Today John, Kristine and I went to the funeral for the brother of one of John's college friends. I went because he was on active duty in the U. S. Navy, so the Westboro so-called Baptist Church sent out their usual call for a demonstration at the funeral or burial. There was no chance that they would show up themselves; the major news media doesn't cover rural Ohio. And there was almost no chance anyone else would answer their call. Very few ever do, and those few are also publicity maniacs. Some people agree with their warped beliefs about God and homosexuality, but the vast majority of these people have a great respect for the military. If WBC is ever attacked, it is more likely to come from their friends than their enemies.
Anyway, although I didn't think that a counter-demonstration or protective "human wall" was necessary, I still went. Why? Well, partly because I could. I'm now 65, but I'm only semi-retired, so I do have extra time available for things. Here was something good to do and it fit into my work schedule; I could do this. And it would be time to spend with my son and someone who was extremely important to him. But mainly, I take my Christianity seriously, and I'm deeply offended by people who make it a laughingstock or worse. I want it to be clear that this is not, most emphatically NOT, the Jesus in Whom I have put my faith, trust and love.
So we went to the funeral together. As I'd expected, nothing evil happened. The human wall wasn't actually necessary. Within the church building, we had a normal Catholic funeral for a young adult who died too young. It wasn't easy; it reminded me too much of the funeral of my cousin Tom Hopkins. Especially when the priest remarked that 46 years ago, it had been Army uniforms in the front, and his brother right there in the middle. Yeah, Father, been there. It sucked. The cemetery was close by; everything went normally, and we headed back for our normal work.
But I had seen something wonderful. When we came to the church from the funeral home, a "human wall" was in place. I couldn't see all the way around the church, but everywhere I could see was defended. People had come together to help and protect their friends and neighbors in a hard time. Some were local folks, and some were from elsewhere like us, responding to Keith's (the brother) friends and relations.
Sometimes, good comes out of evil. This looks like one of those times. I feel greatly blessed to have been there.