The sign that Josef Miles is holding might not stand out as much the huge placards that the Westboro Baptist Church but his sign is just as powerful. Written on a small notebook next to one of the placards he has written ‘God hates no one’. When he saw the extremist church protesting near Washburn campus he turned to his mother and asked if he could make his own sign and his mother said he could. The above photo has been circulating the Internet and in the photo he stands next to a huge placard that reads ‘God hates fags’. To me Josef’s sign speaks the truth a lot more than the hateful placards of the Westboro Baptist Church. People on the internet are praising young Josef for what he did. One person wrote on Twitter: ‘9 year old Josef Miles wins an awesome kid award’
His mother Patty Akrouche described the incident on Facebook she said that her son ‘is a wonderful young person’ and that ‘I got my Mother’s Day gift a day early’. It just goes to show that one tiny placard can be more effective than the multi-coloured hate-spewing signs that the Westboro Baptist Church produce.
The Westboro Baptist Church is described by as ‘homophobic and anti-Semetic hate group’. The church is mainly made up of Fred Phelps’ very large family. This ‘church’ (I use the word church very loosely, they sound more like a cult to me) claim to be a Christian church but I have never seen a group of people that are so anti-Christian. Some of their signs are emblazoned with such words as ‘God Hates Fags’, ‘God Is Your Enemy’, ‘America Is Doomed’. They often pickets the funerals of American servicemen and children although they are required to be a distance of 300 feet away from where the funeral is being held. In 2011 they picketed the funeral of 9 year old Christine Green who was a victim of the Tucson shooting. They were planning to picket the funeral of Whitney Houston yet bailed on the idea instead producing photoshopped photos of themselves protesting. Shirley Phelps Roeper also contradicted herself when they were going to picket Steve Jobs funeral and she tweeted about it…from an iPhone. The lives of these people have been well documented having appeared on Jeremy Kyle and Tyra Banks. The fim maker Louis Theroux has also produced two documentaries about them entitled ‘Most Hated Family In America‘ and ‘America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis‘. It seems that even though Shirley Phelps knows that she gets a negative reaction from any passer-bys when there is a picket going on she doesn’t stop the protests. The only that is most sickening about their church and their protests is that young children are involved. Young children who aren’t old enough to really understand why they are protesting, that indoctrination which is just plain wrong. Even though they claim to be a Baptist church and follow Primitive Baptist principles, however, the Primitive Baptists reject the Westboro Baptist Church. The reason that they are able to be able to afford the flights across country is that most of the members of the church are lawyers or doctors. Josef is not the only one who has produced an anti-Westboro sign, there have been many others.
I wonder if the tables were turned on Shirley Phelps. How would she feel if she was the mother of someone who had fought in Army and had sadly been killed. Would she want people picketing her son’s funeral. I think not. When her children decide to leave the church as some have they cut them off completely. That’s just cold. Surely as a mother and a human being she has unconditional love for her children.