In Framingham, Westboro “Baptist” Church is Drowned Out by Love
Across the country, people are proving that when the Westboro Baptist Church is forced into the shadows of resounding love, there is virtually no room left for their inarticulate hate message.
Last week, Westboro came to Massachusetts to “protest” Framingham High School’s production of the Laramie Project, as well as an Islamic center and a Jewish community center.
The MetroWest Daily News Reported:
When the Westboro picketers departed around 7:15 a.m., the protesters on the other side of the street waved at them, and some shouted: “We love you.”
Ellen Cormier of Framingham, who helped hold a banner saying “Standing on the Side of Love,” said she wanted to drown out the Westboro group’s message.
“I think the country needs to know that love will always triumph over hatred,” she said. “I support equal rights for everybody.”
Members of First Parish in Framingham, a 300-year-old Unitarian Universalist church located at 24 Vernon St., and other community supporters didn’t just show up at the Framingham High School protest at 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 3 to “Stand on the Side of Love” to counteract Westboro protestors; many are part of the stage production. For the church’s minister, Rev. Kathleen Hepler, art imitates life; she portrays the UU minister in the play.
According to Dawna Leger Phillips, formerly of Kansas but now a Framingham resident, “There were at least 100 people on the Standing on the Side of Love side – high school and college students, young adults, middle age adults, elders. [On the other side] there were 5 people from the Westboro Baptist Church – Shirley Phelps, an adult man and three young children – and probably 5 more local people showed up on their side.”
The messages of love didn’t end there.
The Rev. Cynthia A. Frado of the Unitarian Universalist Congregational Society of Westborough, Mass. was the lead signatory to an interfaith letter penned by the Westborough Interfaith Clergy Association, condemning local actions by the hateful Westboro Baptist Church.
“Whatever our individual theological perspectives might be, we all stand on the side of love,” said the clergy members, who range from Jewish and Methodist to Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran.
In the end, while the name “Westboro Baptist Church” is one people will recognize, the message in this community is clear — love is a most powerful force to be reckoned with.