In the news release, Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church announced it planned to picket the funeral of Mark A. Holmes, 18, who was killed in an accident near Bonner Springs on March 28.
The day of the funeral, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed the revised bill that is meant to control picketing at funerals. The bill will not take effect until next week.
Had the new law been in effect this week, it wouldn't have made much difference for Holmes' family and friends. The law keeps the picketers at arm's length, but does not banish them from sight.
What good is this law? Its only real virtue is it does set limits, in case the Westboro people get too enthusiastic in their crusade to torment the grieving.
But you would think Mark Holmes' parents would have had enough torment already. Their son is dead.
But for the Westboro folks, Holmes, like all of the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was not a human being. He was just a convenient object lesson singled out by a vengeful God intent on punishing all people who do not accept Fred Phelps as his prophet.
- The Emporia (Kan.) Gazette