Atheists and Believers Respond to Westboro Baptist Church with Unity, Positivism, and Resolve

On their way to Hollywood to peddle their drug of addiction, hate, outside the Academy Awards Sunday night, half a dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church paid a morning visit to my home town 50 miles north of Los Angeles. They targeted five churches in a series of brief picket protests for the sin of having female pastors and other doctrinal practices that they abhor. Armed with their typically vile signs and antagonistic rhetoric, they timed their demonstrations to be seen by the parishioners as they arrived for or left Sunday services.

A few of us from the Santa Clarita Atheists and Freethinkers (SCAF) joined 200 to 300 members of the community to counter-demonstrate at each of the churches, despite the drizzle of much-needed rain. Groups from other churches and faith organizations, many students from Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at high schools and the community college, military veterans, and plenty of families and individuals turned out to overwhelm the little sidewalk bigot squad with a flood of harmony, acceptance, and love.

Here’s a small sampling of the nasty and rather goofy messages of the WBC:



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The Catholic Church’s Transphobia Has Never Been a Secret

I am so tired of writing to extremist Christians who believe they know transgender people better than transgender people know themselves. You’re probably tired of reading them.

But a recent post from Patheos Catholic’s Thomas J. McDonald has made it clear that the epidemic of shaming, delegitimizing, and dehumanizing trans people by the Catholic Church has no end in sight, and I can’t let that slide.

Over at Patheos Atheist’s Rational Doubt, Mary Johnson (below), a nun-turned-atheist who used to work with Mother Teresa’s order, gave an interview about the process of doubting, then leaving, her faith. It’s brief but insightful, yet it has McDonald up in arms.

Here’s the segment McDonald takes issue with:

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Mormon Church Defends LGBT Protections — As Long As Religious Groups Can Still Legally Discriminate

At a press conference in Salt Lake City today, Mormon church officials requested a truce with the LGBT community.

The Mormon church will support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people in matters of housing, employment, and public services, one elder said, as long as those laws carve out protections for the expression of “religious freedom,” too. 

Essentially, they’re saying discrimination against LGBT people isn’t okay, unless it’s done in the name of religion.



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These Church Leaders Can’t Officiate Gay Weddings Because Those Church Leaders Want “Religious Freedom”

The United Church of Christ made history on Monday when it filed a federal lawsuit challenging Amendment One, the voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage in North Carolina. A component of Amendment One bars clergy from performing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples because they don’t have a legal marriage license, a policy UCC clergy say violates their right to religious freedom.

From the Equality North Carolina press release:

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London Vicar to Defy Church Leaders By Marrying Atheist Same-Sex Partner

A gay vicar with the Church of England has publicly and openly committed to marrying his same-sex partner, even though it will likely cost him his position in the clergy.

Father Andrew Cain announced his engagement to Stephen Foreshew, his partner of 14 years, on Valentine’s Day. Foreshew is not only a man, but also an atheist, therefore a big double no-no for marriages within the Church. But Cain knows the risk he’s taking — namely the likelihood that he’ll lose his job — and he’s determined to proactively speak out about it rather than hide from the reality of his situation. And that certainly makes him all the more threatening to the Church.

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