By Liz Welch, LGBT Advocacy Coordinator
Regardless of how you felt about Fred Phelps, the patriarch of the Westboro Baptist Church, this is a good moment to pause and reflect as we mark the moment of his death. While certainly not a celebration, a protest, or to honor his life mission, perhaps taking a moment to pause and recognize both the good and bad that has come from his work is in order.
The Westboro Baptist Church has created a lot of pain for the LGBT community, the family and friends of military members, and many communities touched by tragedies with their outlandish, hurtful and harmful expressions of their unique brand of free speech and extreme evangelism .
Montana communities have been targeted by the WBC for protests and yet, the communities have always risen and shown that here in Montana love will always win. Countless people have had to confront and ultimately change their own feelings about sexual orientation in the face of the hate that spews from WBC. And the group has been a lightening rod for organizations and individuals to organize and join together in the face of such harmful messages and protests.