The other day, I found out from a friend that members of a certain notorious church from the Midwest — the name of which I will not utter because of its bigoted views on religion, sexual orientation and a slew of other topics — is planning to picket the memorial service of 1st Lt. Todd Weaver ’08 this Saturday.
Weaver was killed Sept. 10 in Afghanistan. He was a husband and father, and he died serving his country.
I firmly believe Weaver deserves to have a peaceful memorial service at which his family and friends can find solace in his memory: One of a brave patriot who gave his life for the country he loved. Weaver deserves better than to have this hate-preaching church — I find it an insult to religion that this organization calls itself a church — picket his memorial service containing signs containing crude language and horrible images.
One thing came to mind when I found out about this event: Why have I not heard about this until now? I hadn’t received any notifications, e-mails or even Facebook messages about this protest at Weaver’s memorial. And I don’t think anyone else has either. It seems like this protest against a fallen alumnus has gone silent on this campus, and I don’t understand why.
At the College of William and Mary, there is always a sense of activism and advocacy for different groups.
When Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli wrote his now-infamous letter to colleges on changing discrimination policies, the College community came together and protested. This weekend, a group of students are going to Washington, D.C. to protest mountaintop removal mining. Various groups on campus always seem to be ready to take a stand for something they believe in, or to stand against something they believe is wrong. So, I have a problem with this protest not being brought to the campus’s attention.
There is nothing wrong with protesting, but there are some issues where protesting is just not appropriate — like this specific organization protesting at military funerals and preaching hate against the LGBT community, as well as against the Muslim community, and well, anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Christian. And this isn’t about beliefs. Christian, atheist, gay, straight, whatever, someone who was part of our community, the William and Mary community, is being used by an organization to bring publicity to a cause that is just downright evil, a cause that fuels hatred and anger. We should show that the College supports Weaver’s legacy. We pride ourselves in being a community of trust and support, which still applies after our alumni have left. I, frankly, do not feel like this has happened in this situation.
I am proud of Weaver, and I am against this organization from the Midwest masquerading as a church. I truly hope that in the future, the students at the College will once again be able to harness the ability to protest and stand against organizations and politicians who wish to induce fear and hatred in our community.
Weaver’s memorial service shouldn’t be an occasion for this “church” to spread its horrible message. It is my hope that, come this Saturday, the family will be one step closer to peace after this tragic loss. I hope and I pray that the group protesting will be ignored, and that its hatred will be kept from the service. I also hope that next time an organization tries to sabotage the legacy of a member of our community, the students at the College will come together to show that we are one Tribe.