‘Angels’ from Orlando peacefully block Westboro Baptist Church protesters in Columbus

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – You may have already seen the “angels” blocking the hateful protest of the Westboro Baptist Church at the funerals of Orlando shooting victims.

They made their way to Columbus on Friday, helping the Unitarian Universalist Association as they hold their annual gathering at the Convention Center.

“These angel wings were designed by a member of our church who is also on the theater design committee for the Shakespeare Orlando Theater company,” says Charles Behrens. “They were very effective in blocking the hateful signs that people had brought.”

Behrens is a member of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando.

“We found them very effective in Orlando, so we sent them up here so that they would work again here on the side of love,” he says.

Earlier Friday afternoon, the sidewalks near the convention center were filled with people, standing up to the WBC in a peaceful way. It wasn’t long before the protesters left.

“To see the angels come out and block all that hate language really brought tears to my eyes, it was really wonderful,” say Jennifer Keller from All Souls, Unitarian in Washington D.C. 

“I’m not surprised that just singing songs about love ran them off,” says Behrens. “They are bullies and they don’t stand up to people just expressing love.”

About 4,000 Unitarian Universalists from across the nation are convening here in Columbus for their general assembly.

“We’re particularly known for being on the cutting edge of women’s rights, civil rights,” says president of the Unitarian Universalists Association Rev. Peter Morales. “We’ve been accepting of LGBTQ people for a long, long time. In that way, we’re kind of a natural target for people like Westboro, who want to protest us.”

People attending the assembly reacted to the WBC by chanting “Love not hate” and held peace and love symbols. 

“You don’t combat hate with hate,” says Rev. Morales. “We just try to gently let our position be known and really try to counter hate with love.”

The general assembly goes through Sunday. What others are clicking on:

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