Elmbrook Church Asking Parishioners to Ignore Anti-Gay Picketers
Westboro Baptist Church, the controversial group that pickets military funerals with anti-gay messages, plans to picket several area churches.
With members Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay group, planning to picket Elmbrook Church Sunday, leaders at Elmbrook are asking the congregation “to avoid any engagement with the protesters as it is just the response they want in order to draw attention to their message.”
Pastors and church staff are declining to comment about the planned demonstration by the group, which is known for carrying signs such as “Thank God for dead soldiers” at military funerals across the country.
“We do not expect this to disrupt our worship experience, and anticipate an impactful weekend of God's grace and peace alive and visible at Elmbrook Church,” states the church’s Facebook page.
Comments on the page from the congregation members showed support for Elmbrook’s response.
“Not giving any attention to their cause or their actions will hopefully diffuse their intent,” wrote one woman.
However, counter-protests are being planned at the area Milwaukee churches where the group plans to picket. A Facebook group has more than 100 people who said they plan to challenge Westboro on Sunday.
“Wouldn't it be lovely if they were entirely outnumbered by peaceable ...locals carrying all manner of signs? Come to one location, come to several, but please do come with your message for the hate-mongers of the WBC,” the group states.
Westboro Baptist Church in 2011 pledged to increase its protests after it was determined they could picket military funerals under the First Amendment. The group pickets military funerals with anti-gay messages as it believes that military deaths are God's punishment for homosexuality in the United States.
"WBC will picket the dog-kennel masquerading as a church known as Elmbrook Church in religious protest and warning," the group said. "These phony preachers lie about God's word in order to fill the pews and collect more money."