Washington States Shame

If you think the bungled Gubernatorial election of 2004 was shameful and the stripping of Private Business Owner’s rights weren’t shameful enough for our state, Elected Legislators have outdone themselves again.

 

With emotions running high over the War on Terror and the Battle of Iraq, a small group of phony Christians from Kansas have decided it is their right to Freedom of Speech to show up at funerals of deceased soldiers. In their protests, they display signs such as, "God blew up the troops,” “Thank God for IEDs,” “God Hates Crippled Soldiers,” “Thank God for Maimed Soldiers,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” and much more.

 

While realizing that we do have Freedom of Speech in America, we do not have the Freedom to impugn innocent people in a time of grief. These families are hurting and suffering, some in support of the war, some not. Still, a funeral is a very private time for solace and grieving, not for sending any political message. Morons like the Reverend Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas and of the “God Hates Fags” fame, abuse the right to Free Speech to spread his message of hate against Gays by tying the death of soldiers in war to acceptance of Gays.

 

For the record, I do not embrace homosexuality and think it is a deviant lifestyle, at least for me. For others, that’s their business, as long they don’t try to push it off on me. I do not support gay Marriage but do not condone violence or discrimination against them simply because they are Gay. If that confuses you, contact me and I will try to explain.

 

This is the stance Phelps has taken to justify his hate of the American Military, claiming God is killing our troops because America is more tolerant of Gays today. Saying he is an idiot does an injustice to idiots everywhere.

 

Recently, Washington State Republicans made an attempt to head off hate filled protests by groups as Phelps’s. HB 3293, banning protesters at Military funerals was proposed. Republican Minority Leader Mike Hewitt made the bill’s passage one of his highest priorities. Democrat Majority Leader Lisa Brown agreed to guarantee a floor vote on one bill from each party. Hewitt chose HB 3293. Brown ignored the deal, and after passage of the bill she chose, had been she officially ended the session 24 hours early. A vote on HB 3293 would have taken about 10 minutes.

 

This leaves our Military families vulnerable to the likes of idiots like Phelps and his misled followers.

 

Contacting Lisa Brown, a reply was received that said, “Thank you for sharing your disappointment with me regarding the Legislature's failure to pass House Bill 3293 this session.

Please be assured, I support the bill as it came before the Senate this year. But because of a miscommunication in the final hours of the legislative session, it did not come to a full vote of the Senate.”

 

What kind of “miscommunication” could have prevented 10 minutes to vote on the bill but shut down the session 24 hours early?

 

I contacted Democrat Senator Craig Pridemore with;

 

As a Viet Nam Veteran, I am shocked that this bill was not even brought up for a vote in our Senate. Losing a loved one during war is heartbreaking. Funerals are a very emotional time for families. To think that Washington State would allow the likes of Fred Phelps to invade that stressful time with his misguided and outlandish protests is unfathomable to me.
 
Regardless of how one feels toward the War or the opposition party, funerals are not a time for protests, I feel.
 
I respectfully urge you to vote yes on this bill as a priority during the next session and not go along with any more attempts to block it.
 
Thank you

 

To his credit, Senator Pridemore answered,I agree, Lew.  I wasn’t watching this one closely this past session but will be working hard on it next year.” However, it is also to his shame and to the detriment of our Military families that he “wasn’t watching this one closely this past session.

 

I can only hope he is true to his word and both parties come together and pass this bill banning protesting at Military funerals. In the meantime, it is our states shame that the likes of Fred Phelps can appear in our state and make a painful time much worse.

 

Lew

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