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    Posted October 22, 2013 by
    Corvallis, Oregon

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    Westboro Church Fails To Disrupt Army Ranger's "Pagan" Funeral

    Oct. 21, 2013 The memorial service for Army Ranger Pfc. Cody Patterson was a moving, emotional tribute to a fallen hero. It was not, as predicted, disrupted by threatened protests from the religious extremists of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). In a press release dated October 16, 2013, the church (well-known for its protests at a variety of events, notably including the memorial services and funerals of military personnel) vowed to preach their belief that their god hates America and is killing American soldiers as punishment for the country’s tolerance of homosexuality. The press release went on to say that the church would protest because “Military funerals have become pagan [sic] orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool.” They promised to attend the services for the Army Ranger and “preach” their message in a “lawful” way during the ceremony held on the afternoon of October 20 on the Corvallis, Oregon, campus of Oregon State University.

    The press release drew the attention of thousands of people who vowed to prevent the Westboro contingent from disrupting the services. From biker honor guards, to the local Elks club, to individuals of many different religious backgrounds, the people began to gather hours before the service to form a “human wall” to block any protesters from being seen by friends and family of the deceased. It was a stunning sight to see thousands of ordinary Americans lining the streets. American flags were everywhere from the hands of children, to larger examples held by veterans or waiving from the back of hundreds of motorcycles. Signs supporting Pfc. Patterson lined both sides of the road all along the OSU campus route.

    While only a thousand or so were able to squeeze into the auditorium to witness the moving ceremony, thousands more remained outside in silent support. It was truly eerie to emerge from the building to a crowd of well over 1000 completely silent people. They held their flags and signs of support, but made no sound out of respect for the family of the fallen.

    It appears that the quite massive outflow of positive energy to defend the dignity of the Ranger’s memorial service overwhelmed the negativity of the Westboro Baptist contingent. The Church members failed to make an appearance. Both the Oregon State Police and Army media liaisons confirmed that there were no sightings of the protesters anywhere in Corvallis. Rumors abounded about WBC members scattered in the crowd or in remote locations, but there were no official sightings anywhere in Benton County.

    WBC has not yet made any statement explaining their failure to keep the promises made in their press release (which has now been removed from their website). At this point it is unclear if this was simply a lie told by the WBC to stir publicity for themselves, if they were unable to provide transportation to their members to get to Oregon, or if the outpouring of positive energy from people of all faiths simply overwhelmed the hate speech they had planned to deliver. Regardless of the reason, the memorial service for Pfc. Patterson was a beautiful, moving tribute to a fallen hero. Patterson’s father, brother, and sisters all spoke as did two close friends and Army dignitaries. The moving ceremony was a fitting tribute to a Ranger who gave his life in service of his country. It was impossible to tell the Pagans from the Christians from the Muslims or the atheists in the crowd…and that’s precisely how it should have been. Rest in peace Cody, the people of America have “your six”.
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