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Westboro Baptist Church Picketers Coming to Arlington

by Katie Pyzyk October 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm 19,882 145 Comments

A church group known for stirring up controversy with its extreme messages has scheduled a day of protests in Arlington next month.

According to a picket schedule on its website, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, will send members to Arlington on Monday, November 12. They’re slated to protest at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd) starting at 7:40 a.m., the Pentagon starting at 8:50 a.m. and Arlington National Cemetery at 10:00 a.m.

The group has made stops in Arlington before, in part to perform protests of military funerals. Such protests have been fodder for lawsuits around the country, but the group’s right to protest at the funerals was upheld by the Supreme Court last year. The church has also made headlines for its prominent anti-gay message, for lauding the 9/11 attacks and for using controversial slogans such as “Thank God for breast cancer” on picket signs.

Although the church’s protests of the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery may not seem surprising, some question why it is targeting Yorktown. The church offered the following explanation on its website:

“Westboro will picket Yorktown High School because we know that Doomed america has turned the school systems into institutions to teach rebellion against God. Every adult that touches the lives of your children hate them, including parents, teachers, coaches, preachers. No truth to be found on the landscape. So you will all land in hell together, and there you will remain, bitter cursing and wailing and gnashing of teeth. How sad is that?! Not to worry, WBC brings HOPE! The Bread of Life. If you loath it, too bad, it is all you get.”

Currently, there have been no reports of plans for increased security or police presence at any of the three sites where protests are scheduled. Arlington County Public Schools Spokesman Frank Bellavia did note, however, that November 12 is Veterans Day, and school is therefore not in session.

  • Charles

    I’d like to see Westboro Clowns picket something they DO like. But is there anything? They only seem to protest whatever is at hand, harming their own message.

    • SomeGuy

      I am curious about this too. All I hear from them is that God hates me, but the message about how to change that (according to their version of things) gets lost.

      • bobco85

        Their message never seems to be what they want everyone else to do. Their message really seems to be: “We know what ‘God’ wants, and we’re the only ones going to ‘Heaven’ because of it. We rejoice that you’re all going to ‘Hell!'”

        Westboro Baptist Church = King of all Trolls

      • sweet tea

        Just wondering what is your take on the bible references the anti –people are always quoting? I am reading through the bible for the first time and have not got to those quotes. I have always wondered how can a person claim to be catholic and gay I am neither ,but this does seem to go against what the pope has said. I should mention that the people who picket vets coffins should be arrested for treason. It was wrong during the Vietnam war and it is still wrong.

    • Sweet

      i would like to see every last LGBT in DC stand in front of them the entire time and have a MASSIVE make out session while holding signs that say “WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!”

      • xtr657

        Or just hold big banners thanking these people because they have probably done more for gay rights than anyone could possibly do. Seriously.

      • EastBorough Blues

        Great turnout just like Chik-fila or the million man march

    • yabbadoody

      WBC has no message – that’s the point. They’re not much different than the mass murderers / copycats out there right now trying to grab headlines by murder and mayhem – no different at all, just sans ammo. Irony: Their ‘protest’ creates the very hell they decry. Just Say No.

  • b-money

    Oh, this should be good.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    Ain’t that enough to make a person lose their lunch! These characters aren’t conservative, they’re several sandwiches short of a picnic and their elevators don’t go to the top floor.

    • Jerry Shepardini

      Seriously. That’s an insult to conservatives. I hope you consider re-wording the intro.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Not me, I didn’t write the intro to the article, ArlNow wrote it.

        These WBC yahoos are looney tunes no sensible or thinking person would touch with welding gloves.

        • Dan

          I am enjoying your hyperbole as well as agreeing with your statements.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            They should all grow like onions, with their heads in the ground.

        • Jerry Shepardini

          Heh, not going after you, don’t worry. Poor wording on the author.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Thanks, I wasn’t sure at the time when I read your comment. No worries.

        • hooligan

          i would touch them with a welding torch…..

      • Beth M.

        I didn’t read it until now, and it says “extreme” not conservative. So I’m guessing that the author corrected it.

    • drax

      Sure. Not conservative.

      • Obligatory Fact Checker

        I wouldn’t say they are conservative at all…they are twisted and wrong, but not conservative. I actually read that their deranged leader, Fred Phelps, is a registered Democrat. Ran for office a bunch of times in Kansas, including for Governor, in the Democratic Party Primaries and received a pretty decent amount of the primary vote a few times. He was a civil rights attorney and was also a big supporter of Al Gore’s presidential run in 1988. So say what you want, but I think you are wrong.

      • Stitch_Jones

        I guess your lazy sarcasm was just trumped by some simple research that yielded facts.

        Hopefully you did not pay a lot for your college degree. Or more accurately, I hope taxpayers did not subsididize too much of it…

    • CA

      There was a special on them recently on A&E or something. In any event, even though they have sad, pathetic lives, they are suprisingly intelligent, especially the one daughter who I believe argued successfully in front of the Supreme Court. It was a little surprising.

      • Atheos

        Just goes to show, as Hitch said, religion poisons everything.

        Imagine the fullfilling, productive lives these people would leave if it weren’t for religion and a supreme being on “their side”.

    • Jessica

      HAHAHHAHA that was amazing

  • craig

    those people suck

  • blah

    getting the water balloon launcher ready now

    • David

      I was just thinking this.

    • Wow&Flutter

      You also beat me to it!

  • JohnB

    I have off that day too. Who wants to follow them around with signs that say, “I disagree”


    • ChrisR

      I’m in.

    • JohnB

      My initial reaction was the one they wanted and I take people’s point that the best course of action would be to deprive them of the attention they want so new plan:

      Celebrate Veterans by exercising my freedom to __________.

      You fill in the blank.

    • BoredHouseWife

      I would like to have a sign that says “However, the Goddess loves all.”

    • Just Me

      I want to!!!!

  • Westover

    Just a tiny point of order for longtime residents and interest alumni, but did they change Yorktown’s address from 28th Street to Yorktown Blvd. as part of the renovation?

    • Beth M.

      Yes, they did that as part of the renovation, when the main entrance changed.

    • jonts

      Yes, they re-oriented the building facing Yorktown Blvd during the reconstruction. 28th St is now the back of the building.

  • novasteve

    Will the principal apologize for other people’s rights again?

    • Narlington

      Did he apologize for ore people’s rights before? I have no idea what you are saying in the above statement Novasteve, but then again I never know what you are talking about.

      • emanon

        Different principal – that was at W-L. The YTown principal is probably very happy that school is not in session that day. doesn’t have to deal with the crap, even if it does present a chance to educate the kids on freedom of speech.

    • Beth M.

      No need to explain to people that it isn’t a school sponsored event. School isn’t in session, WBC is well known for their “protests”, and there is no mistaking this for part of the curriculum. Very different situation.

  • gnushell

    If I don’t have a new job by then, I will join you JohnB.

  • novasteve

    Why would they need increased security? These people are non violent. Or are people considering the criminal reactions of people who don’t agree with the first amendment?

    • Mary-Austin

      I Think it’s funny how they use the same logic as you to make generalizations about groups of people

      • novasteve

        Funny how you have no issue generalizing about conservatives. one conservative says something, they are all responsible, But if anyone else generalizes, it’s “hate speech”

        • JamesE

          The irony, oh god the irony.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Ain’t it the truth, JamesE!

        • cause

          I have FINALLY figured out who you remind me of, Steve: Ann Coulter. You make sweeping insulting generalizations about people, attribute beliefs and feelings to straw men when no one has said anything, and just seem unhappy with life in northern Virginia. But unless Arlnow has you on the payroll for page hits, you lack the paycheck she gets when she says the same things.

        • Captain_Obvious

          It’s funny…I can say that this above poster says the exact same thing about liberals and my comment gets moderated and doesnt’ make “the cut” and yet, he can continue making trolling comments like this.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            You said it, Captain Obvious!

    • Arlingtoner33

      So you’d be ok if they came and protested at one of your family member’s funerals? It’s not about disagreeing with the the 1st amendment, it’s utilizing it to antagonize others and going out of their way to do so.

  • Sam

    This group is so crazy…there are no words! I think it’s funny that they plan on being at YHS on Veterans Day when NO ONE will be there! lol That’s how stupid they are.

    • drax

      Shhh, don’t tell them.

  • Wow&Flutter

    Should be a nice day for a one-sided water balloon fight!

    • Arlingtoon

      What’s wrong with eggs?

      • Say it Ain’t So

        Tomatoes make a better statement… although not sure they are worth the expense??

        • Say it Ain’t So

          ‘they’ being the WBC that is….

  • VaSqJay

    Let’s find out where they are staying and remove the bibles from their hotel rooms.

    • novasteve

      Yes, nothing like committing crimes to stop people from saying things you don’t agree with.

      • Citizen

        They should protest NovaTaker, who promised to leave: Thou shall not lie!

    • WeiQiang

      I’m sure they have their own … not that they read the whole thing.

  • drax

    Photo = weirdest family photo ever.

  • Jesus

    I think it is cute that they think they can protest in three different locations during rush hour. Guess they are not planning on protesting for long.

    • Hank

      That is a damned good point. It would be awesome if they couldn’t find parking.

      • Rankin

        A really good point.

        YHS is 7 or 8 miles from The Pentagon. They’re starting at YHS at 7:40am, and then at The Pentagon at 8:50am.

        Even with zero traffic it would take at least 25 minutes to get from one to the other. Then you have to allow time to get all these wackjobs on and off the minibus and get their signs ready and the right way up – say another 10 minutes.

        To make their 8:50 start time at the Pentagon they would have to leave the school at about 8:15am.

        So they’re driving all the way from Kansas to stand outside a closed high school for about 35 minutes.

        I can see God facepalming from here…

        • Westover

          According to Metro’s site, if they caught the 3E at Lee and George Mason at 8:14 they could be at the Pentagon at 8:41.

          That’s doable. If they wrapped up at Yorktown at 8:00 and walked right up Florida St, they could probably make it.

        • SHLady

          that’s hilarious.

        • Deadite

          And by “minibus” you mean “shortbus”.

          • Hank

            Oh, it’s an insult to compare the mentally feeble with these jackasses.

          • drax

            Please don’t do that.

    • WeiQiang

      My question would be: Where on the Pentagon reservation do they think they can protest? Macy*s ?? PFP owns out to – and in some cases past – the highways. Shoot, a few peaceniks can’t get three steps out of the Metro without being hogtied by PFP. Neither Metro nor DoD will permit them to protest on their respective properties.

      Same question goes for ANC. I suppose the road by the entrance to the parking lot might be legal.

      … and other than watching the morning commute debacle, I have no interest in watching extremists exercise their rights to be extreme.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Sorry, but not true. There are protestors outside the Pentagon every Monday morning. Right next to the security stand at the top of the metro escalator is a little grassy area, and there are always folks there with signs. I wonder, though, if there is some sort of permitting process for that. Also, the protestors are always quiet – they just hold their signs and that’s about it. Nothing confrontational at all. These nitwits are different.

        • WeiQiang

          God Hates Permits

    • Citizen


  • BlueSkies

    I think the best response would be no response at all – no counter protests, no gawkers, nothing. They can hang out all alone with their twisted little views and not get the attention they’re craving.

    • WestoverNative


    • KJS


    • ArlingtonNative

      My friend is a Yorktown alum and was talking about this the other day – apparently these people get their money from lawsuits after folks throw stuff at them and assault them. My thought — figure out exactly where their protest is going to be and have everyone’s dog leave a little prezzie there the night before and then no one show up to heckle the morons – thus leaving them all alone with no attention in a big pile of poo

  • TJLinBallston

    Father, forgive them foir they know not what they are doing. All that hate in such a tiny congregation!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Problem is, they seem to know exactly what they are doing!

  • drax

    You know what would really really make them mad? If not a single person paid any attention to them.

  • YTK

    Why don’t they do something constructive, like protesting The Trolley?????

    • Bluemontsince1961


    • drax

      God Hates Trains?

      • WeiQiang

        God Hates Trainnys

        • SomeGuy

          You should be more open-minded about trainsexuality.

          • WeiQiang

            God Created VRE & MARC, not Lee & Mark!

          • Hank

            Oh God bless you for that one!

          • SHLady


          • drax

            So why’s that gay paper called the METRO Weekly? That you get at the METRO station? Huh? Huh?

  • CrystalMikey

    I would really love to counter protest these jokers at Arlington Cemetery.

  • R. Griffon
    • YTK


  • Al

    They would appear to have a pretty condensed schedule. Anyone up for double parking them in at the High school?

    • Chris

      Lets just say double parking them in just might end up being the least of their troubles.

  • S. Arlington

    I hope my right to kick their arse is upheld

  • JB

    We should counter protest with signs that negate theirs. For example, stand next to the one that has the “America is doomed” sign with one that says, “If we all think like these people, then” or next to the “God hates you” sign holder with a sign that says, “JK! God loves everyone.”

  • JimPB

    I plan to be at Yorktown that morning to turn my back on their hateful words (with plugs in my ears) and deeds (being tough on the issue) while meditating about compassion and forgiveness.

  • Chris

    How about we try this: no media coverage. These folks aren’t news, aren’t important, and the only reason their message spreads are and wide is that all 12 of them get news coverage. We get it – they’re nutty and offensive. Next.

    • WeiQiang

      /\ this /\

  • Yawn

    Why does anyone waste their time even talking about these type of people. That’s what they want, to create controversy. Just ignore them and let them have their “freedom of speech.” They are like little kids vying for attention, if you just ignore them they’ll eventually give up.

    • Say it Ain’t So

      I don’t know about that…. consider novosteve….he doesn’t ever seem to give up…..

      • ARLResident

        The funny thing is that he continuously disproves his own claim that every person in Arlington is an extremist liberal Democrat or socialist.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          You got it!

  • justin

    These guys are so cute!

  • UA

    Good article about WBC at a military funeral.


  • BrerFlipFlop

    If only we could dump vats of tar upon them…

    • Capital One Visigoth

      I like where you’re going with this

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Hmmm. I was thinking more of pouring honey all over them and then releasing a colony of fire ants!

  • lebele

    Ignore them and protest to any news station that covers them.

    Counter-protesters give them exactly what they crave — a news story.

    • Citizen

      Water-ballon the silly news people.

  • JimPB

    Ring Yorktown in silence, with backs turned to WBO in rejection of their hate

    A counter sign: Love Your Neighbors, all of them.
    — I mean it, GOD.

    • MomOfTeens

      Yorktown should invite them in to take the SOL tests.

  • SHLady

    is it wrong that I kind of want to go see them as a tourist attraction?

    • Hank

      It’d be like going to a freakshow in which every attraction has 47+ chromosomes due to inbreeding.

      • drax

        Not even remotely funny.

  • Michael

    No media. No counter protests. No discussion. When they lose our attention, they are no longer newsworthy.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    WBC is a business. No more, no less. They make their money by getting people / local governments to interfere with their right to free speech and/or physically touch them in any way, shape or form, and then suing them. Trolling for profit.

  • Citizen

    The Constitution prohibits government from interfering with their Free Speech rights. It won’t stop me. They’re the most despicable group I know of.

  • Kristen Wheeler

    I think they’re going to be a little disapointed at the school (and the Pentagon) – November 12th is a Federal holiday. Arlington schools are all closed that day.

  • 27thRoadS

    “Every adult that touches the lives of your children hate them, including parents, teachers, coaches, preachers. No truth to be found on the landscape.”

    If this quote is on thier web site, would it not include themselves in parenting, teaching, coaching, preaching to thier children? Just wondering……..

    • MomOfTeens

      …And are they taking issue with Yorktown’s landscaping? Granted, it needs a little work, with the construction and all, but…

  • Loggie

    maybe we can get the Foo Fighters to protest like they last year to the same picketers. Good stuff


  • Right of Center

    And what flavor Kool-Aid do they like?

  • max

    Yorktown kids will beat them up

  • YHS Alum

    Nothing illegal with “crop dusting” them…..

    Who’s with me?

  • Fred

    I think they spelled “FIGS” wrong on their signs.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    Here’s one idea:

    Funniest part of that article is that the WBC yahoos never showed up. Rumor has it that they spent their time trying to extricate their cars from impound – seems they had incurred some minor parking violation or another and had gotten towed. Then for some reason the process at the tow lot took longer than usual. A lot longer.

    Strange set of coincidences it was. Very strange. And in Texas of all places.

  • JimPB

    No violence toward WBC. There is a better message:”Love your enemies.” “Turn the other cheek.” With nonviolent countering of their repulsive hating to demonstrate our rejection of their dispersible behaviors and that we here stand for love and acceptance.

    I liked the way folks formed an outer protective ring around military funerals that WBC sought to disrupt by their shouts of venom, the shielders turning their backs to WBC to convey rejection of the WBC behaviors of hate.

  • ima run out the woods & try to bite a few of them!! woof

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Have some Listerine with you, Major Pup, those characters are liable to taste very nasty and you’ll need to wash the bad taste out of your mouth.

  • chipotle_addict

    WBC is actually just a big huge parody. I’m amazed that it hasn’t been outed in the national press. Just read the FAQ on their website, it’s plainly obvious they are acting the way they do just to make fun of Christianity and the bible.

    It’s just a “Church” in the form of The Colbert Report .

  • Loocy

    The kids at Yorktown are all talking about this, and excitedly planning some kind of counterprotest. I’m not worried about the WBC — they are well practiced provocateurs and know exactly what to do to remain technically within the law — but I do fear some overexcited kids going too far and getting themselves in trouble.

  • drax

    Some people on this forum could get signs saying “God Hates the Homeless” and fit right in.

  • Last I checked, Veterans Day is November 11th. It may be observed on November 12th as it is a federal holiday. The article needs to clear this up.

  • AbeFroman

    These people are simply broken

  • SkinsFan31

    I went to Yorktown last year. Hope I’m back in time to see these fools make an ass out of themselves.

  • KyleA

    I know most of you won’t even read this, but please don’t base your entire view of Christianity, or the baptist denomination off of one group of misled, extremists… We are not all like this… Pray for America, pray for her troops, pray for the world, and finally pray for these poor people that have been sucked into the westboro extremist cult… God, hates no one…

    • drax

      Wait, we’re not supposed to judge all people in a group by the actions of some in the same group?

  • John

    Nov 12th is not Veterans Day. Nov 11th is.

    • drax

      School is out Monday, Nov. 12, in observance of Veterans Day, which is indeed Nov. 11.

    • Glebe Roader

      It is “observed” on Monday, Nov 12 this year. Arlington County schools/offices and most federal government offices will be closed on Nov 12.

  • STG

    So are people going to counter protest? We are – and I wonder how many others will be there with us. I HOPE people turn out. I do not honestly think it will really make a difference, but I want them to know their hatred is not welcome in our backyards.


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