As predicted, the haters from Kansas did not show.
Picketers a no-show in Norfolk, but unity anyway
More than 250 people - Jewish, Baptist, pagan - showed up at Temple Israel on Monday evening for a planned peaceful walk past picketers from Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas and into the synagogue.But the picketers, who are known for their anti-gay, anti-military and anti-Semitic rhetoric, were a no-show.
"They wanted to stand with people who are under the attack of bigotry," Panitz said. "I was very heartened to see it."
The Kansas group listed recently on its Web site that it would demonstrate at local sites through Wednesday, including at the funeral of a 19-year-old Chesapeake Marine killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan. Westboro Baptist Church is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Four church members, including a child, appeared near Maury and Granby high schools earlier Monday, but they were quickly outnumbered. Crowds of more than 150 at both sites waved gay pride flags, chanted "Virginia is for Lovers" and touted posters declaring "Diversity is Beautiful" and "Elton John is my Homeboy."
A more subdued crowd gathered behind Temple Israel before 5, and Panitz led them into the sanctuary. Before beginning the daily services, he pointed to a row of stained-glass windows.
One told the story of Isaiah and showed a man hammering swords into plowshares, ending war. Another frame depicted train tracks leading to an archway - the death chambers of the Holocaust.
The last told the story of the day when all men will transcend their differences, Panitz said, and live in peace.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Posted by De Sube at 3/02/2010 10:29:00 AM