Saturday, August 09, 2008

Funeral not protested by Westboro Baptist

I have been following developments at the funeral of Tim McLean to see if members of the Westboro Baptist Church would show up after reports came out last night that a few members had slipped across the Canadian border despite attempts to keep them out of the country.  According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the funeral started without incident and without any sign of the Westboro gang. 

There were, however, about 250 people who didn't attend the funeral but waited outside the Westwood Community Church just in case the protesters showed up. According the Free Press, many said they didn't know McLean but they lined the road because they believed the McLean family had the right to grieve in peace and they were prepared to peacefully block any protesters. About ten police cars were also patrolling the area.

In a way, this is not entirely surprising, as Westboro members had said in interviews yesterday that they were having second thoughts about picketing, citing concerns for their safety.  Perhaps... but I wonder if they knew that had they been stopped by a peaceful demonstration, any real publicity would have been lost. And that, I believe, is what they were really after.

I could say more about publicity seekers and demonstrations (I have some real concerns with some of the so-called Christian protests that took place this week in Beijing) but I will leave it there for now. But let me add this thought; I wonder about the validity of protests that seem to be calculated to draw more attention to the protestors than those they are supposed to be protesting for. 

Give me a couple of days and I might have more to say. I am still struggling whether it is worth stepping into this hornet's nest in the first place.

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