Grieving friends and family were not pleased to find anti-gay protesters at the funerals of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq. The soldiers were Sgt. Ashbury Fred Hawn II of Smyrna and Spc. Gary Reese Jr. of Ashland City.
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas showed up at the funerals. They converged on the Smyrna United Methodist Church and the Ashland City National Guard Armory to spread their hateful message. They carried signs with slogans like “God Hates Fags”. They claim because America harbors gays God is taking vengeance on its soldiers. This was one of many protests at military funerals throughout the country.
But, this time they met their match. The people of Smyrna and Ashland City, Tennessee were not amused. It was plain wrong for the church to use the funerals to further their agenda. Hundreds of residents of Smyrna and Ashland City showed up at the church and armory to counter the protesters. They then chased them out of town.
There is a time and a place for everything. And, this wasn’t it! What Westboro Church did was completely disrespectful to the memories of the soldiers and to the mourners who came to honor them. Cheers to the people of Tennessee for standing up to them!
[Veteran’s Memorial Photograph courtesy of Philip Sasser, www.sxc.hu]