The Westboro Baptist Church. Unless you live under a rock, I know that you have heard of their now famous picketings and protests. This church targets and protests specific memorial services, schools and even some military funerals.
Various local groups counter-protest, and even try to block these demonstrations in each location, but the church continues to press on with their agenda, and has since 1955, but were not as public in the media until 2009, due to their escalating demonstrations.
To better explain their agenda, and to see the church's most recent protests (that were held at local schools), I visited their website. I was welcomed with what I believe is utter filth. I sincerely apologize for the language that I am about to share with you. Their site–GodHatesFags.com—is explained here, but I'll paraphrase. They break down each of those three words, that they deem more important to the world than oxygen, water and bread:
1. The absolute sovereignty of "GOD" in all matters whatsoever.
2. "HATE" involves eternal retribution and the everlasting punishment of MOST of mankind in Hell, forever.
3. "FAGS" are the contraction of faggots, represents the certainty that all sodomites fuel the fires of God's wrath and will inevitably go to Hell.
Their agenda, also paraphrased, is to show America the truth—that being gay has changed God's truth into a lie, that the decadent, depraved, degenerate and debauched Americans shall be cast into Hell, the fire that shall never be quenched, unless all Americans turn to and follow their church and their example.
Westboro Baptist Church engages in what they refer to as "daily, peaceful sidewalk demonstrations" to oppose the homosexual lifestyle. They refer to this lifestyle as soul-damning and nation-destroying filth. "All we do is hold signs that have good bible messages about homosexuality," says Westboro Member and son of the pastor Fred Phelps, Sr.
When, in fact, their signs are large, colorful, and include sentiments such as "God Hates Fags," "Fags Hate God," "Aids Cures Fags," "Thank God for Aids," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," and "God Hates America." Their website recommends that if you care at all about your never-dying soul, you need to read every single word of their web site, followed by reading every word of the Bible. It also states that if your church is preaching the fact that "God loves everyone" or that "Jesus died for everyone," that they are preaching lies; in their eyes, your church doesn't teach anything that the Bible says.
The full list of Westboro Baptist Church demonstrations can be found here, but most recently, the protests were local. On Monday, the plan was to picket St. Peters Fort Zumwalt East High School from 6:55-7:25, and to continue at Clayton High School 7:50 to 8:20 a.m. However, the counter-protest began, in advance, at 6:30 was extremely uplifting and supportive, with reports of students and citizens waving rainbow flags, holding signs with slogans stating "God is Love," "Don't Hate," and "Love Conquers Hate."
The St. Peters police, including Chief Tom Bishop, were on scene to provide security and protection to the crowd, and were relieved to announce, at 7:10 a.m., that WBC had changed their plans and were not going to be protesting in St. Peters.
The students at Clayton High School had a different approach to the WBC protest that did, in fact, happen. In their case, they turned it into a fund-raising opportunity for the very Gay-Straight Alliance that WBC was protesting.
Representatives of Westboro Church announced their plan to picket the high school on their way home from picketing the Super Bowl, held in Indianapolis, and the students worked with their principal to respond with a "positive, peaceful, and appropriate response."
The Gay-Straight Alliance sold t-shirts for $20 that said "Love Conquers Hate" and wristbands with the slogan "Equality: Nothing More Means Nothing Less," and the proceeds of these sales were to go to the Human Rights Campaign and the St. Louis chapters of the Growing American Youth.
They also joined what is called the "Phelps-A-Thon," that's been named after Fred Phelps, the head of the WBC, to collect donations for every minute that the planned picketing lasted. Phelps-A-Thon.com is the pro-LGBT organization leading the fight against the Westboro Baptist Church and their leader, Reverend Fred Phelps. On this website, supporters are able to pledge to donate a certain amount of money for every minute WBC protests. The longer they protest, the more money is raised for the cause they are demonstrating against.
My question now is... why? Why were these particular schools chosen? In the flier that was released, Westboro claims that a student at Fort Zumwalt East requested their presence. No student has stepped forward to claim that they made such a request, but Westboro's announcement was that: "You took those children and you lied to them and broke their moral compasses. Now you have brute, knuckle-dragging animals that you try to palm off as humans."
They wrote they will be helpful in remedying this, "We will give your children an opportunity to see what truth looks like, the face of what they were entitled to have from every adult that ever touched their lives! You stole their future, you send them to hell in batches, and you will spend eternity cursing each other for all of this."
Now, why was Clayton High School chosen? In their words, it is, "to warn the children of Clayton High School to flee the wrath to come! The children of this generation have been taught to believe that God is a liar: God loves everyone, it's okay to be gay, divorce & remarriage is fine, premarital/extramarital sex is acceptable, etc. You've taught your daughters to be whores and your sons to be fags. We will be there to warn them to repent or perish."
The protest is against Clayton High School's Equality Club, formerly known as Gay-Straight Alliance. Nathan Phelps, the estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor, Fred Phelps, speculated in the St. Louis Beacon that the reason the school's equality club was chosen because on Thursday, March 10, at 7 p.m., he will be speaking at the Clayton High School Auditorium. If you're interested in attending that meeting, it is free and open to the public.
Personally, I am appalled at this church. I have a difficulty using the word church so loosely to describe this group of hate-filled people. I believe it must be difficult to carry so much hatred in their hearts each and every day of their lives, and I could write a multiple page article on my very strong feelings against these people's protests military funerals and schools filled with children learning who they are and where they belong in the world.
On a slightly separate note, along the same lines, I'd like to include a link to a video showing how a small Missouri town stopped Westboro's protest of a military funeral and the reaction they received from their intentions to protest San Diego's Comic Con.
Because, however, it is a church, that is showing these demonstrations against God's own children, I'll leave you with this:
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged."