Click images to enlarge.
Members of the congregation from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka KS, stopped in Wheeling, WV and made the rounds to many of the city's Catholic churches. Setting up outside of St. Michaels first, the group then moved to St. Alphonsus and Cathedral of St. Joseph, before winding up with a scheduled appearance outside of Wheeling Jesuit University.
The six Westboro-ians--three adults and three children--displayed their special brand of Christianity by signs, singing and shouting. American soliders, Jews, Catholics, the Pope, fags, Barack Obama, coal miners, even West Virginia itself: all were subjects of colorful signs waved by the protesters.
Escorted by a strong police presence--at least seven officers and one rumored FBI agent--the church members alighted from a couple of dark Chevy Tahoes. At least one of the vehicles had Ohio license plates.
Westboro Baptist's website [GodHatesFags.com] states that the group has participated in 43,085 peaceful demonstrations to date.
Just who were the out-of-towners? From Westboro Baptist Church:
The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an Independent Baptist church and hate group known for its hatred of homosexuals. It is headed by Fred Phelps and located in Topeka, Kansas, United States. Its first public service was held on the afternoon of Sunday, November 27, 1955.
The WBC is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles, though mainstream Primitive Baptists reject the WBC and Phelps.
The group is best known for its protest activities, which include picketing funerals and desecration of the American flag.
About 300 counter-protesters showed up at the Cathedral of St. Joseph appearance. According to onlookers and police, a crowd of approximately 1000 showed up at St. Michael's earlier in the day, with about half that many following the Westboro bunch to St. Alphonsus.
The crowd got into the spirit of things by alternately chanting "USA! USA! USA!" and "Go Home!" The counter-protesters also came equipped with signs, most which were much less dramatic than the ones from Kansas.
The crowd was composed primarily of people from Wheeling, a group of Young Life members, and folks from the surrounding communities. Moundsville, New Martinsville and Benwood were all represented. Several people were from neighboring towns from across the river in Ohio.
Continue reading at DBKP: Westboro Baptist: Coal Miners in Hell, God Hates WV
Wesboro Baptist Church Protests at Wheeling Catholic Churches
MORE PIX at DBKP FLASH Headline News.
More on the protests from the Wheeling News Register & Intelligencer: Anger Erupts: Westboro Not Welcomed
NOTE: The NR-Intelligencer reporter estimated the crowd size at St. Michaels as much smaller than we were told.
by Mondo Frazier
All photographs Copyright 2010 © DBKP
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