Alas, a group of people not even local to the event is using this tragedy to further their own hate agenda-- a completely inappropriate response, as I'm sure you'll agree. The Westboro Baptist Church (godhatesfags.com) will be protesting at the funeral of the killed children, in support of their claims that the accident was, in fact, caused directly by God because He hates homosexuals.
I know. The connection is a little lost on me, too.
Anywho, what does one do? If I thought protesting would help, I'd be on my way to Huntsville right now. However, I think my presence would only make these funerals even more of a circus, and I have far too much respect for the families and friends of these children to make the situation any worse than it already is.
Well, what should pop up on my friends list but the best solution I've seen to date. Thanks to weswilson for passing it along
I just learned that Fred Phelps is coming to Huntsville on Friday to picket the funerals of Lee High School students killed in the tragic bus wreck. Here's the press release from his web site: http://www.godhatesfags.com/fliers/nov2006/20061121_huntsvill-alabama-school-bus.pdf
There will be one funeral on Friday, and two on Saturday (see details at the bottom).*
I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, I believe that there should be a public outcry against Phelps' hateful homophobic agenda, and a clear message that Huntsville rejects him and his attempt to capitalize on personal tragedy.
On the other hand, I recognize that he is looking for media minutes, and the more counter-protestors there are, the more press Phelps and his hate group will get. He may bring 15 people to picket the funeral. We could organize a counter-protest of many times that number, but that would add to the circus and the stress for families and friends of the deceased.
Here's something that has been done successfully in other cities: collect pledges for a good cause for each minute that Phelps and his group demonstrate. The longer Phelps is there, the more money gets donated to local gay and lesbian groups. In this case, I think it would be appropriate to split donations between the fund for the students' families, and Aids Action Coalition.
Would you be willing to donate? I suggest $1.00 for every 10 minutes that Phelps and his group demonstrates in Huntsville. More or less is OK, of course, depending upon your circumstances.
We will display a large sign that is visible to Phelps, and will update it every 10 minutes with the current total. Please send me your pledge by Friday morning, and also let me know if you would like to help in other ways.
Tom Moss, Mr.Carlson@knology.net
Social Justice Commitee
Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville
I will be pledging-- Paul and I will have to figure out exactly how much tonight.
If you wish to support this plan, please do. If you can spread the word, please do that, too.
Thanks so much :)
* I've removed the addresses of the funerals indicated in this correspondence.