Westboro Baptists protest in West Virginia, Iowa

Sun. April 11, 2010 12:00 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

500 protesters at drake counter the hate of 6 from westboro

photo credit // www.drake.edu
The hate group led by Fred Phelps of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has brought their brand of homophobia and destruction to West Virginia.

A half dozen haters, carrying signs that said "Thank God for Dead Miners," "God Hates Your Tears" and "God Hates West Virginia" protested outside the state capitol.

They were apparently trying to make the point that disasters like the deaths of 29 people in that West Virginia mine are God's punishment for America's toleration of gays and lesbians.

Meanwhile on Saturday, a handful of Westboro church members were met by 500 peaceful counter-demonstrators at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday. The school is hosting a symposium on same-sex marriage.

Counter-protesters reportedly were singing "All You Need Is Love" as the Westboro contingent of six lead by Sara Phelps, 28, and two of her cousins, ages 9 and 13, carried signs reading "God Hates Jews" and "Fags are Beasts."

The Westboro Baptist Church is currently fighting a Supreme Court battle. They're locked in counter-lawsuits with the father of a Marine who died in Iraq. Phelps protested outside Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder's funeral. His father sued and eventually lost in appellate court. To add insult to injury, Snyder's dad was ordered to pay Phelps' legal costs.

Normally we'd advocate ignoring the whole Phelps clan because they just feed off the attention. But the Huffington Post recently reported that some estranged Phelps family members fear the whackos could turn violent. Nate Phelps told a Canadian talk show: "I've said for years that all it would really take is if my father made the decision, found the right justification in the Bible, that they would turn towards violence -- either violence towards themselves or someone else."

Westboro Baptist Church is not affiliated with Baptist conventions and is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.