David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Westboro Protesters Met With Loud Opposition in Terre Haute

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Sunday, October 3, 2010

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TERRE HAUTE — Protesters converged on Terre Haute Sunday as members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church picketed two churches in our area.

Members of the Westboro group are known for protesting funerals of homosexuals and fallen soldiers.

Sunday, they protested St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Bible Baptist Church, both in Terre Haute, for an unknown reason.

Bible Baptist’s pastor, Bob Parker, said, “It’s just a fiasco in all honesty. It’s just a disregard to all the Lord Jesus Christ is all about.  They have a right to what they’re doing. I disagree with their platform.”

The group from Westboro admits they hate America.  One of their signs prays for more dead soldiers.

Brian Frye is a veteran of the Armed Forces.  He said, “We went over there, our boys died in those wars so we can be where we are now. It’s just ridiculous.”

Their signs bare their messages; messages that were not well received from the group of counter protesters who gathered to show their disapproval of the Westboro group’s demonstration. 

“They’re all about hate,” said counter protester Jonathan Conrow.  “They claim to be Christians but I’ve been a Christian my whole life

Counter protesters drown out Westboro's hateful message with one of the love of God.

 and I never saw words like these in the Bible.”

The members of Westboro say they hate America because Americans harbor homosexuality.  Sunday, they took that hate out on an American flag.  One of the members of the group put the flag on the ground and crushed it under his feet. 

“The only thing that bothers me, really big, is they need to get the flag out of the gutter. That’s my problem right this instant,” explained neighbor David Kelty, who saw the protests.

The counter protesters came from different backgrounds, different walks of life and different points of view but they united to send the Westboro group their own message.

Counter protester Walter Beck said, “We’re out here showing them that Terre Haute is not a city of hate but we’re a city of love.”

Counter protester Kristian Holmes held a sign that read “Smile if you’re gay.”  He said, “It invokes anger for me. I personally feel that it’s wrong that they’re spreading messages of hate.”

The group may have ruffled some feathers but they packed up and moved on to the next stop on their tour without incident. 

Terre Haute city police were out in full force for Sunday’s protests in an effort to keep the peace.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment