Counter-protests baffle, show sympathy for Westboro Baptist members

Mar 22, 2014, 11:23 PM | Updated: 11:23 pm

Members of a small, yet infamous Kansas church continued picketing Saturday outside the Midland Theatre in Kansas City despite the loss of their patriarch earlier in the week.

Fred Phelps Sr. was the head of a large family that was known for protesting funerals of soldiers all over the country and opposing gay rights. He died Wednesday of natural causes at the age of 84. He had been the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., for more than two decades.

Television station KSHB reports more than 20 people from the church picketed outside of pop star Lorde’s concert Friday in downtown Kansas City.

There was, however, a counter-protest, as others held signs like “Sorry for your loss.”

Megan Coleman helped make the sign.

“We realized that it wasn’t so much about antagonizing them,” she said, “but sending out the countered safe that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity.”

Yet, the message meant nothing to Steve Drain a longtime Westboro member.

“I don’t even know what they’re saying,” he said.

KSHB says the Westboro group has protested other concerts in Kansas City, targeting artists such as Vince Gill and the Foo Fighters.

According to the church’s website, members have protested nearly 53,000 events including concerts and military soldier funerals.

United States News

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Counter-protests baffle, show sympathy for Westboro Baptist members