Westboro Baptist Church Hate Group To Picket Tampa Churches March 19

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), dubbed “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, will be in Tampa on Sunday (March 19) to picket three churches.

According to a news release dated February 15th on the group’s website, members will be “preaching” near the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Florida Avenue, the Hyde Park United Methodist Church on Platt Street and the First Christian Church on W. Kennedy Avenue, in what they are calling the “God Hates Your Idols Preaching Tour”.

The release indicates displeasure with “houses of worship” in the United States “who have refused to do their God-given duties” and has links to each Tampa church’s website. It says in part:

“In this environment where anyone who dares say sin is in fact sin, and they should be fighting tooth-and-nail against that zeitgeist, all you hear are crickets and coyotes in the hills and valleys and echoing through the caverns of Tampa! What DO they warn against? The Jesuits at Sacred Heart care only of their history and vain traditions or architecture. Whereas Hyde Park cares only to please the desires of men, they are so “open-minded” their brains are falling out. Bringing us to First Baptist where they are no more Baptist than the Local Druid Cult, but more “casual” — just check out their “sermons.”

The virulently anti-LGBT WBC has increasingly made the Jewish community a center of focus the past decade and the following weekend will be picketing in Washington, DC at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee headquarters and in New York City at Yeshiva University.

Local social activists have begun to coordinate a response to the hate group’s planned presence in the area, but have not announced any definitive actions or protests.

For more information and history on the Westboro Baptist Church please see their page at the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

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