Aug 26, 2013 8:55 PM by Keele Smith

Westboro Baptist Church scheduled to protest in Bozeman next month

BOZEMAN - Members of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) will be protesting against same-sex marriage at Montana State University and Bozeman High School in September.

They will be coming in from Topeka, Kansas, on September 9th and will be at MSU from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and at Bozeman High School from 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The WBC has strong sentiments against same-sex marriage in America.

On its website, the organization says:

WBC will picket Montana State University to put the attention on the words of God and the Bible. MSU doesn't teach anything that will benefit their students on that great and terrible day of judgment! MSU teaches to worship yourself! These people deserve the truth and WBC will bring it. WBC brings real 'higher learning'.

The reason given for picketing Bozeman High School is:

WBC will picket Bozeman High School to tell these students the Gospel truth which their parents, teachers and preachers try desperately to hide from them. Every adult in their lives has taught them that they can disobey God and still go to Heaven, that it is OK to be gay, and that God is not cursing this doomed nation for the sin of embracing sodomy. Believing these lies will send these children straight to Hell so WBC must deliver the only message of hope and redemption they will ever receive: that you must repent and obey, for there is no other way!

Steve Vanwinkle, Fellowship Baptist Church pastor, said, "I'm embarrassed. It's sad. It gives a complete black eye to Christianity at large and specifically to Baptist churches."

Fellowship touches on social issues in a different way.

"We choose to teach the Bible as a whole and what it says about those issues in context of the Bible as opposed to trying to push some sort of agenda through a few verses," VanWinkle said.

"It doesn't matter if it's heterosexual or homosexual, sex is designed between people who are married and married is for one man and one woman," he said.

The Westboro Baptist Church has been known to protest at military funerals by holding up controversial signs such as "thank god for dead soldiers".

While Baptists do believe that homosexuality is a sin, Bozeman's Kirkwood Baptist Church said that is not the message they want to send, unlike Westboro.

James Wyatt, senior pastor at the Kirkwood Baptist Church, said, "They have a message that they pinpoint a particular sin, they go after that particular group. We teach that all men are sinners and we're all in need of grace through God."

Both Kirkwood and Fellowship stress they are nothing like Westboro.

Vanwinkle said, "It's difficult for us because they have a message that's really of hate and we have a message that's of love and hope."

With respect to the upcoming protests in Bozeman, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Westboro Baptist Church has the right to peacefully protest on public lands but he will be speaking with staff at Montana State University and Bozeman High School to ensure safety measures are in place.

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