The Westboro Baptist Church planned protest at the funeral of Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale was thwarted by a massive group of protestors who stood together in record-breaking temperatures to form a human wall along the funeral route. Lt. Col. Tisdale was killed last week by a fellow solider at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, The Blaze reports. The solider was a former Texas A&M University student and was being buried at the Aggie Field of Honor inside the College Station Cemetery. Fort Brag shooter Spc. Ricky G. Elder shot Tisdale and a second soldier (who survived) and then shot himself.
Westboro Baptist Church followers believe that military funerals have “become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool. Thank God for IEDs,” according to the church website. The religious group sent notices to followers to assemble at Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale’s funeral and preach their message within “lawful proximity” of the memorial services, according to excerpts from a release republished in The Blaze.
The planned protest did not turn out exactly as the Westboro Baptist Church and leader Fred Phelps had planned. “Aggie” Ryan Slezia devised a plan to build a human wall to block protestors from invading the solemn service and disturbing the mourning family. Similar tactics have been successful at other military funerals the Westboro Baptist Church has chosen to target. More than 650 Texans turned up wearing maroon shirts to form a cohesive human blockade. Just as happened during a military funeral in Logan, Ohio a year ago, the anti-military group failed to appear.
In 2011 the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that protests military funerals are protested under the First Amendment. The Westboro Baptist Church routinely posts a “picket schedule” on their website to alert followers of upcoming event to protests military funerals and gay pride events.