EL Coalition Says: Don't Give Westboro Protestors What They Want

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

The Westboro Baptist Church is no stranger to Michigan. The Topeka-based group, known for protesting at soldier's funerals, did just that more than four years ago in Grand Ledge. It says God is killing U.S. troops because our country tolerates homosexuals.

"They scream obscenities and they have little children hold these signs," said Rev. Kit Carlson of East Lansing's All Saints Episcopal Church. "They are quite disturbing to people who kinda go through their day as nice, normal, regular people who think that god loves everybody."

Carlson is part of a community coalition deciding how to respond to the group's next visit here. The Westboro Church says it's coming to East Lansing High School this Thursday because students e-mailed its members saying they shouldn't protest at funerals.

"I'm proud of those students for making their voices heard," said East Lansing City Council Member Nathan Triplett.

Community leaders don't want people to confront the Westboro Church members directly.

"Don't give these people what they want. Instead do something that's good for the community," Triplett said.

That's why they're planning an alternate, off-site event where people can express their opposition, and even turn it all into something positive.

"East lansing is a wonderful, diverse, tolerant, accepting community, and from time to time, it's important for us to reaffirm those value and for us to say we love everybody, we value our children, we value our gay and lesbian members, and what we stand for is the acceptance of all people, all faiths, all genders and that everyone is welcome here," said Carlson.

"We were one of the first communities to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and you know, it's something we're proud of," said Triplett. "And we're not going to be dissuaded from that position by these outsiders coming into our community."

The community coalition will meet Monday night at 6 p.m. at Unitarian Church and Tuesday at 7 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church.

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  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Nov 17, 2010 at 03:24 AM
    Rick, I understand being frustrated and unemployed as I've been both, but vigilantism is not the answer. Throwing water balloons could be considered assault, and I don't really think these idiots are worth potential jail time for sure. The E.L. students also need to be shown upstanding, mature examples of how to handle ignorant rhetoric from judgmental people who don't even really know them and not juvenile frustration and the throwing of water balloons.
  • by rick Location: jackson on Nov 16, 2010 at 04:31 AM
    I guess Im one of the exceptions, how can you ignore the biggest idiots I have ever seen?, no matter what your view on gays that has nothing to do with disturbing a funeral, lets wait a billion years for the supreme court to act. Meanwhile they do this at a family hardest time. I say if you cant fight for this when do you>? As god is my wittness if I can make it I say however juvenillie it sounds lambaste them morons with water ballons, I guess theyll have a field day with me in the news, screw it Im on unemployment, it should have been stopped before it started!
  • by John Location: Holt on Nov 15, 2010 at 02:36 PM
    It makes no sense to do these "Off Site" gatherings, that doesnt help the issue at all, and the hate-mongers will still be there.... We just need to make sure the kids get out safely and that these people are ignored in doing so. and if they break any laws at all, they need to be arested and held for the full amount of time they can be held, if thats 24 or 48 hours than do so, and let themn sit and think about what they do in a cell and then quietly let them go
  • by Anonymous on Nov 15, 2010 at 10:49 AM
    I hope that people just ignore these jerks. DO NOT PROTEST THEM,you give them what they want. They are not worth the time or effort, anyone going and just standing in front of them will only incite them. Let them rant and rave and crawl back under their rock. They are bigots and haters, and nothing we can do can change what they are. Really rotten nasty people. So Shane and your friends just leave them alone.
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Nov 15, 2010 at 07:18 AM
    Sadly, no matter what anyone does, this group will continue their hateful pilgrimages to promote lies and undeservedly pass judgment against whomever they see isn't as "God-like" as they, misguidedly and sadly, believe that they are. This is another example of what happens when people, even seemingly normal and intelligent people, fall prey to the words of charismatic charlatans who preach their own version of truth as if it's actual truth. This man is no God-fearing man or spiritual leader. He is a hate monger who feels it's his right to elevate himself above pretty much everyone and serve as judge and jury to those who don't fall at his feet in total agreement. Pay attention to the bible you profess to follow, Pastor Wackadoo, like this passage "Judge lest ye be judged". I've yet to meet ANYONE with what could be considered a clean slate, and as I was taught as a girl, "ALL SINS ARE EQUAL IN THE EYES OF GOD". I guess that means enjoy your time in H*ll with all those "f@gs" you hate.
  • by Proud Vet Location: Jackson on Nov 15, 2010 at 06:58 AM
    As soon as anyone finds out exactly what time these people are going to be at the school please post. I don't want to be late.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 14, 2010 at 07:43 PM
    Would a swarm mentality help confront these poeple. If there was 20 people for everyone one of them. It would be hard to get noticed if they had ten signs being displayed for everyone one of theirs.
  • by Shane Location: Lansing on Nov 14, 2010 at 06:40 PM
    I WILL be there to counter protest and I've asked some of my Facebook friends to join me. We will not confront them but simply stand in front of them as they spew their hatred. Anyone that is inclined to join us, please respond to this message.
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