The Westboro Baptist Church has a long history of protesting Judy Shepard’s appearances. So when the College of Charleston in South Carolina revealed that Shepard — whose son Matthew was tortured and murdered in 1998 — would be a guest lecturer this month, WBC announced its plans to demonstrate outside of the event.
Well, Shepard spoke to a capacity crowd on Monday evening — the topic was ending hate crimes — but WBC never showed up. If they had, however, they would have encountered a good deal of resistance. Gay Star News reported that hundreds of counter protestors — led by atheist and secular student leaders — showed up to buffer Shepard from WBC.
College of Charleston sophomore Matthew Willingham told Charleston’s Channel 2, “It’s amazing to know that so many people in the community have this strong emotion of love to everyone. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
The Secular Student alliance at the school posted a similarly enthusiastic message online. It read, “We showed the Charleston community just how much love can fit in a bunch of college kids, atheists, and secular students.”
WBC has claimed repeatedly that Matthew Shepard was killed because he was a drug dealer, not because he was gay. Last night, they were supposed to picket another Shepard speech — this one at Indiana University. But again, they no-showed.
Seems like WBC is getting lazier and lazier lately. Maybe they’re tired. It must be taxing traveling around the country, holding those heavy “God Hates Fags” signs for such long stretches of time. And if we’re getting down to brass tacks, the members of the church — led by heterosexual pastor Fred Phelps — aren’t exactly portraits of good health.
Tonight, WBC is scheduled to protest an Eagles concert in St. Louis, Missouri. Their website claims that front man Don Henley is a “serial fornicator” who banged Stevie Nicks in the 1980s. And that begs a serious question — if sleeping with Nicks inspired Lindsay Buckingham to write some of the most iconic music of the 1970s, then why did Henley produce almost exclusively garbage in the 80s?