AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Westboro Baptist Church will be protesting ahead of a central Austin church service Sunday morning.
Earlier in the week, the pastor at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church on 209 W. 27th St. wrote a Facebook message saying an Austin police lieutenant informed him about 10 members of the infamous church would be protesting from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. The Westboro Baptist Church is known for protesting a variety of people and places it considers “sinful,” often using extremely controversial signs and language.
The church’s website says they will be in Austin Saturday and Sunday picketing the Episcopal Triennial Convention being held there. Father Mike Adams from All Saints’ says the Westboro Baptist Church has an ongoing protest of the Episcopal Church and its acceptance of LGBTQ people. The protesters will move from that church to St. David’s Episcopal church and then the convention center.
Austin police told Adams they would have officers there and while people have offered to create a “human wall” to block the protesters, he told them it wouldn’t be necessary. Still, a counter-protest is possible.
Adams said the church will respect the Westboro Baptist Church’s First Amendment rights, and will likely offer them coffee, water or donuts. He doesn’t expect them to accept.
All Saints’ service will continue as normal at 8 a.m.
“My hope is that none of us will get into any kind of verbal sparring or confrontation with them on our way into church even though their signage and amplified verbal chants will likely invoke and seduce such a reply. Please resist that temptation,” Adams wrote on Facebook.
Adams said they will pray for the protesters during the service that God will “soften hardened hearts.”