Members of the Topeka, Kansas-based hate brigade known as the Westboro Baptist Church
have announced a series of seven protests along the Front Range beginning today and running through Sunday, May 27. And while the group doesn't always show up as planned/threatened
, a large counterprotest is planned for this afternoon at Broomfield High School, with the weapon of choice being a group hug.
The event was conceived by a collective called Broomfield Moms of Tweens, Teens, and Twenty Somethings
, and one of the main organizers — she asks to be referred to only as Melodee — notes via Facebook Messenger that "my goal is to surround the school in a community 'hug' and to show the school and our community that Broomfield is no place for hate."
The WBC's full Colorado schedule as of this writing is on view below. It starts at 11:30 a.m. today, May 22, with an appearance at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual conference in Boulder, where the Kansas crazies demonstrated back in 2015, and includes alleged stops at the United States Air Force Academy graduation and visits to four churches — one in Denver and three in Lakewood.
Meanwhile, the release about the Broomfield High protest, headlined "WBC to Bring Words of Health and Life to the Graduates of Broomfield High School," offers a preview of the invective the homophobic invaders may hurl at the event, slated to take place from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the school's 1 Eagle Way campus.
"It’s a sad occasion to see another group of kids graduating from high school, at this pivotal point in their lives with nothing of any substance to guide them," an excerpt reads. "They’ve been lied to their entire lives by parents, preachers, teachers and mentors about the only thing that has any value for their souls, knowing what their Creator requires of them. WBC will bring words of life and health to them on this momentous occasion, in hopes of these words piercing their hearts and bringing them to repentance. They deserve to hear and see the truth of God."
The item adds: "These truths & more will be preached. Come one, come all. Go with us, the way is good. THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM. #FEARGOD."
A photo that circulated on Facebook after a Westboro Baptist Church protest at NOAA in Boulder circa 2015.
Of course, it's unlikely that a slew of grads will be at the high school during the protest, since they received their diplomas on Saturday, May 19. But Melodee points out that "there will still be students taking exams and checking in for next year. There will be teachers and staff."
As for how she got involved in the counterprotest, Melodee reveals that "I am the CEO of my household. More than a SAHM [stay-at-home mom]. We moved to Broomfield less than two years ago, and I was on social media looking for people to meet. I found the Broomfield Moms of Teens group, which had just been formed, and joined up. I am now one of the administrators of the group."
The Broomfield Moms learned about the WBC protest this past Friday, when "a new member posted a screen shot of this group's Twitter announcement," Melodee goes on. "At first we thought it was a hoax and immediately removed this mom. Another group member informed us this was real and my head started spinning. I would say within an hour, I formed a private event for the moms in our group (we have over 500)."
The response "was pretty intense. Folks wanted to share our event on their social feeds. We started informing other local groups of our intentions; they wanted to share on their feeds. We then decided to make a public event to easily facilitate sharing and communicating. As of this moment, we have over 200 intending to join us."
Over the years, those offended by the WBC, which includes the vast majority of the human race, have debated about whether it's better to confront these bile-spewers or pretend they don't exist. Melodee acknowledges that "I can understand the position to ignore. However, as a supporter so eloquently stated, our presence demonstrates that these kids are our future and we have invested a lot into them. It would be a tragic kind of abandonment to let them face that kind of hate alone...especially during a week that is supposed to be full of joy and dreams fulfilled."
She adds: "These kids and this school have done nothing to stir this group's actions. BHS is a random target. And while we cannot and should not protect our kids from everything, THIS is something we can and should protect them from."
Another mom pointed out that even though "the Boulder NOAA protest is wrong, this one is more important," Melodee emphasizes. "These are our kids. Broomfield is not a very diverse place, but that lack of diversity is not coupled with a lack of courtesy, a lack of community, a lack of compassion. In my opinion, every day is the wrong day to express hatred."
Here's the WBC picket schedule for the week:
46th Annual NOAA Conference at NOAA ESRL in Boulder, CO
May 22, 2018, 11:30 AM — 12:15 PM
Broomfield High School in Broomfield, CO
May 22, 2018, 2:30 PM — 3:00 PM
USAF Academy Graduation at Falcon Stadium in Academy, CO
May 23, 2018, 8:15 AM — 9:30 AM
St. Bernadette Catholic Parish in Denver, CO
May 27, 2018, 9:30 AM — 10:00 AM
Lighthouse Church in Lakewood, CO
May 27, 2018, 10:15 AM — 10:45 AM
Mile Hi Church of Religious Science in Lakewood, CO
May 27, 2018 11:30 AM — 12:00 PM
Red Rocks Church in Lakewood, CO
May 27, 2018, 12:15 PM — 12:45 PM