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Modern Parenthood

What to do if Westboro Baptist Church shows up on your doorstep (+video)

Westboro Baptist Church showed up at church services in California this weekend. How would you respond if they strained religious conversations in your own home? 

By Correspondent / January 13, 2014

In this photo, Vietnam War veterans form part of a line to block an anti-gay protest held by members of the Westboro Baptist Church (rear, hidden) at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Veterans Day, 2010.

Kevin Lamarque/Reauters/FILE

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In light of the increasingly disturbing appearances of the members of Westboro Baptist Church – protesting soldiers' funerals, other churches, and even the Golden Globes – parents should think about ways to look beyond the anger often present in religious disputes.

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Correspondent

Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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The Westboro Baptist Church announced on its website that it planned to protest outside four Glendale churches Sunday morning. Kareen Wynter reports from Glendale for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.

It’s actually very easy to preach “love over hate” to our kids, but they’re just too smart to walk that walk if they see their parents raving at the TV set, Internet, or newspaper over the images of Westboro members desecrating a military funeral or holding up picket signs that announce “God hates America!”

It’s hard to teach kids to handle hate with love when some haters are so good at hitting us where our spirits come alive – at church.

I have come to believe these displays of public hating can serve to unite us if we can see them not as a common enemy, but a shared funhouse mirror, showing us the reverse image of what we want to be.

The world seems to be playing the hate and vengeance theme song so loud we can become a little hard of hearing when it comes to the voices of reason, love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance.

The Westboro group worries me because it has the ability to pollute the spiritual experiences of families.

Recently, Westboro followers have appeared at Salem Lutheran Church and School, First United Methodist Church, Glendale Presbyterian Church, and Holy Family Catholic Community, all in Glendale, Calif., according to UPI.

Pastor Keith Banwart Jr. of St. Matthew’s Church shows that it’s not an unreasonable fear to imagine this anger coming to a church near you.

According a a recent interview with UPI, Pastor Banwart said, “They come out for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. 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.”

While I have tried to live in love, it is just not something that comes as naturally to me as I would hope, and seeing WBC’s actions in the news yanks me off the path of love and faith pretty easily. Especially when faith has been a touchy subject in my household recently. 

Therefore, the WBC is preying on my mind because I have been separated from my faith by anger before and don’t want it to happen to me or anyone else again.

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