Commentary: Westboro Baptist Church shouldn't be so quick to judge in Paterno death
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
On Thursday, former Penn State coach Joe Paterno will be laid to rest after spending half of his life teaching the lessons of life and football in State College, Pa. Thousands will attend to mourn the loss of Paterno as part of a three-day period of public mourning that started Tuesday and runs until Thursday. While most attendees are saying their final goodbyes to the winningest coach in Division I college football history with love and respect, other, less welcome visitors will be trying to disrupt.
The Westboro Baptist Church, a notorious hate group that protests military funerals and often partakes in other acts of stupidity, plans to picket the funeral in protest of homosexuality.
2012 marked the 50th year of marriage between Paterno and his wife, Sue. That seems straight to me.
Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro minister Fred Phelps, tweeted this week that Paterno is "in Hell" and implied that God took Paterno's life on Sunday morning because he failed to report the child molestation allegations that surround former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
This makes sense, because God certainly wasn't aware of Paterno's failure to report Sandusky's wrongdoings when they happened 10 years ago.
As all semi-intelligent human beings, such as Margie Phelps, are aware, God only finds out when people commit awful acts in life once the media gets ahold of the information and reveals it to the general public.
It must have been difficult for God to determine who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell before media outlets like ESPN, CNN and The Lantern existed. I suppose he just flipped a coin on anyone and everyone who never made the newspapers.
I hope you can sense my sarcasm.
WBC gets away with protesting funerals and events on a regular basis. Thursday might be a bit different. Coming into State College, Pa. and disrespecting Paterno is the equivalent of protesting a king's funeral — and make no mistake about it, in State College, there has never been and will never be a more prominent, iconic and king-like figure than Paterno.
The State College Police Department should quietly arrest the protestors within seconds of them arriving. I'm not a policeman, but this fits the description of "disturbing the peace," right? If PSU students were arrested for protesting Paterno's firing, then an arrest of WBC for protesting his funeral certainly seems appropriate.
Don't make a big deal of it — keep the spotlight on honoring Paterno. Then, get the dirt bags out of the public eye and make sure they never want to come back to State College, Pa., again.
Paterno made an incredible mistake. Not reporting the molestation of anyone, regardless of age or gender, is beyond unacceptable.
I'm not saying Paterno deserves a free pass because of his death. What I am saying is that for more than 60 years, Paterno took thousands of young football players and did all he could to ensure they became men, both on and off the field. His former players' testimonials about him over the past few weeks have been countless and genuine.
When Sandusky goes to court and the facts are unveiled, the psychos that run WBC can have their say, hold up their signs and believe that anyone other than fellow loons and bigots care about their message.
The rest of us sane people can have our opinions as well.
But for now, they should stay away from the situation and allow Paterno's family and friends to let him go in peace. Let's hope the folks who run law enforcement in State College, Pa. make sure of that.