Flash Mob Protests Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist: Charleston, WV
A flash mob organizing on Facebook plans to protest the Westboro Baptist Church when the infamous Topeka, Kansas congregation arrives in West Virginia next week.
Amy Weintraub, the executive director of Covenant House, is organizing a dancing mob to counter Westboro’s demonstration outside the University of Charleston from April 8 to 10. So far, 30 people are planning to participate, but Weintraub is hoping for 80.
The dance is meant to show the city’s acceptance of all races and religions in contradiction to Westboro’s message.
We want to celebrate the inclusiveness of our community,” she said. “There are a lot of people who really do celebrate the diversity of Charleston and are willing to do so publicly.
Weintraub wouldn’t disclose what song the flash mob would dance to, but she said a professional choreographer would teach the dance steps to those involved this week.
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Westboro Baptist Church Holding Protests All Over Charleston
The controversial church, led by pastor Fred Phelps, is known for rallying against gays, Jews, Catholics and Mennonites. It plans to also protest outside the Temple Israel, the B’nai Jacob Synagogue and the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in Charleston, the capital of West Virginia.
The group is also scheduled to picket outside Charleston Catholic High School, but Principal Debora Sullivan said it would be pointless because the students will be on their Easter break.
Westboro, which travels across North America holding these protests, is not affiliated with any other Baptist church.
Charleston Makes Signs Mocking Westboro Baptist Church
To counter Westboro’s picket signs that read “God Hates Obama” or “God Hates the USA,” 22-year-old student Mona Mayes is planning a secondary protest with such satirical signs as “God Hates Twitter.” More than 100 people have joined her Facebook group.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is also making signs and distributing them freely to people who object to Westboro’s presence in Charleston. They are encouraged to display the signs in their front yard or window to show support for the local community.
What we want to get across is that we stand with our neighbors, whoever they may be, whatever their beliefs might be and however God may have made them,” said Steve Roberts, president of the chamber of commerce.