“Angels” To Block Westboro Church Protest During Orlando Shooting Funerals

Photo: David Goldman/AP Images.
When the Westboro Baptist Church shows up at the funerals of victims of the shooting in Orlando, FL, they'll be met by angels, reports American Theater. The Orlando Shakespeare Theater has started the Angel Wing Project to block the Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting funerals. Actors, and other members of Orlando's theater community, are building large wings that will keep the victim's family members and friends of victims from seeing the anti-gay protest signs commonly held up in the church's protests. Romaine Patterson, a member of the Orlando theater community, suggested the angel wings. Patterson used a similar strategy during the 1999 trial of Matthew Shepard's killers, where a LGBTQ hate group picketed, as Westboro plans to do in Orlando. Orlando Shakespeare Theater's artistic director, Jim Helsinger, told American Theater this is one of the loving ways the theater community can support these victims. "Angel wings are meant as a loving support to the fallen, not to create more anger or violence,” Helsinger said. The Westboro Baptist Church is a fundamentalist Christian group that expresses hatred toward the LGBTQ community. It has also attempted to picket the funerals of other mass shooting victims, like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. They plan to protest the Orlando victims' funerals because they consider homosexuality to be a sin, according to USA Today. "It's not about that person, it's about that whole societal phenomenon," Westboro spokesman Steve told USA Today. "It’s never been okay to be gay and it’s never going to be okay to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin."

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