The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”
They became notorious for their protests of military funerals and their message, “God Hates America.” An Internet Explorer search for “God Hates Fags” takes you directly to Westboro’s web page.
The WBC does more picketing than praying. While they are known for their hatred of homosexuals, they have also protested the Southern Baptist Convention, Comic-Con, Kansas City Chiefs football games, and Broadway musicals.
Even the Ku Klux Klan has denounced the WBC. Here are ten weird facts about the church so terrible that even the KKK wants nothing to do with them.
Top 1: The Ku Klux Klan Detests The WBC
As mentioned in the beginning, the Westboro Baptist Church even disgusts the infamous Ku Klux Klan.
When the WBC protested Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery in 2011, the Knights of the Southern Cross, a branch of the KKK, assembled outside to protest.
Imperial Wizard Dennis LaBonte told CNN that his group came to support the troops. “It’s the soldier that fought and died and gave them the right to free speech,” he asserted.
Top 2: The Westboro Baptist Church Is Funded By Its Members And By Lawsuits
The WBC spends $200,000 to $300,000 per year on travel expenses for picketing. WBC members are required to donate 30 percent of their income to the church. Most of the members have productive jobs.
Many of them are lawyers, as previously mentioned. The WBC also makes money from litigation.
In the 1990s, they received $43,000 in legal fees from the city of Topeka due to the latter providing inadequate protection for the members during protests.
In 1995, they received over $100,000 in legal action against Kansas’s Funeral Picketing Act, arguing that it violated their First Amendment rights.
Top 3: No Dating Allowed
Even though WBC teens attend public school, they socialize only with each other. Dating is not allowed at any age.
Lauren Drain, daughter of Steve Drain, was expelled from the WBC in 2008 at age 22 for communicating with a man online and over the phone.
In her memoir, Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church, she described her teen years.
Her family joined the church when she was 15, and she initially embraced the organization’s teachings.
She became an active picketer and a vocal member. Ultimately, however, she was forced to leave her family home. After she went, her father removed all pictures of her and disowned her.
He did not attend her wedding. Both Lauren and fellow defector Libby Phelps learned that the WBC could be cruel to former members.
They consider themselves “poster children for the evils of the world.” Church defectors have a hard time adjusting to normal life after the strict regime of the WBC.