Activists are swooping into Marion County like vultures. They've been drawn by last week's murder of Arthur "J.R." Warren of Grant Town. Warren was beaten to death, then his body was run over to make it look like a hit-and-run. Two unidentified teen-agers have been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying.
Activists on all sides are interested in Warren's murder. The reason: He was gay and black.
The Triangle Foundation, a gay civil rights group based in Detroit, is interested. The foundation's executive director, Jeff Montgomery, suspects a cover-up because Marion County authorities haven't jumped to the conclusion, as he has, that Warren was killed because he was gay. Montgomery is also suspicious because Marion County Prosecutor Richard Bunner hasn't decided quickly enough to prosecute the 17-year-old murder suspects as adults.
The Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based anti-gay group, is interested in Warren's murder. Its leader, the Rev. Fred Phelps, is worried gay rights groups will use Warren's death to promote the homosexual life-style. Phelps and his group are so worried, they came all the way from Topeka to protest a candlelight vigil for Warren at the Marion County Courthouse Tuesday night.
The Rev. Matthew Watts of Grace Bible Church in Charleston, also planned to bring a group to the vigil. He's worried that justice won't be done because Warren was black. "My concern is the police ... and the Marion County prosecuting attorney are trying to stall until attention wavers from this case," he told the Associated Press.
We have to wonder about the motivation of all these activists, even those who claim the deepest concern for Arthur "J.R." Warren, his family and his community. Do they see his murder as the tragedy it is, or just another opportunity to further their causes? Of the more than 500 people who attended Tuesday night's candlelight vigil, how many actually knew Arthur "J.R." Warren as a person, and how many know him only as a cause?
The activists would have us believe they care more about the tragic death of Arthur "J.R." Warren than the rest of us do. Yet at they same time they treat him as a means to an end, as a way to further their cause.
Some 250 years ago, philosopher Immanuel Kant suggested the world would be a better place if people never treated other people as means to an end, only as ends in themselves. We suggest all the activists flocking to Marion County think about that.