Image via Larry Barthel. Maple Grove counter-protest. Learn more about his work at Triquetra Productions.

The virulently anti-LGBTQ Kansas church, Westboro Baptist Church, is threatening to come to Minnesota this weekend to protest four churches and a high school in Owatonna and to protest the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. The group often lobs threats of protest at communities then fails to show up.

The group says it will protest in Owatonna on Feb. 4 against “sissy, snowflake career preachers” at Bethel Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Joseph Parish, and Sacred Heart Catholic, and against the Super Bowl on the same day which the group considers to be idol worship.

People in Owatonna are pushing back. A group is organizing to create a human wall to block out the protesters. Trinity Lutheran’s pastor, Todd Buegler, in a letter to church members to return love for anger.

If we are protested this weekend by people who only know anger, let’s give them something to protest:
a people who know, experience and live out God’s love every day
a people who are confident in God’s claim on our lives
a people who welcome all into our community
a people who return love for anger
What are we going to do this weekend when Westboro Baptist Church comes to protest?
We are going to be ourselves.

The group last made an appearance in Minnesota last June in Maple Grove drawing a large counter-protest.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.