No good deed goes unpunished

Mike Gallagher
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Posted: Oct 06, 2006 12:00 AM
No good deed goes unpunished

I'm starting to think that if Jesus Himself came back to earth, there'd be no shortage of people around who would criticize his every move.

I guess that's just the way we've become.

When I managed to convince the hateful, horrible members of the Westboro Baptist Church to call off their planned "protests" outside the funerals of the little Amish girls in Pennsylvania, I didn't expect to get a ticker tape parade or anything. In fact, I wasn't looking to do anything at all except figure out how to use my radio show to thwart these people from hurting the Amish mourners any further.

But getting slammed by people who are on the same side of the ideological fence as me was pretty surprising.

By now, you might have heard the story: while interviewing Shirley Phelps-Roper of the infamous little "church" from Topeka, Kansas on my radio show earlier this week, I came up with a tactic that I was hoping would keep them from inflicting anguish upon an already-anguished Amish community.

You know these people by now. They're the hateful people who carry picket signs outside the churches of the funerals of American soldiers that say things like, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "Your Sons are Burning in Hell." It's hard to understand their warped, twisted logic for doing this, but why try.

I saw a news report that said that these same people were planning to protest outside the funerals of the slain Amish girls in Pennyslvania, with signs that would say, "Your daughters are burning in Hell" and "They deserved to die."

I just wanted to do anything in my power to stop this from happening.

So while interviewing Shirley Phelps-Roper, I asked her what it would take to stop her from proceeding with their plans. "Money?" I asked. "Could we take up a collection for a new air conditioner for your church or something?" I asked. "You and your money can go to Hell", she snarled. "We just want to get our message out."

Suddenly, a light went on in my brain. What if I gave them an hour of my national radio show to say what they wanted to say (within reason), in exchange for their written guarantee that they would abandon plans to protest in Pennsylvania?

While hammering out the details with her, my mind was racing. And I was praying. If this could work, it would spare these poor people who are burying their children so much more grief.

Somehow, thank God, it worked. They bought it. They came into my studios in the Empire State Building in New York and signed the agreement. They spouted off for an hour. And the debacle in Pennsylvania was averted.

I went to bed Thursday night incredibly proud of what happened here. Instead of just talking about the issues for a change, here was a case of a talk radio show that actually did some good.

It didn't take long for the naysayers to surface.

First, I was told, Glenn Beck of CNN Headline News blasted me. "He's an opportunist who is just doing this for ratings!" he crowed.

Yeah, I'm an opportunist, all right. I took the opportunity to use my radio show to prevent those Amish families from being exposed to these hateful, vile people. From what I know of Glenn Beck, he's not the type of person who would complain that the Westboro Baptist Church would be kept from protesting in Pennsylvania. At least I hope not. He seems like a nice guy who's a talented broadcaster.

And then, there were the blogs. They ranged from claiming that I was actually in cahoots with the Westboro freaks to saying that I flew the Phelps sisters to New York on a private jet.

It was all pretty amazing.

Ultimately, good triumphed over evil. Glenn Beck is right, I'm not much of a big deal. But in my world, stopping the protesters from going to Pennsylvania is something to be proud of.

And I will be, til my dying day.