Hate groups feed off your energy

Rumors have been swirling that a certain ubiquitous Kansan church has announced its intention to spread its message of hate at the memorial service for fallen American hero Marine Corporal Brandon Garabrant. The church — which has been in the news since 1994 for picketing soldiers’ funerals and gained an even higher level of exposure in the 2000s during legal battles over what one can and cannot do when “protesting” at a memorial service — issued a press release saying it plans to attend the Saturday service. In turn, angered citizens took to the coffee shops and to social media, sharing the news and working out their plans for a counterprotest.

Let’s build a human wall and link arms to keep them out, some suggested. We could hold up sheets in front of them so that no one can see they’re even there, another said. A N.H. Senate candidate even promised to show up and drown out the protesters with her “God-given talent of voice.”

However, there is a much easier solution for those who seek to thwart this so-called church: Stop feeding the monster.

The evil genius of this organization is that if one tries to stop them, they win; to take away their First Amendment rights, even as maliciously used as they are, is to prove their point that America is a nation of hypocrites.

This group and its agenda is both figuratively and literally fueled by the amount of energy and attention the public — and the press – gives it. If all they have to do to get the attention they crave is plug another soldier’s name into their boilerplate press release, they’re going to keep doing it. If all they have to do to fund their plane trips from picket line to picket line is incite some physical altercations and then sue the people who attack them, they’re going to keep doing it. If the media continues to put their name in headlines as if what they are doing is relevant or newsworthy, or anything but the deranged ramblings of an extremely small faction, they’re going to keep doing it. And if citizens keep reacting without thinking, sharing the press release and website — even the URL is not fit for print in our paper! — their message of hate is going to keep being spread by the very people who are the most outraged by it.

Every ounce of energy one expends on this group, every time its name or its now-infamous, three-word message issues from someone’s lips or keyboard, the church gains another small victory for its cause. The only way to truly stop an organization like this is to ignore it. If one or two crazy people show up with a message of hate — and there’s no guarantee they will — the only way their message gets credence is if we care. Stop giving them what they want and before long, they’ll fade away. It’s up to you to focus your energy on the real issue at hand — honoring the life and service of Brandon Garabrant. Isn’t that what this is really about?

Legacy Comments1

It is true that giving energy to a hate group is not a good strategy, but let's not forget that people who ignore evil or pretend that it doesn't exist aren't really dealing with the problem either. I think some kind of blocking or fighting back is appropriate. If it were my loved one whose funeral they were using for their ends, I would be taking action.

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