Today, I am going to take a little detour from Animal Rights Activism, and talk about Westboro Baptist Church, and the creative use of non-violent civil disobedience used by some to protect the rights of those targeted by WBC.
Oppression of others is what injustice looks like.
And it does not matter whether it is specism, sexism, agism, classism, racism, these are based on someone making judgments based on what group someone belongs to and deciding their membership of that group makes them “less than”.
Once a group has been decided they are “less than” everyone else, it is easy to remove their rights, because somehow they deserve them.
Injustice is always injustice.
Westboro Baptist Church display no christian values that Jesus would recognise. They spread hate, pure and simple hate.
For a great background on Westboro : this post Luna Coyote87 Presents: “Reason You Suck Post”: Westboro Baptist Church, describes some of the hatred they disseminate.
They picket and protest against the funerals of a whole range of people, that is hard to keep track of just who it is they hate every day.
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
But the fight-back has begun. Oklahoma vs. Westboro Baptist Church
Recently in Oklahoma, the Westboro minivan arrived to picket the funeral of f Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey, the people of McAlester, OK decided they had had enough.
The Westboro protestors they faced off with a massive crowd of jeering and taunting counter-protesters, estimated by the police chief, to be about 1000 people, who only drowned out the Westboro Travelling Road Show of Hatred with jeers and tauts, but also with raucous chants of “USA, USA” (Westboro protesters come up flat)
When they returned to their van, they found there tyres had been slashed – and no one in town would repair them.
While, USAmericans will say, they are entitled to their rights of free speech and protest. The families of these deceased military men and women, who die protecting that right, are entitled to bury their loved one in peace.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Bishop Desmond Tutu
When members of the Gary Francione’s flock talk about “direct action” the example they use 99 times out of 100 is burning down a building. They say that civil disobedience is neither vegan or animal rights.
However, as these examples from Oklahoma show, civil action can be creative and doesn’t always involve arson.
None are free, until all are free.
(I would imagine living with that kind of hatred against almost everyone day-in and day-out must have some kind of physical effect on the health of these people, carrying around that much anger against the world I would think is really unhealthy.)