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Members of the notoriously hateful Westboro Baptist Church announced recently that they were going to protest in Madison, Wisconsin today, but apparently decided not to make the stop after the temperature in Madison topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit. (Insert your own joke about hell here.) Their plan was to gather in front of the Dane County Courthouse to protest the recent conviction of a local pastor on eight counts of conspiracy to commit child abuse.

The charges alleged that two of the children involved were just 2 months old when discipline was advocated by Caminiti. The oldest child was 5 when the practice was stopped after police intervened in November 2010.

Caminiti was not charged with having committed any abuse himself.

Instead, as leader of the church he told other parents, including his own adult children and his brother, how to discipline their children by striking them with wooden spoons and dowels. Using the rod, Caminiti told police, is mandated by the Bible and is intended to correct a child's behavior if they are exhibiting "selfish" crying.

The church's web site stated that Wisconsin has "a corrupt judicial system that loves to turn over children to fag & dyke couples, while putting preachers in jail when they say you should spank a child!”

Can't you just feel Jesus's love?

Counter-protesters gathered shortly before noon to welcome the Westboro Baptists with messages of (mostly) love, peace, harmony, and humor...

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photo by Lisa Wells

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photo by Lisa Wells

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photo by Lisa Wells

A local candidate running for the Wisconsin Assembly organized a drive to collect food and school supplies for children in a  brilliant action he described as turning hate into love. He set up just down the block from where the anticipated protest was to take place....

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photo by Lisa Wells

A few minutes after noon, word filtered down through the crowd that Westboro had decided not to show up. The police had contacted them and the Westboro gang apparently told them it was "too hot" and they wouldn't be having their protest. The weather stopped them from protesting in Wisconsin? Really? That's funny. Amateurs.

What about the counter-protesters? Not wanting to waste a perfectly good counter-protest, they walked a couple blocks to the state Capitol building...

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photo by Callen Harty

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photo by Callen Harty

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photo by Callen Harty

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photo by Lisa Wells

Some displayed their messages inside the rotunda and some of them joined the Solidarity Sing Along outside...

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photo by Callen Harty

The Solidarity Sing Along has been held every weekday in Madison since March 11th, 2011. It's never too hot or too cold to sing protest songs.

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photo by Callen Harty

We got the best of both worlds today - a chance to gather in peace and friendship without having to read or hear the twisted and sick hate speech of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Originally posted to Giles Goat Boy on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 05:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Madison Kossacks.

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