can’t see the forest

When Fred Phelps Attacks the Grieving Families of Dead Schoolchildren

Posted in Alabama, Fred Phelps, News, USA, Westboro Baptist Church, wrecks by Curtis on 11/22/06

Lee High School Bus Crash - WAFF 48This Monday, in the city of Huntsville, Ala., a schoolbus carrying more than 30 students from Lee High School was forced off of an elevated portion of Interstate 565 downtown.

Huntsville Police Chief Rex Reynolds said a car driven by another Lee High student either came close to the bus or struck it, forcing it to plow through the concrete railing. The bus fell about 30 feet and struck Church Street, a busy downtown avenue, nose-first.

Two teenage girls were killed at the scene, with two other victims later dying in the hospital. As of Wednesday there were still a number of surviving victims in the hospital, several of which were listed in critical condition.

The driver of the bus exited the vehicle as it left the roadway, falling with it—but not inside of it—to the street below. He survived the fall and is currently in critical condition, unable to communicate with investigators.

The students were being carried to classes at a Huntsville technical center when the accident occured. “They were falling on each other. People were screaming, yelling, crying,” said sixteen year-old survivor LaWanda Jefferson.

Jefferson opined that, had there been seatbelts on the bus, injuries would have been far fewer and less severe. The deaths from the accident are Alabama’s first schoolbus fatalities since 1999, and the second such incident since 1969.

Westboro “Baptist Church,” the Topeka, Kansas outfit notorious for protesting the funerals of US servicepeople with loud jeers and posters reading “God Hates Fags” and so on, has already applied to the city of Huntsville for a permit to picket the funerals of the crash victims.

Here is the text of WBC’s “News Release” on the matter, published yesterday (11/21/06):

WBC to picket the funerals of schoolchildren killed in Huntsville, Alabama when their school bus from Lee High School plunged 30 feet off a highway overpass—in religious protest and warning: “God is not mocked!” Gal. 6:7. God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Alabama and America because they have gone the way of Sodom and have become The Land of the Sodomite Damned.

[several disjointed passages of scripture follow]

God has cursed Alabama and America: “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” Isa. 48:22

Fred Phelps and his useless organization of common hoodlums will stop at nothing to generate press coverage for themselves—that has been and continues to be the only aim behind such antics. For the sake of the grieving families, it is frustrating indeed that the group is generally entirely within its constitutional rights in carrying out such pathetic acts; but at all costs we must not let them turn self-congratulatory acts of religious perversion into a First Amendment quandary. In the end, I suspect that is the ultimate design of Mr. Phelps.

The scene of the accident is about 25 miles from my house—so, in this case, Westboro is hitting close to home. Previously the WBC has sought to blame American ethnic, religious, and lifestyle diversity for everything from hurricanes to the Iraq War. For their failure to make any kind of impact whatsoever outside of their own skulls, Phelps and his followers can only blame themselves. The WBC styles itself a Baptist Church, but maintains no affiliation of any sort with any religious convention or other similar body. I’ve half a mind to gather a group of rather large people to form a human barrier between Phelps’ pawns and the funeral. We will see how events unfold.

My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and with all parties affected personally by this terrible tragedy.

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