Westboro Baptist Church, the extremist group that is known for picketing military funerals and other related events, has a new target: the Rev. Billy Graham. The anti-gay hate group went after the famed minister on Tuesday, waving signs, playing music and making statements accusing the faith leader of putting profits before preaching the gospel.
About a dozen of the protesters assembled outside of the Billy Graham Training Center in Swannanoa, North Carolina, going on to continue their protest later in Montreat. The troop was accompanied by 20 counter-protesters from the Asheville area, who assembled to rail against the group's message.
The Citizen-Times has more about the elements of anti-Graham sentiment that was present among the Westboro protesters:
“Billy Graham is one of the most influential men in the world, but he has not used his bully pulpit to preach the Gospel,” said Westboro member Paulette Phelps, daughter-in-law of the church’s pastor, Fred Phelps.
She said Graham was more interested in power and money than in the word of God. “He has preached the feel-good Gospel and not the true Gospel,” she said.
“The true Gospel says if you don’t obey, you’re going to perish. There are consequences for not obeying. Homosexuality is all bad, all day. You can’t get around that.”
The protesters apparently contended that Graham, 93, will go to Hell when he dies and that he will join his wife, Ruth, there as well. Ruth passed away back in 2007.
Watch the bizarre video footage from the event, which oddly includes Lady Gaga music playing in the background:
Among the counter-protesters was Tuesday Feral, a self-described gay Christian, who told reporters that Westboro distorts the Bible.
"They’re presenting a very inaccurate picture of what Christianity is," she said. "Their message is, ‘God hates this, and God hates that. God hates everything.'"
Recently, Graham came out in support of North Carolina's Amendment 1, a move that surprised many, as the faith leader typically stays out of policy debate. He is the extremist group's latest victim.
(H/T: Get Religion)