Apparently a bunch of people from some "godhates_(fill in the blank)__" group in the States is coming up for the funeral of Tim McLean this weekend in Winnipeg. They are planning to hold up signs like the ones you see here.
These picketers will be using the notoriety and vulgarity of this young man's random and horrific death as a soapbox for their own message. Whatever you think of their message, this is a despicable move.
(Incidentally, while I would agree with this group about some of the things they oppose, it is amazing to me just how extremely I do not agree with the method of, nature of, or even the reason for their opposition. It truly boggles my mind. But we can talk about that another time.)
Fundamentalist "godhaters" (as I'll call them, purposefully tongue in cheek) are not the only ones to be so disrespectful, however. Apparently P.E.T.A. was going to run ads in newspapers using this event as an opportunity to raise awareness of cruelty to animals. This is extremely disgusting. Thank God the newspapers (far as I know) aren't running them.
The Canadian outcry against these picketers from the US has been one of disdain, and I think that this is by and large a very healthy disdain. A facebook group has started, and on it some 700 people have volunteered to go and make a human wall around the funeral to protect the family from such disrespect.
Good for them. I personally think the better strategy would be to completely and utterly ignore these activists, to the point of walking right past the screaming as if no one was there, but I am kind of too late to start my own facebook group on that idea. I just hope the drama does not escalate to the further embarassment of those actually there to grieve.
The way these activists are further victimizing the grieving family simply as a platform for their propaganda is a disrespect tantamount to violence.
However, I will say I'm a little intrigued at some of the disdain. One has to wonder how much of it is actual respect for the family and how much is simple Canadian self-righteousness over these fundamentalist Americans, or even how much of it is an act of intolerance for the things these activists stand for.
Its just something I wonder, picking up on the way some people talk. But I can't really be the judge of that. Nor do I want to turn this whole despicable side show into a soapbox of my own. I'm also going to try to remember this next time (if) I am ever asked to preach at a funeral. It is a delicate time. Not a time to avoid the issues staring us in the face as humans, but not a time to become inhumane in the process.
Fact is, this whole incident was deeply tragic and sad. Tim McLean was the victim of a random and horrific act. My condolences go out to his family. I really hope nobody does anything stupid at that funeral.