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Hateful church

Published February 5, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Armed to make point" (Forum, Feb. 2), Tom Day reasonably argues that the ostentatious public display of firearms may not be the most effective way to show one's political support of unlimited Second Amendment rights.

Day mentions "a particular church group" whose members "openly demonstrate at funerals of veterans to voice their disapproval of war." Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church congregation perpetrate offensive demonstrations not out of any high-minded desire for peace, but to express their single-minded hatred of homosexuals.

Many were puzzled when the WBC switched from picketing funerals of hate-crime victims and AIDS sufferers to those of military war heroes. But its tactic succeeded: Heightened public outrage allowed the group to reach a larger audience with its vile message.

Make no mistake, WBC's raison d'être hasn't changed; it still appears right up front on its website, http://www.GodHatesFags.com: "In 1991, WBC began conducting peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."

WBC's offensive language shows that, whether or not its funeral demonstrations are "peaceful," it's not an anti-war group — its goal is to spread a message of hate and fear against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Brandon Burt

Salt Lake City