Anti-Gay Street Preacher and Cohort Arrested
Though Topeka, Kansas anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church and its leader, Fred Phelps, makes headlines every few weeks for anti-gay street preaching with attitude--members of the congregation wave signs reading "God Hates Fags" and other slogans--the Rev. Phelps is not the only street preacher out there with a message of fear and loathing about gays and lesbians.
Pastor Billy Ball and others associated with Faith Baptist Church, a Primrose, GA house of worship, took to the sidewalks of Manchester, GA with signs bearing various slogans, including "Three Gay Rights: AIDS / Hell / Salvation" and "Repent or Burn," reported an Aug. 31 article at anti-gay religious Web site WorldNetDaily.
Like the Phelps congregation, who have been subject to legal action for picketing the funerals of fallen American soldiers, the Primrose contingent cried foul when they were arrested, citing their Constitutional rights to free expression and peaceable assembly.
The Faith Baptist Church Web site boasts of the "Sons of Thundr" and declares, "The War is On."
The site also posts an ad that compares President Obama to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, lists upcoming street preaching actions (including one targeting a Britney Spears concert and one scheduled to coincide with Durham, NC’s Sept. 26 Pride parade),and lists various depictions of The Ten Commandments that appear in the architecture of federal court buildings.
"It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God," text at the site reads.
"Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or ’In God We Trust’ on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Why don’t we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!" the text adds.
The site also presents the text that appears on shirts worn by church members at anti-gay demonstrations.
Reads the text, "Hell Fire Home of All: Queers, Faggots, Lesbians, Transvestites, Sodomites! Aka Gays."
When police informed Rev. Billy Ball and Chris Pettrigrew that they would need a permit for their street preaching action, the Baptist church members protested that they did not need permits to assemble and publicly declare their religious opposition to gays and lesbians.
The article quoted Pettigrew as saying that he told the police, "It’s our constitutional right to free speech. We’re not impeding any kind of traffic. We’re peaceably assembled, so we’re going to do what we came to do."
The police insisted; so did the Baptist demonstrators; Pettigrew and Ball were placed under arrest, but upon their release they headed right back to the same spot to resume their street preaching.