Although Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to prevent Westboro Baptist Church members from protesting the funerals of the victims of the Lafayette movie theater shooting and community members agreed to also form a human wall, these measures ultimately proved unnecessary.
On July 27, as friends and family slowly processed to a funeral home to remember shooting victim Jillian Johnson, the Kansas-based church group and their infamous and inflammatory picket signs never made an appearance, reports The Times-Picayune.
The funeral services of Mayci Breaux, the other victim of the shooting, also went on without an appearance by the Westboro Baptist Church members, the Louisiana newspaper notes.
The hate-mongering church group had indicated on its social media that it would attend the funerals to protest — as it does for many funerals of shooting victims. The Westboro Baptist Church strongly believes God expresses his anger and dissatisfaction through shootings.
As usual, the Westboro’s plan upset many. To The Times-Picayune, Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel remarked, "They have forgotten what it is to be a human."
Upon hearing the news, the governor immediately issued an executive order to prevent such action.
“Let me be very clear: If they come here to Louisiana and they try to disrupt those funerals, we're going to lock them up,” Jindal stated.
While the American Civil Liberties Union denounced Jindal’s executive order for violating the church’s rights, many others supported it, KSLA12 reports.
“These people are burying their loved ones, and to have these idiots show up and threaten to hijack all of this stuff is just a prelude to violence,” Joel Pearce, a Shreveport attorney, told KSLA12.
Additionally, hundreds of members of the Lafayette community planned to form a wall to keep the church away from the funeral, according to the NY Daily News. Yet the human wall plan was scrapped the night before the funerals as organizers were assured that the church would not protest, reports The Times-Picayune.
Although Westboro Baptist Church members did not appear, if they had, community members of the towns Lafayette and Franklin — where the two funeral services took place — would have been ready to stop any protests of the church group.
“We have to protect ours," Lori Curtis, a resident of Franklin, told The Times-Picayune.