I am reposting this message, something Michael posted on his blog, so that some of my other friends might read it. Fred Phelps and the WBC are planning a protest at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, so I just wanted to show them how some others had protested the WBC in the past!
Please take a moment before reading this to visualize hate.
The Virginia Tech massacre.
I would imagine that none of you defined hate in a very positive way. Merriam-Webster defines hate as a feeling of extreme enmity or hostility towards someone, or something. Hatred is also used to describe feelings of prejudice, bigotry or condemnation against a person or group of people, such as racism, and intense religious or political prejudice. The term "hate crime" is used to designate crimes committed out of hatred in this sense.
Did anyone picture Fred Phelps when I asked you to visualize hate? Who is Fred Phelps? He is a man that does not use the word 'hate' casually. He intentionally spreads a message of hatred wherever he goes. You may have seen one of the many stories in the national news or magazines about the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Fred Phelps is the pastor at this church. Phelps and the 71 confirmed members of his church (63 of whom are family members) travel the country to "warn" the rest of us. According to Phelps, homosexuality and its acceptance have doomed most of the world to eternal damnation.
The members of the WBC, an independent Baptist church, are known for preaching with slogans and banners denoting phrases such as "God hates fags", "AIDS cures fags", and "Fags Die, God Laughs", and they claim that God will punish homosexuals as well as people such as Bill O'Reilly, Coretta Scott King and Howard Dean, whom their church considers "fag-enablers." Phelps has also held up signs thanking God for the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Phelps subscribes to John Calvin's doctrine of Unconditional Election, the belief that God elected certain people for salvation before birth. Phelps says that almost nobody is a member of the elect, and furthermore that he and the members of his congregation (mostly his family) are the only members of the elect, because they are the only ones unafraid to publish the current relevant application of the Word of God – in particular, that "God hates fags."
Phelps and his followers frequently picket various events, especially military funerals, gay pride gatherings, and high-profile political gatherings. Phelps stated political views and activities are primarily driven by his view that the United States of America is "a sodomite nation of flag-worshipping idolaters."
Gay rights activists, as well as Christians of virtually every denomination, have denounced him as a producer of anti-gay propaganda and violence-inspiring hate speech. The Westboro Baptist Church is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an American, non-profit, legal organization whose stated purpose is to combat racism and promote civil rights through research, education and litigation.
Fred Phelps and the WBC will be right here in Lexington, Kentucky this weekend, protesting the University of Kentucky. Just seven days ago, the UK board of trustees overwhelmingly approved a new benefits package that will take effect on July 1, and will extend its employer paid benefits to university employee's domestic partners, including same-gender partners. The WBC will be protesting this recent action at the UK graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 6, at Rupp Arena.
When asked about the upcoming protest, a Westboro Baptist representative, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said that "we are trying to help this nation connect back. These children have been taught defiance against God, and now these children are dying. That's why the shooting at Virginia Tech happened."
The same group was in Kentucky in December, protesting a military funeral in Stanton. Before protesting UK, the group plans to picket the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. "We've had a lot of dealings with Kentucky as of late, and we know they're in some trouble," Phelps-Roper said.
The group will have a designated area outside of Rupp Arena where it can protest out of the way of pedestrian traffic.
We must let this group know that their message is not welcome in our state any day, but especially on a day when the focus should be on the 2007 graduates and their accomplishments. Please join me and others outside of Rupp Arena at 12:30 on Sunday, May 6, to peacefully protest the message of hate brought into the Bluegrass state by this group of extremists. In order to keep the focus away from hate, I ask that you do NOT come to attack Fred Phelps. Instead, we should convey a message of acceptance and equality for the groups that the WBC will be targeting, namely the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. Furthermore, we MUST come with a message of congratulations for the 2007 graduates of the Univ. of Kentucky and their families.
I hope to see some familiar faces outside of Rupp Arena on Sunday.
CALL, EMAIL, OR MESSAGE ME FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON HOW TO JOIN US IN A "NO HATE TAILGATE"!