Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," mixing magick, mayhem, and mirth since 2005! I'm your host, Anne Johnson, author of The Porpoise Driven Life. Everything you would want to know about my attempts to build a theme park for dolphins that would feature humans tap-dancing for cheeseburgers.
It only takes a handful of evildoers to stir up a very caustic black magick spell. That's exactly what Fred Phelps and his band of dirty demons of the Westboro Baptist Church are doing, even though he would argue vigorously to the contrary. It's certainly not novel to suggest that a deity is behind the death of soldiers, but the idea that the deity is letting the soldiers die because certain fellow citizens are homosexual ... Mmmm. Well, let's just say I'm glad it's the busy god who's taking the heat for these haters, and not some poor bored god already down on His or Her luck.
But we all know the Threefold Law, right? Fred Phelps, meet the counter spell of goodness that you have wrought!
It's probably been five or six years now since the Patriot Guard was formed, and a little less since the Warrior Watch started. These two groups are composed primarily of Vietnam vets, along with anyone else who likes to wave the American flag while driving a Harley. The Patriot Guard and the Warrior Watch both attend military funerals to keep a human barrier between grieving families and the Westboro demons. One look at these men and women is enough to know you wouldn't want to get on their bad side for any reason, let alone for disrespecting a fallen soldier.
Monday I saw these groups in action for the first time.
It's hard for me to imagine that Vietnam veterans are starting to die from the illnesses that take us in late middle age. One of my co-workers lost her husband to cancer. He was a Marine during the Vietnam War. The Patriot Guard/Warrior Watch showed up at his viewing, funeral, and burial.
I went to the viewing, but I was doggoned if I was going to sit through a funeral Mass. Thus I found myself outside the church, observing the Patriot Guard as they prepared to escort the deceased to his final resting place. It turned out I knew one of the guys. He's the yearbook photographer at my school. We started up a conversation while the tough-looking PC/WW dudes set up their honor guard.
I said, "What a world, that we've come to this. People can't even grieve their loved ones without protection from lunatics."
This is what the Patriot Guard member said in reply:
"You know what? It's actually a good thing. So many of these guys say it's healing for them to perform this service. They've bonded with each other, and they know they're doing a good thing. And it helps to blunt their own leftover pain."
And thus the vorpal blade goes snicker-snack ... and black magick begets healing! What an amazing counter spell! You don't have to be a Pagan to see the alchemy in this. Especially if you're the same age as me, and you can remember how those Vietnam vets were treated when they came back from that savage war.
Reader, you should have seen that funeral procession. It was headed by four dozen Patriot riders, all of them flying large American flags from their motorcycles. From the distance they looked like a mad dance of red and white ribbons atop a float of shiny chrome.
I'm not one to wave the American flag with mad passion, but for some people the act of doing it restores their souls. Forget the politics of the Vietnam War ... the guys doing the grunt work couldn't change it any more than the poor souls on patrol in Afghanistan. What's happening now is that former soldiers are protecting their own from haters. To me this is a righteous thing, a holy thing, a sowing of goodness to offset evil.
As I left the cemetery, some of the Patriot Guard were leaving as well. I saw one grizzled dude turn to another and say, "Well, see you next time."
So mote it be.