Counter protesters face-off with Westboro Church members in Colorado

U.S. & World

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) — The controversial Westboro Baptist Church protesters hit Colorado Springs in force Sunday, protesting the military, same-sex marriage, and a number of religious groups.

“Repent and obey the Lord your God,” said Chris Jaques, member of the Westboro Baptist Church. “God doesn’t love everybody.”

Parishioners filed into the Sacred Heart Church Sunday morning while members of the Westboro Baptist Church lined up outside.

Counter protesters rushed over to confront them.

“It just says, ‘Love has no gender. Compassion has no religion. Character has no race,'” said counter protester Desiree Lorenzana, pointing out what was written on her sign.

The WBC has shrunk to less than 100 members since it opened in 1955, many of them related to its now-deceased founder, Fred Phelps.

Most recently, the WBC caught the nation’s eye when Phelps’ granddaughter Megan Phelps-Roper, left the church and wrote a book about her experience.

There was a WBC member at Sunday’s protest who shared Megan’s last name. Their relation, though, is not known.

“We’re here to preach the word of God to these people who clearly are in open rebellion against it because they don’t know any better,” said Luke Phelps-Roper.

He said, according to God, gay marriage is part of the problem.

“He says what marriage is. He says it’s one man, one woman for life,” Luke Phelps-Roper said.

Despite backlash from the locals, WBC members headed up the street to the Sanctuary Church where the pastor was asked why he thought his parish was targeted.

“We support veterans, I have a black teaching pastor on my staff, we don’t shame LGBTQ people, and I once wrote a book about Catholic saints,” said Eric Sanders, pastor of The Sanctuary Church. “So, I don’t know, take your pick.”

The WBC was supposed to end its demonstration at the Church For All Nations, but never showed up.

Instead, there was a sea of pride flags and some triumphant counter protesters.

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