As reported by The Advocate and the Oregonian, on January 10, a smattering of Westboro Baptist Church members journeyed from Topeka, Kanas to Portland to protest against the 11th annual Gay Christian Network Conference.
While the majority of conference offerings focus on supporting full equality for gays and lesbians (trans issues were seldom addressed), they do offer a smattering of workshops designed to appeal to those they term “Side B Christians,” a phrase used to designate those Christians who do not support same-sex relationships.
Yet the inclusion of Christian conservative voices failed to appease the Westboro protestors who chose to “hate fags” while other Christians held up signs offering a counter message.
Evangelical parents formed a strong contingency at this conference with an increasing number siding with loving their children over obeying church doctrine that damns those they love to hell.
Try as they might to launch a protest with bullhorns …
Local clergy and churgoers responded to the protestors by singing Christian praise songs to block out the hate speech and forming a “Wall of Love” to help conference attendees enter the convention center without having to confront the Westboro crew.
Those protesting and praying gathered at 8am (with most leaving by 9am when the first session began). According to GNC conference organizers, this event, titled “Together at the Table,” brought in well over 1,300 attendees from 46 states and 14 countries.
During the protest, a rainbow appeared just as I snapped a photo of Jeffrey Hoffman, Executive Director of BJUnity, an organization that affirms and empowers lgbt+ people from Bob Jones University and other Independent Fundamental Baptist organizations. Draw your own conclusions on that development.
Unfortunately the God Hates Shrimp movement wasn’t present though perhaps they realized that protesting against Pacific Northwest seafood is a lost cause indeed.
For the full photo spread go to Instagram: becky_garrison