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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Army Sgt. Rickey Edward Jones

On Monday, March 6, 2006, the city of Kokomo, Indiana, and the surrounding area will honor the life of Army Sgt. Rickey Edward Jones. Sgt. Jones was killed Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006, north of Baghdad, Iraq.

Although I did not know Rickey Jones personally, when someone from your hometown is killed in battle, especially when that town is a small town like Kokomo, it really brings the reality of the battle home. No matter what anyone feels about U.S. involvement in Iraq - for it or against it, justified or not - all decent people can come together and show support for a family who has lost a son, a brother, a grandson.

Sadly, the family has had to endure not only the death of this young man, but also the abomination of depraved individuals who have vandalized their home and who have placed anonymous phone calls saying, “We’re glad your son is dead.”

Now, a hate group from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, is planning to protest Monday's funeral. This group, led by Fred Phelps (I refuse to use the title Reverend in front of this man's name), has no resemblance to anything that I recognize as Christianity. Their website is so hateful that it turned my stomach when I examined it. The primary target of their hate is homosexuals, and their protests at soldiers' funerals stem from a belief that the soldiers were fighting for a nation that protects homosexuals. While I, as a Christian, believe that homosexuality is a sin in God's eyes, I fully believe in the old maxim "Hate the sin; love the sinner." Homosexuals, just like all sinners, need prayer, not hate.

This group in no way represents Christian values as I know them, and those who would add more pain to the pain the family of a fallen soldier is already feeling in no way represents the city of Kokomo.

The family and friends of Sgt. Rickey Edward Jones should know that Kokomo, Indiana, as well as a grateful nation, honor them and their son.

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