There are two ways to deal with Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the plan to picket the funeral of 9-year-old Arizona shooting victim Christina Taylor Green. You can ignore them entirely, thereby refusing to give them the publicity they so desperately crave -- an honorable course of action to be sure.
Or, you can do everything in your power to show support for all those who will be mourning the deaths that occurred during the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords this weekend.
Even if you aren't in the Tucson area -- and especially if you are -- here's what you can do:
By now we're all well aware of the angels -- volunteers who don fluffy wings to shield mourners from the picketers. In addition, there are several related Facebook pages that have been created with a similar purpose.
As one of the organizers for the Show Support for the Families of the Tucson Shooting Victims explained, the idea behind these pages "isn't a counterprotest"; rather, it's a way to show love and support for the Tucson community members who are grieving loved ones. Like the angels, this group is planning to line the streets on the way to the funeral home standing shoulder to shoulder, silently and respectfully. They are also raising money for a local anti-violence group in Tucson.
Another page, Protect Christina's Funeral from the Westboro Baptist Church, is also trying to organize people to show up early before the funeral, take up space, and keep protesters as far away from the grieving family as possible.
Similarly, We will not let Fred Phelps or WBC protest any funeral in Tucson is calling everyone in Arizona to create "a wall of humanity to allow the families who've lost their love ones on January 8, 2011 to hold their funerals in peace, held with dignity, and surrounded in love" ...
Which brings me to the best thing about these Facebook pages: You can show support and solidarity without even being in the Tucson area. So, breeze by these pages to write some encouraging words and stop the hate from breeding more hate.
Image via Facebook