Hate-Filled Westboro Baptist Church Gets Out-Protested in West Virginia Coal Mine Stunt (Video)

God Hates SignsTimothy B. Hurst writes on ecopolitology:

Never missing a chance to hide behind their children and trot them around carrying signs with hate-filled messages to display for the cameras, members of the radical Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas showed up in Charleston, West Virginia on Thursday to tell the world that the reason the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine accident happened is because God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality.

A message on the Westboro Baptist Church website on Thursday reportedly read: “So God reached down and smacked one of those mines, killing 25.” According to the Charleston Gazette, ”Only six Westboro pickets showed up in front of the Capitol, including two men, one woman and three young children. They held up signs proclaiming: “America Is Doomed,” “Thank God for Dead Miners,” “God Hates Your Tears,” “God Hates West Virginia” and “God Hates You.”

Not to be outdone by the hate-filled Westboro parishioners, a large group of no-hate counter protesters held a rally of their own on the steps of the Statehouse in Charleston.

Image: Counter-protesters like this from this photo in 2008 awaited Westboro Baptist Church members in West Virginia. (Credit: Burstein!/flickr)

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  • scottyj001

    Long live the good people of West Virginia! Scott J. (Omaha, NE)

    • chonus

      …from the O-town also.

  • Rich

    The Westboro Church should be disbanded and barred from protesting. This is disgusting.

  • Benjamin J. "Joe" Browning

    Hello Everyone,

    If you truly desire to bring to a end the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church. Then please read the following:

    I have been following the WBC going on twelve plus years. I have read about, seen, and heard Pickets, Protesters, Police, Papers, Preachers, Fire Departments, Rabbis, Relatives, Reporters, School Administrators, Motorcycle Clubs, Television Talk Show Host, Talk Radio Hosts, Television News Commentators, Book Authors, Video Producers, Various Independent Countries and their Governments passing laws and closing their Borders, Attorneys Filing Lawsuits, Legislatures Writing and Passing New Laws, Branches of Our Military giving new orders and making new rules, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. All of them attempting to stop the Westboro Baptist Church from continuing with their vile and cruel conduct and action.

    HOWEVER, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, ALL HAVE FAILED AND WILL CONTINUE TO FAIL!! NO ACTION YOU UNDERTAKE WILL STOP THEM, EXCEPT FOR ONE!!

    I am also convinced any favorable ruling by the Supreme Court limiting the First Amendment rights of Westboro Baptist Church or other similar groups will be very narrow in it's scope. The members of Westboro Baptist Church will adjust their conduct just enough to obey the rulings of the Supreme Court. I also believe the Westboro Baptist Church will survive any Financial Loss, if the ruling is unfavorable to them. They will continue as always, offending, causing distress and heartaches to all. THEY WILL NOT STOP, UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO DO ONE THING!!!

    THE ONE THING THAT WILL STOP THEM IS QUITE SIMPLE AND REQUIRES ONLY ONE THING “DISCIPLINE TO IGNORE THEM”!! Again “IGNORE THEM”!! Again “IGNORE THEM”!! I REPEAT IGNORE THEM TOTALLY!!

    Expounding on this. #1 DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THEM IN ANY WAY! #2 Do not Protest or Counter Protest! #3 Do not have the Fire Department around their protests. #4 Do not write letters or emails to them! #5 Do not have your newspapers write articles about them or Editorials. #6 Do not attempt to engage them in a discussion of Theology or the Bible. #7 Do not invite any organized group whose purpose is to block the view of Westboro Baptist Church's signs or disrupt their vocal comments #8 Do not attempt in any way to stop them! #9 DO NOT GIVE THEM ONE IOTA OF PUBLICITY, BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER THEIR PROTEST! #10 Do not attempt to interview any Westboro Baptist Church's active members!#11 Do not drive by their Pickets or Protest! #12 Do not yell, shout, or curse them. #13 If possible, even if it is requested by them, try to avoid have any type of special police protection units on duty at their demonstration. #14 DO NOT UNDER ANY CONDITIONS ACKNOWLEDGE OR HAVE CONTACT WITH ANY MEMBERS OR FOLLOWERS OF THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH!!#15 Try to avoid even talking about them.

    IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT YOU TREAT THEM AS IF THEY DO NOT EXIST! IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOTHING TO THEM!! YOU MUST THINK OF THEM AS INVISIBLE! YOU MUST ACCEPT THAT THEIR ACTIONS DID NOT HAPPEN!

    The one thing Westboro Baptist Church Members need and must have is to be acknowledged. One only needs to look at the way they have changed their message in order to get more publicity! The old message of God Hates people, areas, or states, or countries was getting boring. They were not reaching their targeted population. The ability to get a adversarial reaction was waining. In order to keep at the center of attention! They changed their message by adding the theme of Natural Disaster, Major Criminal Loss of Life Events, Industrial Accidents, and so on, bringing the wrath of God on us. Now beside the old standard signs of “God Hates Fags and God Hates You, etc! They added “God Hates _______”(Fill in the blank with the latest event that loss of life occurred! Thus getting more comments and more acknowledgement and more publicity.

    IN CLOSING AND IN MY OPINION, IF EVERYONE FOLLOWS THE ABOVE BY IGNORING THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH AND THEIR MESSAGE, THEY WILL LEAVE QUICKLY AND WILL NEVER RETURN!! IF YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THEM, THEY WILL STAY FOR LONGER PERIODS AND THEY WILL ALWAYS COME BACK!!IN MY OPINION, “IGNORING THEM” IS THE ONLY WAY TO PERMANENTLY STOP THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH MEMBERS FROM CONTINUING WITH THEIR VILE AND CRUEL CONDUCT!

    Respectfully,
    Benjamin J. “Joe” Browning

    • justaguy

      Say, Mr. Browning. Seems like you post about this tactic of silence alot. Pretty much whenever WBC gets press. Call me paranoid, but–
      What exactly is the logic behind proposing the silent treatment, aside from just you saying that protests and bad press don't work, based on your twelve years experience? I'd like to see both your opinion and your history somehow qualified, before I follow your advice.
      I say that with all due respect, acknowledging that lack of a detailed web presence doesn't mean anything as far as your possible level of knowledge and commitment to social justice.
      My counter argument…
      By protesting or otherwise making life hard for organizations sheltering hateful pricks, you create a negative incentive for people to join such groups. If joining or marching with WBC means you get shouted down everywhere you go, it more hassle than it's worth. Whereas, if you do nothing when they come to your town, then the one or two or more prejudiced/ignorant people who are currently isolated by their opinions will have their views validated by a group who is preaching to them unopposed. While anyone who thinks homophobia(or other prejudice) is all kind of fucked up will feel threatened to express this, because the only people they've seen being vocal about the issue are homophobes.
      So show some opposition, A. to give the naive people outside of the group good information about the way the world really is and B. to show people whose hateful minds can't be changed that they are in the minority and that they are powerless against the progression of society to a more reasonable/just state.
      If highly respectable and highly visible people, such as members of business councils, church leaders or firefighters want to express their outrage at the claims these hate groups make, by all means give them a public forum from which to do so. In my opinion, if you fail to act in circumstances such as these, you are offering tacit consent, and the next unjust employee termination, the next gay-bashing, the next murder is partially your fault for saying and doing nothing to stop it when you had the chance.

      • Handymansvs

        Hello justaguy,

        Thank you for your comments. All of the suggestion, you have made are good and most likely would be successful in bringing about positive change, if the members of the Westboro Baptist Church were rational and sane. However, in my opinion, they are about as far from that standard as one could be. In my opinion, I believe in order to understand how I arrived at my opinions and conclusion. It is necessary for you to educate yourself on the long term conduct and history of members of the Westboro Baptist Church including the numerous counter protests.

        There are thousands of articles and videos on the Web describing their conduct and their reaction to criticism and suggestion to change their conduct. For those reasons and others, without exception Westboro Baptist Church has rejected all of them!! Additionally, in your reading and review, you need to educate yourself on their lack of recruitment of new members, their refusal to accept outside monetary donations and other conduct which, in my opinion, shows the Westboro Baptist Church operates way outside of “normal acceptable” methods.

        Once you read and review their total history, you will realize that your suggestions,”If highly respectable and highly visible people, such as members of business councils, church leaders or firefighters want to express their outrage at the claims these hate groups make.” has been done literally thousands of time by thousands of the type of respected individuals you described at thousands of events the Westboro Baptist Church has demonstrated. In my opinion, none of these individuals have changed or effected the conduct of the members of the WBC, nor will they ever be successful. Bottom Line: NONE of the action you suggest have worked!

        I also must disagree with you on your conclusion that ignoring them is giving “Tacit Approval” to their conduct. I believe it will show the exact opposite. In my opinion, ignoring them will show that a vast majority of individuals believe the conduct and messages put forth by the members of Westboro Baptist Church are obscene! Bottom line: if no one is present at their demonstrations they have been made totally ineffective!

        Respectfully,
        handymansvs

    • et

      disagreee….if the family of the dead soldier's who'se funerals they protest continue to take the protesters to court they will be in court all day every day. How will they work? You cannot sue for lost wages, all that will be recovered is the congregations's church costs. Big businesses do this everyday to keep the “little guy” down. They will have to quit their jobs or risk losing them. Who will continue to hire somebody who cannot be at work because they are due in court everyday. continue to take legal action on them, even if it does not result favorably, and they will crumble

      • Handymansvs

        Hello et,

        Thank you for your Comments. With all due respect, I believe you need to educate yourself on both the actions and conduct of Westboro Baptist Church and the same for Mr Snyder. Your comments about not being able to work because they would be tied up in court every day simply does not represent nor coalesce with the events and facts of this case.

        In my opinion, supported by the facts, the entire case including the original trial and the various appeals have not taken more then a total of Twenty(20) Court days. The lawsuit was filed on June 5, 2006. This works out to five days per year for the last four years. The length of these absences certainly would not prohibit a individual from working full time. Thus your concerns are not valid!

        Respectfully,
        Benjamin J. “Joe” Browning
        Handymansvs

  • outragedwvgirl

    I think that this whole thing is an outrage! Just because people are dying, does not mean they are gay. Yes, I believe that some things that happen to everyone is GOD showing us that we as a WORLD not a country are all doing wrong. But tragedys are not GOD's revenge on us. We are all held accountable for what we do as a person. God is not going to punish someone else for what I do wrong. What I do is on me not on someone else. He is a just and fair GOD. How dare this church call coal miners fags, or anything else for that metter. If it wasn't for these coal miners, they would not have power. if they don't want to take part in this “act of GOD” then cut their power off for a while and then see if they see what these miners they call fags are good for. Will they be able to run their Ipods or their computers or their tv's?

  • Andy

    I hate to say this …. BUT …

    … by getting outraged, you fall into Westboro’s plans. They WANT you to get mad. They’re a fake church that makes its money off of setting out of court with cities who block their free speech rights. (Oh, and they want to make us so mad that we’ll restrict free speech rights.)

  • Andy

    I hate to say this …. BUT …

    … by getting outraged, you fall into Westboro's plans. They WANT you to get mad. They're a fake church that makes its money off of setting out of court with cities who block their free speech rights. (Oh, and they want to make us so mad that we'll restrict free speech rights.)