Westboro Baptist Church is an institution known for its extremist activities, such as protesting at soldiers’ funerals. The American Defamation League describes WBC as a “homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group.”
The transcript for this episode can be found below.
News reports of WBC protesting at the funeral of Amarillo native Genaro Bedoy, a soldier killed in action in Afghanistan, prompted the community to gather in support on Sept. 29 at McDonald Lake. Krystina Martinez reports.
More than a hundred people from the Amarillo and Canyon community gathered at McDonald Lake on a wet Saturday morning.
They all came out in support of Private First Class Genaro Bedoy, an Amarillo native who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Westboro Baptist Church announced on its website that it would come to Amarillo to protest at his funeral.
Jordan Smith: I have been personally studying and researching this group of people for the past year in my media ethics and media law classes, so I’ve kind of known the backstory behind [this group].
That’s Jordan Smith, a senior advertising and public relations student at West Texas A&M University.
Smith: When I heard on the radio that they were coming to Amarilo I knew we had to do something about it.
Various Facebook groups cropped up to organize support for the Bedoy family.
People of all ages and affiliations, such as the motorcycle group Patriot Guard Riders heeded the call.
Nikki Ingram, a senior at Tascosa High School, knew Bedoy for about four years.
Ingram: He was just really funny, outgoing person, always wanting to make people laugh. Always joking around. He’s a really good guy
Others who did not know Bedoy came out to protest Westboro’s intentions, such as Amy Gray, a receptionist from Amarillo.
Gray: I think they’re wrong. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion but in this case, they’re wrong. I think it’s sad what they do, disrespect family.
Westboro’s official Twitter account announced that they would be at Bedoy’s funeral. They tweeted an article announcing his funeral with the hashtag #seeyouthere and #weputthefuninfuneral.
However, they did not show up to the funeral, nor did they appear at Bedoy’s burial site.
For The Prairie, I’m Krystina Martinez.