Westboro protesters picket Malibu churches, deputies keep peace

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A bystander confronts Westboro Baptist Church picketers at Legacy Park at the corner of Webb Way and Stuart Ranch Road on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrated outside Malibu houses of worship Sunday. The Topeka, Kansas-based fundamentalist church is known for picketing funerals of U.S. soldiers and promoting hate-laced propaganda directed at gay populations. The church, unaffiliated with any mainstream Baptist denomination, was in town to picket Sunday night’s Academy Award telecast.

While demonstrating outside the Malibu Presbyterian Church, Westboro members claimed that Pastor Greg Hughes had a “broken moral compass” and was lying to his congregation.

“God doesn’t love everybody,” Westboro spokesman Steve Drain said. “Pastor Hughes is lying. He’s only there for the salary.”

Later, Westboro congregants held up signs at Legacy Park at the corner of Webb Way and Stuart Ranch Road as well as Our Lady of Malibu Church & School. There was at least one verbal altercation between picketers and bystanders. Sheriff’s deputies asked a couple of bystanders to remain calm and not engage with the Westboro picketers. 

Roxanne McCann contributed information to this update.