funerals. Some Tucsonans are organizing to
create a human blockade all around the events, keeping church
members far enough back that families won't know they're there.
Sen. Paula Aboud said the experience of what was done elsewhere
when church members went to picket funerals shows that's not a
bad alternative to legislation.
(My own personal preference is that we do what the small towns in
the Midwest have done. And that is people from two to three hours
away came and created human chains and protected the families so
that these protesters were so far away that the family did not
even hear the comments.)
For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer