They’ve heard that they’re coming, and they’re not going to stand for it. A group led by Tucson resident Christin Gilmer will organize an “angel action”, where members of the group will wear 8-by-10-foot “angel wings” to keep the Westboro Baptist Church from interfering with mourners at the funeral for Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed by Jared Loughner when he opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this past weekend.
Ironically, Green was born on September 11, 2001.
UPDATE: Arizona lawmakers are also attempting to ban protesters within 300 feet of funeral services.
When Gilmer heard Fred Phelps declare that the WBC was coming to protest at the funeral, as they’ve been doing for years at the funerals of people who died of AIDS, gays, and even soldiers, she and several others decided to take matters into their own hands.
Tucson is a “caring, loving, peaceful community,” says Gilmer.
“For something like this to happen in Tucson was a really big shock to us all,” she said. “Our nightmare happened when we saw Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket the funerals.”
The “angel actions” were created by Romaine Patterson of Colorado, who came up with the idea when the WBC showed up outside the 1999 funeral of Matthew Shepherd, a young gay man who had been beaten and left to die in Wyoming.
“We want to surround them, in a nonviolent way, to say that our community is united,” Gilmer said. “We’re a peaceful haven.
“You don’t mess with Tucson,” said Gilmer, 26, who described it as “a little dot of blue in a sea of red.”
So far, forty-two people have signed up on a Facebook page called “Build Angel Wings for the Westboro Funeral Counter-Protest and Meeting”, and more than 4,500 people have signed up on a separate Facebook page to “Show Support for the Families of the Tucson Shooting Victims.”
“People, businesses, they’re all donating material and money to build the angel wings,” said Gilmer.
She says the angels hope to convey a message of peace, not violence.
“We’re going to silently stand there so people can mourn the death of a 9-year-old girl who died in a senseless tragedy,” Gilmer said.
More in the video below.
- Fred Phelps of WBC Thanks God for the Arizona Shooting (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Westboro Baptist to Protest Funerals of Tucson Victims [Video] (gawker.com)
- Funeral pickets to be met by ‘angels’ – CNN International (news.google.com)
- Funeral picketers to be met by ‘angels’ (cnn.com)
- Countering The Westboro Baptist Protests Of The Six Slain In Arizona (pinkbananaworld.com)