I wrote this paper for my sociology class and thought I would share it with you guys and get your opinion on the matter.
The recent news of a small Kansas church group protesting at United States service member’s funerals has brought nationwide attention recently. The members of Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church believe that God is punishing the United States for “the sin of homosexuality” through events such as soldiers’ deaths. The members have been known to be loud and extremely offensive to the grieving family members near memorial services and burials. CNN News Supreme Court Producer wrote of the members displaying homemade signs saying things such as, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God Blew Up the Troops.” This is an extreme way of these individuals taking social action. They truly believe that by protesting homosexuality at these events that it will change the way American’s look at the rights of Gay individuals. By them making such statements as, “America is Doomed” and “God hates fags”, they are sending a huge message to other religious people who are against homosexuality saying that this violent action is the right way to express their beliefs. The news has shown more attention to the protesters acts at military funerals but this group has also been known to picket gay churches and gay weddings. These protests are one in a sea of many throughout America against the Gay community.
Since this has to do with religious beliefs it can have a huge effect on society. Since religion creates social solidarity the values, rules, and norms are set by this experience and gives different cultures the basis for how there world works. For some reason these individuals believe God is punishing them for allowing homosexuality into our world and ultimately our culture. Since all of us try to understand the world and what are parts are in it, religion plays a big part in that understanding. Since the United States is still largely a religious country, people are looking for guidance within a church community. The members of this radical church group are speaking out and gaining followers. They are traveling throughout the country and participating in hundreds of protest to; as they say to demonstrate their freedom of speech. But where is the line drawn between privacy rights for grieving families and the free rights of demonstrators? Even with their provocative and disturbing messages the courts aren’t sure who has more of a right.
The message these members are sending into society has created a mass of outraged citizens. In result of the story about the protesters harassing military families a volunteer group has formed called the “Patriot Guard Riders”, this group of more than 400 motorcycle riders showed up to make certain that the funeral of Sgt. Jessie Davila was not overshadowed by the protesters. Davila’s mother spoke out about the protesters saying that these individuals were, “killing the American Dream – they won’t be around very long, because nobody’s going to let them.” Kansas City News reported another mourner speaking out at a funeral being protested making the statement that, “They shouldn’t protest the funeral for a man who was out there dying to protect the rights that they’re demanding they receive.”
The act of dishonoring American Soldiers funerals in regards to homosexuality has astounded many Americans. It seems this group’s radical message and choice of where to protest is causing and outrage in American society. People are coming together to stand up against these protesters and stop the harassment of military families. No matter what their message may be, the members of this Church are possibly causing a big change in many societies nationwide, more than a dozen states are now considering passing laws that would prohibit protesting at funerals.
These protestors are trying to change the way society looks at homosexuality, trying to change what’s already begun to change in respect to the gay communities in America. Society is beginning to accept these individuals and give them the rights they deserve. The movement to stop homosexuality is ridiculous. America is changing, and what these protesters do not realize is that we will protect each other. For some reason this religious organization believes God is punishing America for allowing homosexuals to have rights, this movement is so familiar to that of the civil rights movement it’s scary. A large part of the country is fighting to keep gays from having rights in society and another large part is fighting to allow them that right. The Gay Rights Movement is just another change in the face of society. To be a free country we have to allow individuals the right to be free to make their own choices, no matter what our personal beliefs.
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