Patriot Guard Riders

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Mike
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I'm not putting this thread Civilized Debate... and I really hope that this thread doesn't fall into a discussion about the war. Whether or not you agree with the war, I think that 99% of people respect the troops and what they go through. If you don't, post over in Civilized Debate instead of this thread. ;)

This may not come as news to many of you, but I'd never heard of the Patriot Guard Riders or the Westboro Baptist Church before. This was my learning experience, and I felt I should share it with you.

I didn't know him, but a soldier recently died serving in Iraq who went to the same high school as I did in the small town of Waynesboro, PA. An employee at my computer store, however, was good friends with Sgt Shaffer -- and was off work on Friday for the funeral. That day, all of the businesses on Main Street closed and the town square was filled with people standing in the rain to pay their respects as the funeral passed through. The funeral was led by a Pennsylvania State Police car and several motorcyclists. I didn't think much of it at the time, but came to find that they were members of the Patriot Guard Riders. One of them wrote at PatriotGuard.org:

"The awesome display of patriotism along the 21 mile route was unbelievable. At the onset as we left the funeral home and preceded down Main Street of Waynesboro the center square was completely full of Flags and people showing their respect for our fallen hero. At various points along the way there were people lining the streets. As we proceeded into Sgt Shaffer’s hometown the outpouring of people brought tears to my eyes as I rode in Honor of Sgt. Shaffer. I have never in my life been as moved to see the patriotism of the people in these small towns. It has re-enforced my faith that people do care about the United States of America."

After the event, I read an article in our local paper that was printed the day before:


That prompted me to do some investigation on both the Westboro Church as well as the Patriot Guard Riders. From the article, I assumed that they were people who simply chose to protest the war at funerals -- inappropriate to be sure, but I wasn't expecting what I found. I won't link to their site here, but you can find it easily if you try. They believe that America is being punished for allowing homosexuality. Their web logo is an upside-down American flag and at these protests they hold signs that read, "God Hates America", "Your Son Is In Hell", "Thank God for IEDs", etc. They sing patriotic songs... with very different lyrics. And they do it all while standing on American flags. Wow.

Fortunately, they're required to stay 500 feet away from the funeral. Unfortunately, that's simply not far enough for mourning families. That's where the Patriot Guard Riders come in. Because they are invited by the families, they are permitted to be closer than the 500 feet requirement. As a result, they stand between these protesters and the funeral. Two men will hold an American flag in such a way to block the protesters, and if necessary they rev the engines of their motorcycles to drown out the chanting and singing.

Thankfully, the "church" didn't show up at our local funeral. You can read about the Patriot Guard Riders in another local article.

I highly recommend watching this short video.

Half way through this video you can see the protesters, their signs, and the Patriot Guard Riders blocking them.

I try to stay out of politics, as it inevitably causes disagreements, but it sure upsets me to see people be so rude and inconsiderate... it just goes to prove that there really are crazy people out there.
 

LauraMJ

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Absolutely crazy people out there. My church (also Baptist) supports the troops completely and utterly and often has dinners and other gatherings to raise money for care packages, for bereaved families and sometimes simply to do something to honor vets of all the wars.

It really jerks me that heinous people such as this use God/religion/church as an excuse to spew their hatred and anti-patriotism........I suppose they think that will protect them in some way.......maybe it does, but if so, then I would wish churches and the Baptist organization would issue a condemnation of them, cut them out, or something. :mad:

Lord knows I believe people should be free to choose their beliefs and express themselves, but I sure wish people would at least have the decency to respect the fact that someone has lost their loved one, and this is a FUNERAL, despite what you may have thought of that person. :mad:
 

Gabriel

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May 1, 2003
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Hope it is ok to put this here too.

Here is something very interesting I found on gators for our troops. I saw a sewing show on TV where a woman made these for her son and friends overseas......it sounds like a good way to both participate in support, and give in a practical way.

This link is to the gator coolers...there is a page for the warmers also....go to the top of this links page, and click on gators. Both options will come up.

http://www.singforpeace.com/Coolers.html
 
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Wow, checked out the WBC site... very disturbing. :( :mad:

We saw the story about the Patriot Guard the other evening on ABC News. Good job to them. (y)

I believe if there is such an event near me, I will do what I can to assist against those wackjobs from the WBC... I think we all should. So disrespectful. I'm pissed. :mad: :mad:
 

angelize56

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Hi Mike: We have discussed both groups in CivDeb...Westboro Baptist Church has shameful and disrespectful members! (n) :mad: They're an insult to our fallen heroes! Freedom of speech comes at a terrible cost for some...

As for the Patriot Guard Riders...(y) (y) ...we need more lke them!! :)
 

Stoner

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It's a real shock to read up on the WBC, see their web site and even consider they live in our society.
That's about the most intense group of hateful people I've read about.
About the only facts that seemed positive ( if you could call it that ) were their small numbers ( ~80 ) and that they don't marry out side their membership.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
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I've heard of these people before... I don't believe in Heaven and Hell but if there is a Hell I hope they have reserved a very special place in it for these 'people'.

They also are not allowed to marry outside of their 'church' which consists of (from all accounts) two families... explains alot!

I don't agree with the war, I don't agree with ANY war but I support our soldiers and those of other countries 100% and I think ANYONE protesting at a funeral should be shot on sight!
 
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Mar 3, 2000
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Mike
My brother is member of Patriot Guard Riders and has attended a few in Pa. I will have to ask him if he was there. He lives outside Buffalo and he has come to Pa with other members for funerals.
 
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I will most definitely be joining the Patriot Guard Riders. Families deserve mourning and not to be subjected to hatred. I have protested against the WBC before and will certainly be doing so again.
 

Ciberblade

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Sep 22, 2003
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That makes me sad -- on many levels. I can't even lay out a response right now. :(
 
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this brings to mind that photo of the taliban funeral, targeted by an american spy plane

the military elected not take the group out....all political considerations aside, at some level it was just common decency that prevailed.....

ironic, that these protestors could actually learn something from "the other side"

thanks for posting this mike....good to see folks are standing up for some common decency for a change. (y)
 

wacor

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Feb 22, 2005
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This group of religious nuts came into Michigan last year. I remember reading about these nuts from that church at the time. Those kinds of people are sickening. Thank good ness there are other groups such as the Patriot Guard Riders around.
 
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wacor said:
This group of religious nuts came into Michigan last year. I remember reading about these nuts from that church at the time. Those kinds of people are sickening. Thank good ness there are other groups such as the Patriot Guard Riders around.
They didn't do to well in Ann Arbor :D
Early in 2001, Ann Arbor, MI resident and business owner Keith Orr heard that his establishment was being targeted by Fred Phelps and he wanted to respond constructively. He and his partner, Martin Contreras, did not want to promote a counter-demonstration, feeling that Phelps gains the most attention – and hence is most effective – when he provokes anger and outrage from his opponents. Rather, Orr decided to use his Phelps visit to the community's advantage.

Phelps's plans to picket the establishment came to light only two days prior to his scheduled February 17, 2001 demonstration. With little time, Orr used the Internet to organize a unique fundraising scheme. In an email message to customers, supporters, and friends, he proposed that people pledge money to a local charity for every minute that Phelps picketed his establishment. In this way, Orr explained, the longer Phelps stayed to spew hate, the more money he would raise for the local charity. He and Contreras kicked off the drive by pledging $1 per minute. Only 48 hours after Orr and Contreras kicked off the drive – friends and supporters of the Ann Arbor community had promised to contribute a total of $125 for every minute Phelps picketed the establishment.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Early in 2001, Ann Arbor, MI resident and business owner Keith Orr heard that his establishment was being targeted by Fred Phelps and he wanted to respond constructively. He and his partner, Martin Contreras, did not want to promote a counter-demonstration, feeling that Phelps gains the most attention – and hence is most effective – when he provokes anger and outrage from his opponents. Rather, Orr decided to use his Phelps visit to the community's advantage.

Phelps's plans to picket the establishment came to light only two days prior to his scheduled February 17, 2001 demonstration. With little time, Orr used the Internet to organize a unique fundraising scheme. In an email message to customers, supporters, and friends, he proposed that people pledge money to a local charity for every minute that Phelps picketed his establishment. In this way, Orr explained, the longer Phelps stayed to spew hate, the more money he would raise for the local charity. He and Contreras kicked off the drive by pledging $1 per minute. Only 48 hours after Orr and Contreras kicked off the drive – friends and supporters of the Ann Arbor community had promised to contribute a total of $125 for every minute Phelps picketed the establishment.
This is actually an excellent idea--they should organize these things every time and donate the money to advocate groups for homosexual rights! By the time Phelps is done, he will have funded a movement to legalize gay marriage! :D
 

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