Yesterday, I wrote an article posted at the Examiner detailing plans by the group “2 Million Bikers to DC” to build a “Wall for Maya Angelou” in order to thwart the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) from disrupting her funeral.
The article attracted quite a bit of attention – and debate – about why the patriot bikers group would rally around Angelou, a known Fidel Castro sympathizer and supporter of cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Many on the right side of the political spectrum were proud of the group for defending an individual with whom they disagree.
Not surprisingly, many on the left were not happy with the bikers’ plans, as evidenced by the comments on the article.
“No we do not agree with her beliefs,” said 2 Million Bikers to DC founder, Belinda Bee. “[B]ut we agree with her freedom to have & voice those beliefs. That is what freedom is about!”
One of the organizers of the event, Brant Caudle, summed up the purpose of this action on a Facebook post, before it became news. He said (typos included, as Caudle was addressing his group in North Carolina),
“ok Folks, westboro has decide to show its ugly face here in NC. They are threatening to protest Maya Angelou’s funeral in Winston Salem Thursday at 7:30 pm. That just doesn’t sit right with me. I have been in contact with 2 million bikers to DC both on the state and national levels and we have decided to plan a ride to help with preventing westboro from harassing the friends and family Mrs. Angelou. we will do this in a peaceful and non aggressive manner by attempting to stand between them and the funeral proceedings. I hope to get a great response for this from our NC 2 million Bikers. I will have info on a meeting place and time in the next couple of days. I understand that Mrs. Angelou was a controversial figure at times but, whether you agree or disagree with her, westboro needs to know that their kind of hate and bigotry is not wanted in our area and will not be tolerated. I look forward to hearing from our fellow NC members and standing up for right. Thanks everyone and always stay safe.”
Caudle’s message perfectly sums up the intent of the action to protect the funeral of Ms. Angelou.
Adding to the controversy a tweet posted by the Westboro Baptist Church:
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSays) May 31, 2014
The WBC distorted a great photo of the Patriot Guard Riders, which was used in the original article.
Personally, it is an honor to be attacked by the Westboro Baptist Church, whose hate-filled messages are despised universally, no matter where one happens to stand in the political spectrum.