Westboro Baptist Church continues their disrespectful and disgusting practice of picketing the funeral services of our troops who give their lives in battle. WBC has issued a press release proclaiming their intent to picket the funeral of CWO3 Matthew Wagstaff, which will be held on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. at Jenkins-Soffe South Valley in South Jordan, Utah.
On their press release, WBC writes "Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool". On the bottom of the flyer, it reads "Thank God for IEDs". They do pledge to keep a "respectful" distance, although the most "respectful" distance they could keep would be to remain in Topeka, Kansas where they come from. I used to be somewhat sympathetic to these fools when they restricted themselves to picketing homosexual venues, but they lost me when they started picketing military funerals. They even picket other churches, and showed up to picket the funeral services of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley at Temple Square in February 2008.
The death of CWO3 Wagstaff, who hailed from Orem, Utah, was first reported by the Deseret News on September 23rd; other stories were published by the Provo Daily Herald and KSTU Channel 13. Wagstaff was a helicopter pilot whose Blackhawk helicopter went down on Tuesday September 21st in southern Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Eight other service members were killed in the crash near the town of Qatal in Zabul province. Although the Taliban took responsibility for downing the helicopter, no evidence supports that claim to date.
Assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade home-based at Fort Campbell, KY, Wagstaff was a 10-year Army veteran on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. He had also done a stint in Iraq. He left behind his wife, Tiffany, who he had just married in January 2010.
According to his obituary, CWO3 Wagstaff's awards and decorations included (more pending): Bronze Star Medal; Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Meritorious Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; and the NATO Medal and Army Aviator Badge. The Bronze Star and the Air Medal specifically require one to put himself deliberately in harm's way to earn them.
Instead of saying "Thank God for IEDs", WBC ought to thank God for people like CWO Matthew Wagstaff are willing to defend their right to picket, and seal their testimonies of freedom with their blood. I would suggest that if they show up for this funeral, people ignore them. WBC are attention whores who thrive on confrontation and conflict.