NEW: Westboro Baptist Church Plans Anti-Gay Protests in Portland for Jan.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket a outside the Moda Center Jan. 10 at 6 p.m., during a Portland Trail Blazers game. The following morning, the group has demonstrations scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Calvary Chapel in Gresham and St. Ignatius Catholic in Portland at 10 a.m. A protest is also slated to take place outside of Portland’s Mars Hill Church at 11:15 a.m, according to the organization’s website GodHatesFags.com. Other members of the group will picketing in Salem Jan. 11 - a protest is scheduled at St. Vincent De Paul Parish Community at 9:45 a.m. followed by the People's Church at 10:45 a.m.
For the Jan. 10 protest at the Moda Center, the group stated that people shouldn’t idolize professional athletes, or anyone besides the one true God. In the Moda Center posting, the group quoted Job 36:12 to emphasize its point. “If they obey not, they shall perish by the sword and they shall die without knowledge.”
The church cited the Calvary Chapel's acceptence of gays and lesbian members and willingness to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. St. Ingnatius Catholic, on the other hand, was selected because of the Catholic church's track record of child sex abuse committed by priests - Westboro Baptist Church consideres Catholocism, where ever it's practices, to be synomynous with homosexuality. The reason the group selected Mars Hill Church is for the congregation spreading the message that God and Jesus Christ love everyone.
"God does not love everyone," the Westboro Baptist Church stated on its website. "In fact, (God) hates the majority of mankind, and has purposed to send them to hell when they die."
The group selected the two cites in Salem on the grounds that one of them is a Catholic organization, while the other is too inclusive, according to the picket schedule.
The controversial Kansas-based church gained notoriety when its followers began traveling the country to picket the funerals of dead U.S. soldiers, and AIDS. During their demonstrations, protesters have often displayed obscene signs and chanted hateful rhetoric against essentially all groups of people, including Christians. The group’s focus has been particularly centered around homophobia; the church’s official website is godhatesfags.com a moniker that echoes one of the group’s most well-publicized protest chants of choice.
The church has other websites including: jewskilledjesus.com, godhatesislam.com, godhatesthemedia.com and godhatestheworld.com.
Tim Smith, the pastor at Portland’s Mars Hill Church, said the church has been picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church before, and added that he doesn’t think it’s anything for his congregation to be afraid of, as the protesters will be outside of the church — not part of the sermon.
“It’s certainly annoying,” Smith said of being picketed by the group. “They’ll have some obscene signs, but on the whole, Westboro isn’t really violent.”
The group believes that “God hates everyone,” and that Christianity itself can only be practiced by a small number of worthy individuals, according to the Westboro Baptist Church’s website.
Not everyone paying attention to the church’s media coverage are as patient as Smith. The hacker group Anonymous, a collective with a strong presence in the Willamette Valley, declared war on the group in 2011 and promptly released personal information of the 12 executive officers from the church.