One of America's most notorious hate groups will be spewing its garbage at a church near you. Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will be, for whatever reason, picketing sites in Quincy and Hannibal on Sunday, November 18.

You've heard of this group of low-lifes. They're known for protesting at the funerals of American service members to draw attention to their message of hate, particularly aimed against homosexuality.

Their website (which I will not be linking to) shows the plan to picket outside Madison Park Christian Church and St. Peter Catholic Church in Quincy, followed by an appearance outside Hannibal First Church of the Nazarene.

I want to make this perfectly clear: The local churches involved DID NOT invite Westboro. In fact, they're generally disgusted and appalled that this group that hides behind religion to spread hate is coming to our area.

Debbie Adair is a member of the First Church of the Nazarene. "They are not allowed on our property," she said. "They will be basically in the road disrupting traffic. Everyone is welcome at our church. We don't discriminate, even if others do."

The positive thing is the support the Nazarene Church is getting from the public. No one is buying into Westboro's tactics. In fact, many people are offering prayers for the local churches on the list and for an end to hate in all its forms.

I despise giving Westboro even a smidge of attention. I really do. However, this is news. Ignoring something never makes it go away. It has to be addressed and in this case condemned. The First Amendment gives these cretins a right to protest. It also gives the rest of us the right to call them cretins. Westboro's biggest publicity stunt is to stage protests at military funerals. It gives them maximum exposure for their message. They don't care that they're intruding on the grief and pain of the mourners. Despicable.

Regardless of your religious stance on homosexuality, hate has no place here, especially when you are posing as a follower of Jesus. The rabble rousers at Westboro are equal opportunity haters. I've seen one of their protests before. They carry signs saying things like "Thank you God for 9-11." According to their website, the theory behind that is "it is our duty to be thankful to God for everything He does." That makes me sick. As if God crashed planes to kill thousands of innocent people. Westboro also claims it's God's punishment for allowing homosexuality in society. That is not the God I know and love.

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