Counter Demonstration Against Hate Group
Members of Virginia’s faith community came out in full force along with other concerned citizens to counter demonstrate against an anti-gay and anti-Semitic group from Kansas yesterday.
Hundreds of Richmonders gathered in Shockoe Bottom yesterday to counter- protest a handful of members of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas. Westboro Baptist Members travel the country staging such protests, even protesting the funerals of American soldiers, claiming God has killed them for defending a country that tolerates homosexuality.
Reverend Doug Smith represented the Virginia Interfaith Center at the rally.
Smith: We don’t think it’s right for any group to come in from out of state and tell Virginians how they should feel, particularly when their message is about hate. So we were happy to stand with the Virginia Holocaust Museum and making sure that we were educating not just them but all of Richmond, about what happens when hate goes unchecked.
Smith said he was pleased to support the Holocaust Museum’s founder, Jay Ipson, a Holocaust survivor who uses his own experience to educate others about the dangers of hate.
Smith: And we came up to the protestors and Jay Ipson invited them into the Holocaust Museum so they could see what their kind of hate would be resulting in. They continued to scream and yell and after they continued to scream and yell at him we simply turned around and we had a rally inside about overcoming hate.
The Westboro members made three additional stops yesterday to spread their anti-Semitic and anti-gay views, but were out-numbered by dozens to hundreds of vocal counterprotesters at each location.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Richmond.