The Controversial Westboro Baptist Church comes to Asheville

Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kansas based Independent Baptist church known for its extreme ideologies came to Asheville on June 12, 2012 to picket a course taught at The Cove.

First, let me give you some information about the church. The church is headed by Fred Phelps and consists primarily of members of his large family. In 2011, the church stated that it had about 40 members. The WBC is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations.

The church is widely described as a hate group. They are strongly against homosexuality. Some of the church’s protest activities include picketing funerals of American servicemen, desecrating the American flag, picketing funerals of celebrities and public events that are likely to get it media attention. The WBC pickets funerals of American servicemen because their “attitude towards what’s happening with the war is that the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime.”  Phelps and his family picket approximately six locations every day. One of Westboro’s followers estimated that the church spends $250,000 a year on picketing!

Notice how young this kid is!

The church runs numerous web sites such as GodHatesFags.com, GodHatesAmerica.com and others expressing condemnation of homosexuality. The group maintains that God hates gays above all other kinds of “sinners” and that homosexuality should be a capital crime.

WBC came to Asheville to picket a course taught at The Cove. The Cove is Billy Graham’s Christian training center. The course that the WBC is against is the Rapid Response Team Training course in which volunteers are trained to go into disaster-stricken areas to spread the word of God.  The WBC nicknamed the course, “How to effectively lie to people about God for money.” This is what was stated on WBC’s website: “Anyone with any sense would not walk, but run away from anything associated with Billy Graham. The truth of God is not in that place. Graham preaches the doctrine of satan.”

I decided to go to the picket to see what it was all about. There were about a dozen WBC protestors waving signs, playing music, singing and making statements accusing Billy Graham of putting profits before preaching the gospel. The protestors used boomboxes to play popular rock and pop tunes, with the words altered to suit their message. There were about 20 counter-protestors. Among the counter-protestors was Tuesday Feral, a self-described gay Christian, who told reporters that Westboro distorts the Bible. “They’re presenting a very inaccurate picture of what Christianity is,” she said. “Their message is, God hates this, and God hates that. God hates everything.”

My thoughts:

Seeing the WBC protestors made me sick to my stomach. It is sad to see and hear people that are so filled with hate. It seemed as if they had all been brainwashed. It is sad to see parents teach their children hate. I couldn’t imagine being gay and being at the protest right across from the protestors. It would be so hurtful. I am in total support of gay rights. I have friends who are gay. In my opinion, I believe that you are born gay and that you are not able to become straight. Embrace who you are.

I don’t understand protesting. Are you actually making a difference? Do you think this is the best use of your time?

Counter-protestors:

The other side wasn’t all about love…
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