Disclaimer: I am not trying to minimize the pain of the families who have to go through a funeral service with WBC right outside. Their actions are despicable, and I am trying to find a way to view them in a postive light.
Dear Westboro Batpist Church,
If you aren’t busy on the day that I die, I was wondering if you would please picket my funeral. I have no plans to die any time soon, and I hope to God that you are disbanded by the time I do, but on the off-chance I meet an untimely death or you are still active on this earth in 60+ years, I hope you will stop by.
Not because I want you there. I don’t. Well, really, I don’t care because I’ll be dead. But I hate the idea of you bothering my family and friends as they mourn their loss. Your colorful and hate-filled signs are more at place on internet-joke sites than at somber, faith-filled events such as funerals.
So while I’m sure my family would prefer to go without seeing you at my funeral, I’d be honored if you attend. Not because of any choice you make (I couldn’t really care less about that), but hopefully about choices I make in my life.
You see, I hope I live a life that makes you angry. In my faith, we are called to be saints – people who follow Christ’s will, love the poor, help the disadvantaged, accept outcasts, fight for justice, spread the gift of God’s love. And it seems to me that the people whose funerals you protest are ones that have done just that.
You have protested soldiers and others who have fought for freedom. Those who have died from injustices due to the hateful prejudices in this country. You have protested artists and religious leaders. You have protested victims of all sorts, from the Holocaust to tornadoes to senseless acts of violence.
I want to fight for these victims, and to do it so well that it makes you furious. I want to speak out for those you speak against, to love those you hate. I want to be a peacemaker, one who hungers and thirsts for justice, merciful, clean of heart, persecuted for justice’s sake.
I hope to honor God. And while this might take a long time, I want to learn to love you. To forgive you. But most of all, I want to forget you. I want to forget that we live in a world that practices so much hate in the name of a God that preached only love. I don’t want my children to forget, I want my children to never even have to know that world. I want them to read about you in history books and to not be able to comprehend a world with that type of hate and discrimination.
But if that doesn’t happen, and you decide to attend my funeral, I hope they welcome you with open arms as a sign of a life well lived.