Westboro Baptist Church members will visit Madison on Friday July 6. They have been spreading their messages of hate since July 1 in Wisconsin.
When they visit their Madison sites (Dane Co. Courthouse from 12-12:30 PM and the State Capitol from 12:30 -1 PM) they will be greeted by counter-protesters.
Jonathan Dedering, a candidate for the 78th Assembly seat, has organized the facebook event “Food Drive & Picket to Oppose Westboro Baptist Church Hate …” where Wisconsinites are asked to “Please bring canned goods, toys, and school supplies. We will be turning hate into love.”
Why Dane County Courthouse?
To justify their protest of our courthouse, WBC proclaims on its web site “you have a corrupt judicial system that loves to turn over children to fag & dyke couples, while putting preachers in jail when they say you should spank a child!”
The preacher in question is Philip Caminiti, former leader of Black Earth’s Wisconsin Aleithiea Baptist Church. Those “spankings” the WBC refers to were delivered through wooden rods the thickness of a quarter to children as young as 2 months old.
From the No Longer Quivering blog: “Church members say children and infants were punished for things such as being emotional, grumpy or crying, not sitting quietly through church, crying when being handed from a mother to another person or for potty training mistakes.”
WBC explains that it will protest Wisconsin’s “Statehouse” because Wisconsin’s “oath-breaking legislature” passed a law making it a crime for WBC to “preach at your funerals”. They also will stand there to “tell your Governor that he has the power and the duty to immediately pardon Pastor Caminiti.”
Today the WBC visited Miller Park (Brewers v. Marlins game) in Milwaukee, WI 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
According to WBC’s web site protesters have also stopped in at Hales Corner, Brookfield, and a roster of churches in Milwaukee. TMJ4‘s report lists the churches and you can check out the facebook event Counter Protest the Westboro Baptist Church Protests! to see Milwaukee counter-protest photos and articles.
The WBC are best known for their anti-gay protests at military funerals. Church members say that military deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of gays. The church had only 40 members in 2011, but their name is known far and wide because, according to wikipedia, they protest 6 locations per day and frankly they’re like a grisly accident: some people tell us to look away and not give them attention but most of us find ourselves drawn in, staring at their awful display.
The church has a right to protest military funerals using offensive language and signs [according to a case which went all the way to the Supreme Court], but they are universally reviled. I feel pity for their children, whom they bring everywhere to protest.
Finally, along the way I learned that The Patriot Guard are bikers that shield grieving families from WBC protesters at funerals.
They go everywhere. I’m really glad they do this. Here’s their collection of Wisconsin photos.
Footnote: There is a real problem with corporal punishment in the Christian community. One thing led to another and I found myself reading about that too. I don’t have the heart to write about that right now but here are some of the good resources I found on that.
Thou Shalt Not Abuse: Reconsidering Spanking –
A Christianity Today editorial – January 2012