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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Patriot Guard Riders

While I live in Canada and have had no contact with this group of people, I felt that I wanted to make a post about them. You see we've heard bits and pieces about them for months in the media, but most people don't know what or who they really are.

The PGR organize in response to another group, Westboro Baptist Church (they are an independant Baptist church, with no affiliation to any other Baptist association or organization). The WBC is a religious group out of Topeka, Kansas, that is lead by Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. This group is extremeist in it's views against homosexuality. This anti-gay stance is the foundation of most of their 'protests'. It is the position of this group that homosexuality 'enablers' are damning most of the world to hell. It should also be noted that 90% of his 100 or so followers are relatives of Phelps, through blood or marriage (not accusing, just wondering if a portion of that is incestuous).

So this small group has taken it upon themselves to 'judge' the world, for not being 'rabidly anti-gay' like them. I see that Mr Phelps decided to ignore the passages in the bible such as:

Matt 7:11 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matt 22:37-40

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The followers of Phelps, ignoring God's commands of love and non judgement, have taken up their Rabid Anti-Gay cause and protested many events. Then the abhorrent occured. They decided that they would begin protesting at the funerals of military personnel that died in the line of duty. And they did this with much noise and hate, carrying signs with statements such as: "God Hates Fags", "America is Doomed", "Don’t worship the dead" & "Military Fags". They spout hateful things and can make quite a spectical. Not only disrespecting the deceased, but the family and other loved ones. A time of grief and deep sorrowed further tainted by hate propaganda.

I remember first reading of this awful group. I was sickened and appalled that they could wrap themselves around free speech and religion, yet propagate and promote hate. A short time later I had cause to smile and give a little sigh of relief. A new group had formed. A group that would protect and support the families and love ones of the military dead. They would stand for the War heros and drowned out the messages of hate. In August 2005, The Patriot Guard Riders were born in Kansas (albeit not yet with that particular name), created by members of the Kansas American Legion Riders (legion post 136).

On October 11th, 2005 this group successfully completed their first organized mission. The funeral of Sgt John Doles in Chelsea, Oklahoma. The Patriot Guard name was decided upon that same October (wanting to recognize the many different contributors to the group) and announced to the riders attending the October 27th, Tonganoxie Mission to Honor SPC Lucas Frantz. The group grew through the various Legion Rider contacts, and spread country wide.

From then to now the PGR has grown in size and broadened the work they do for their country, which includes: Honor Missions, Send Offs & Welcome Homes, Fallen Warrior Scholorship Fund and Help on the Homefront.

A group I deeply admire, yet a group I hope we never have need for here in Canada, as that would mean we have hate mongering groups like Phelps and his followers.


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