By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
November 20, 2019
Protestors from Westboro Baptist Church — known across the nation for its inflammatory hate speech against Catholics, Jews, LGBT people, U.S. soldiers, politicians and others — showed up on four campuses in central North Carolina this week and found their message less than welcome.
“Westboro Baptist of Topeka, Kansas, does not speak the language of true faith. It’s not that a faithful presentation of the will of God never rebukes or calls people to repentance, but its focus is always on redemption and not condemnation,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Gospel means good news. The bad news is our sin. Pointing this out is going to offend and make some people angry regardless. The good news, however, is that Christ has done away with our sin at the cross, and if we turn away from our rebellion, he will receive us and change us.”
Creech called the Westboro taunting tactics and their protests at military funerals “a gross form of spiritual pride.”
“I can think of fewer worse sins than harassing those in a state of grief,” he said. “They speak of the judgment of God on America with signs that say, ‘thank God for dead soldiers,’ ‘God blew up the troops,’ ‘God hates America,’ and sometimes they’ve been known to desecrate the American flag.”
At Guilford College in Greensboro on Monday, as three Westboro members pulled out their hate-filled signs, roughly 200 counter-protestors lined up on the other side of the street, many holding signs about the love of God and rainbow umbrellas to shield passersby from the scene.
The umbrellas were also a feature at High Point Central High School, where counter-protestors passed out earplugs so as not to hear Westboro’s “preaching.” The Greensboro News and Record reported that Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras could be seen among the crowd, holding a sign with the word “Love” in bright purple.
At UNC-Greensboro, the scene was more lively and lasted about 25 minutes. Westboro’s trio set up their signs on one street corner while a few hundred people gathered on the other three corners, and an ad hoc brass band of about a dozen students cranked up.
Finally, the group’s last target of the day, Duke University had banned Westboro from campus. Still, the cult members showed up on a Durham public street nearby. By then, it was pouring rain and cult members left after only about five minutes, according to a report by Indy Week. Ten members of the Parasol Patrol, a nonprofit out of Colorado that specializes in shielding LGBT people from harassment, gathered nearby. Some 14 Duke student groups had agreed not to stage counter-protests to avoid drawing more attention to the Westboro message.
Westboro’s disdain for Duke stemmed in part from a speech made recently at the law school by first amendment expert Floyd Abrams. He characterized WBCs preaching as “offensive” and “outrageous, mean-spirited, harmful speech.”
In its press release about the planned protest, Westboro said, “It seems only fair to truly let students hear different views, as Abram emphasizes, by bringing these Bible words in person to Duke’s soon-to-be lawyers who will influence our justice system and may one day sit as judges.”
In an announcement about High Point High, Westboro accused the school of “bellying up to some false religious systems,” and cited organizations such as the Ethics Club, Gay-Straight Alliance Club, and Fellowship Of Christian Students.
As for Guilford College and UNC-Greensboro, Westboro’s press release said the group makes “a public protest against school districts, colleges, governments and all of their devilish policies that outlaw the truth of God, while sin and perversion is normalized through an onslaught of propaganda that is crammed down children’s throats.”
The Rev. Creech urged everyone “not to judge the religion of Christ by the error of those who break the Third Commandment and take God’s name in vain by attributing something to Him that he never signed off on.”
“They need to learn something of the grace of God,” he said. “On the other hand, those protesting on the opposite side aren’t much better,” added Rev. Creech. “With their rainbow colors, along with their gay-affirming clergy, they too are using the Lord’s name in vain, attributing to God something that he summarily rejects. LGBTQ is sinful behavior, not something to be defended or endorsed. Both sides are wrong!” “Would it surprise folks to know that God calls on both to repent? Creech asked. “God indeed loves everyone. Still, God’s love doesn’t include acceptance of what the Lord has clearly in his Word condemned. The Bible says that God is ‘longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).”