The Westboro Baptist Church, the group best known for virulently protesting gay marriage and abortion by picketing soldiers' funerals, turned their ire against Hollywood Sunday.
Sunday's picket, which some labeled as a protest against the Golden Globes, thanks to the proximity to the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, was met by a hundreds-strong counter protest.
Group members appeared at Salem Lutheran Church and School, First United Methodist Church, Glendale Presbyterian Church and Holy Family Catholic Community, all in Glendale.
“They come out for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes,” said Pastor Keith Banwart Jr. of St. Matthew’s Church. "They travel across the country protesting at churches, military funerals, believing that God’s wrath is coming down on America and not allowing LGBT people to live in peace.”
Some 150 people formed a "wall of protection" to help parishioners get into services at Salem Lutheran as the protesters played music and held signs across the street.
“These people want to show that God’s love is bigger than the hate that may be displayed here this morning," Branwart said of the counter-protest.
“We know that the folks in Westboro are angry, and that comes out in hate," added Salem Lutheran Pastor Kurt Christenson. "At this point I think they’re just angry at everything."
“They’ve decided they don’t want to engage in conversation," he said. "They just want to yell and scream and protest. There is an opportunity to say at the end of the day that love is stronger than hate."
Westboro said it planned to protest outside El Segundo High School before leaving Southern California.
Just saw about eight Westboro Baptist Church protestors up against about 200 members of the "Wall of Protection" at three Glendale churches— Tim Traeger (@TraegerTim) January 12, 2014
It was rather comical.— Tim Traeger (@TraegerTim) January 12, 2014
More shots outside Glendale Pres pic.twitter.com/lcC8Bm7J5e— Dan Evans (@EditorDanEvans) January 12, 2014
Westboro in Glendale. pic.twitter.com/riYi5kXBC1— Dan Evans (@EditorDanEvans) January 12, 2014
[Glendale News Press]