Feb 07, 2015 3:17 AM GMT
WWJD | James Stone wanted to be burried next to his father in a Mountain Home, Ark. cemetery. But, pastors in Clarkridge, where his family is from, refused to perform his funeral. (Courtesy Jay Hoskins)
DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
When Vicki and Jerry Oels and other members of Clarkridge Church of Christ attended the funeral of a gay man in Mountain Home, Ark., they may have gone a step beyond even Westboro Baptist Church.
The members of Westboro stand across the street with their silly signs, but never really approach any of the mourners. The Oels — and others from Clarkridge Church of Christ — actually attended the funeral and stood graveside within feet of the mourners. The couple then handed an envelope to the chaplain who performed the service, to the dead man’s mother and to the dead man’s husband. In each envelope was a “sympathy” card, along with 18 pages of hate-filled rhetoric telling the dead man’s friends and loved ones they’re going to hell.
Jeremy Liebbe, the chaplain who performed the funeral service for 32-year-old James Stone, said he knew something was up when he saw the smirk on Jerry Oels’ face throughout the service. Liebbe said he opened the envelope they gave him already expecting the hateful literature that was inside.
Liebbe said his response to the Oels was, “If you think I’m going to hell for this I’ll see you there, because you’ll be there before me.”
Liebbe, who originally reported the story to Dallas Voice, said initially that the churches contacted were in Mountain Home. The churches were actually in Clarkridge, an unincorporated area about 10 miles away.
Jay Hoskins, Stones’ widow, said most of the people who attended the funeral refused to step into the tent and take a seat. Only seven of the dozen chairs were occupied, even though about 30 people attended.
“To have these idiots show up and do this was the most awful and cruel thing that they could have been done,” Hoskins said.
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