Westboro Protest of Joe Paterno’s Funeral Taints His Legacy Even More

Memorial Vigil at Penn State
Memorial Vigil at Penn State
Whatever your opinion is of Joe Paterno, this week marks the end of his polarizing legacy. The public viewing ceremony, which was the first of three memorials planned, had over 10,000 people lining up to get a glimpse of the casket of JoPa on Tuesday. Today's events include a private funeral service and the burial. Then everything will culminate with a public memorial, which should take place Thursday at Penn State's basketball arena.

The 85-year-old Penn State head football coach died Sunday of lung cancer, and the ending of his career was extremely tumultuous and tainted his reputation. As everyone knows, he was ousted from his job after sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky came to light.

So what could be the one thing that would make this tragic ending of Paterno's life even worse? A protest during the funeral by the hate-spewing Westboro Baptist Church.


I can't think of a worse way for Joe Paterno's legacy to end, amidst his firing due to a sex abuse scandal, than with a protest by the folks at Westboro.

"Joe Paterno is dead. WBC will picket his funeral," tweeted Margie Phelps, the daughter of Westboro's crazy leader, Fred Phelps. "He's in hell. Don't partake of your neighbor's sin!" She also tweeted: "'Penn State Penn Rape' rings in Joe Paterno's ears in hell. He partook of sin for fame & fortune. Worth NOTHING to him now" and "Thousands at PennRape today anticipating 'Joe Pa in Hell,' while charlatans hawked tickets."

Jeez, no one would want anyone that full of hate near anyone's funeral? Even if you find it abhorrent what Paterno did during his tenure as Penn State's football coach, I can't imagine you'd ever want to fall in line with these hateful folks. Whether the protesters actually showed up to the services is still to be determined.

I hate even writing about the Westboro folks and putting their names in the news, and I wish they could simply go away. There is absolutely no need for them to make this sad week any more sad or tragic, but they will try to do so anyway. That's what they do. They take hate to new heights while boasting God's name.

Even though Joe Paterno was an extremely polarizing figure, he was still a wonderful coach who gave his heart and soul to the institution he loved. Let's let his fans, family, and friends mourn in peace.

What do you think about Westboro protesting at Joe Paterno's funeral?


Image via Stevie Rocco/Wikimedia

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