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Hyattsville Area Pastors Weigh in on Westboro Protest

Pastors urge counter-protesters to be respectful and not be mirror images of Westboro Baptist Church.

“We really should raise the bar not lower it,” said Pastor Eric Linthicum of , cautioning counter-protesters to treat Westboro Baptist Church’s members in a respectful manner.

But when Westboro pickets Northwestern High School next Tuesday morning,  Linthicum does not plan to be there. He plans to ignore them.

On the flip side, Rev. Diane Teichert of the fears if churches don’t join in the counter-protest, then outsiders will fill the void.

Before moving to Hyattsville, she ministered in Lexington, Mass., where Westboro regularly picketed, and people outside her community flocked in for the showdowns.

Had there been no organized response, Teichert said she is certain the counter-protesters would have looked just like Westboro — yelling and screaming back.

“People can show up who make our community look bad,” she warned.

Rev. Gloria Grant of the said she thinks counter-protesters should not mimic Westboro.

“We are people who are professing Jesus Christ’s love,” she said. “We’re supposed to be shining examples of how the world should act and not acting like them.”

Teichert’s Lexington community decided to handle Westboro with a silent counter-picket. They walked the line with their backs to the Kansans, not talking to them and not even talking among themselves. They felt empowered by a sense of solidarity, and by the fact that Westboro got no attention.

Linthicum said that although he believes the First Amendment gives the Westboro Church members the right to voice their views, he doesn't agree with the message.

“In my opinion, they are not carrying a Christian message," he said. "They certainly are not carrying it out in a Christian manner.”

Nicole Lucier February 25, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Please join us in a peaceful counter-demonstration: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128478793891663
Wilma March 01, 2011 at 02:41 AM
A peaceful, respectful counter-demonstration is needed. If these people are ignored, they don't get it, they would only become more obnoxious to get noticed. We need to pray for them as they are very needy people. Too bad they can't close school that morning. However, on the other hand, maybe they should turn all 2500 of those teen agers loose on the protesters. (There are many smart teens!)

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