Westboro Baptist Church: Hundreds Form Human Chain To Block Protesters
Westboro Baptist Church, known for being a vicious hate group, has been in the news frequently since the massacre at the gay night club called Pulse in Orlando took place. While the rest of the world mourned the lives of those lost at the nightclub, Westboro Baptist Church celebrated. According to USA Today, the Westboro Baptist Church had made plans to picket and protest outside of the funerals of several of the victims of the Orlando massacre.
The Kansas-based church sent a letter to the Orlando Police Department spelling out the plan to protect outside of the funerals. Westboro Baptist Church revealed that they had plans to protest outside of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke on Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are known well for protesting outside at funerals of both gays and lesbians. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church declare that the Bible stipulates that being homosexual and/or living the homosexual lifestyle is a sin and they have a right to hold these protests at these funerals to inform those living the lifestyle of what they are doing wrong.
— Manda Scott (@MandaScott) June 19, 2016
“It’s not about that person, it’s about that whole societal phenomenon,” Westboro spokesman Steve Drain said Thursday night in a telephone interview.
“It’s never been OK to be gay and it’s never going to be OK to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin.”
In the letter to the police department that was dated June 16, lawyer Rebekah Phelps-Davis wrote that Westboro members are “law-abiding and nonviolent.” With this letter, the Westboro Baptist Church members were requesting that the police, “fulfill their duty to take responsible steps to keep the peace.” The members of the church even requested the necessary permits to protest legally.
According to the Washington Post, roughly 200 people gathered to block the main street in downtown Orlando and formed a human chain in order to counteract the members of Westboro Baptist Church who were there to protest the funerals of those killed during the Pulse shooting.
Just a handful of members from the Westboro Baptist Church raised their anti-gay picket signs in protest across the street from the James Catholic Cathedral. There were more than two dozen police officers standing in between the members of the church, and a rainbow-adorned chain of people preventing those protesting from getting any closer.
The plans for the human chain group formed through Facebook, after rumors started to surface that the church members planned to protest at several of the victims’ funerals. While the funerals started on Thursday. The Westboro Baptist Church did not apply for the necessary permits needed to protest until Friday with the intention of protesting the funerals scheduled to take place on Saturday.
The cluster of people who came out to stand against Westboro included bikers, young people, members of the LGBT community, priests, and locals. The human chain consisted of people holding signs which read “God is love” and “Orlando strong.”
— UPROXX (@UPROXX) June 19, 2016
In time, even a line of angels with wings constructed from PVC pipes and white sheets formed in order to further block the members of the church from disturbing the funerals. It was the Orlando Shakespeare theater who had the idea to create wings by outfitting their volunteers with sheets long enough to block the view of the members of Westboro Baptist Church.
— Mashable (@mashable) June 19, 2016
It was just past 11 a.m. when the members of Westboro Baptist Church retreated and headed towards their vehicles to go home. It was at that moment that the crowd started to roar with excitement. People could be heard shouting, “Orlando strong! Orlando strong!”
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 18, 2016
[Photo by Julie Denesha/Getty Images]