‘Angels’ Guard Orlando Memorial Services From Westboro Baptist Church Protesters
After the Westboro Baptist Church called on its supporters to protest memorial services for victims of the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, the protesters were greeted by something they probably didn’t expect: angels.
On Saturday, members of the American Theater group in Orlando dressed in white with large “angel” wings to line funeral services for those who died in last Sunday’s terrorist attack and shielded the grieving families from the noted anti-gay hate group.
After the Pulse nightclub shooting, where Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 and injured another 53, the Westboro Baptist Church – known for its controversial radical Christian ideals and nationwide funeral protests – told its supporters to protest the funerals of the victims.
But members of the Orlando community were not about to let that happen.
“We didn’t know that anyone would protest the funerals here in Orlando, but that is now happening, so a counter-protest so that people that are attending those funerals and those that are in mourning don’t have to deal with hate is an important thing,” said Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Jim Helsinger, according to the Miami Herald.
On Saturday, only a handful of Westboro protesters showed up, according to NPR, but thanks to the efforts of the Shakespeare Theater, they were outnumbered and their protests drowned out.
— Joey Flechas (@joeflech) June 18, 2016
“I don’t have any money to give, but I can spread love and I can spread hope,” Jeannie Haskett, a volunteer, told the Herald. “I was just waiting for an opportunity to use one thing I do have, which is the skill to sew.”