The Bulletin

Metalheads with kazoos drown out Westboro Baptist Church at Capitol

By: - March 11, 2019 10:06 am

A couple hundred metal fans converged on the Capitol on Monday to drown out members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based hate group. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

From The Bulletin, the Mercury’s blog, where we post quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

A couple hundred metalheads with kazoos converged on the state Capitol on Monday morning to defend one of their own by drowning out a small group of Westboro Baptist Church members.

The Kansas-based hate group said it came to Virginia in part to demonstrate against Del. Danica Roem, D-Manassas, who is the state’s first and only openly transgender lawmaker.

Roem also happens to be a metal singer, which prompted Richmond-based singer Randy Blythe, who fronts the well-known band Lamb of God and considers Roem a friend, to organize what he called a “counter-party.”

Six members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based hate group, came to the Capitol on Monday. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

He called on his fans to dress in the most absurd costumes they could muster and promised to hand out free kazoos, which were in abundance.

“These people are coming out and speaking a bunch of ignorance about my friend,” Blythe said. “I don’t like that. So we came out and just drowned them out. That’s the easiest way. There’s no point in engaging these people.”

 

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About six members of the Westboro Baptist Church attended. They arrived before 9 a.m. and left about a half hour later. They planned a second demonstration on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University later in the day.

Roem was not in attendance, but had her own response to the Westboro Baptist Church visit, turning it into a fundraiser that collected more than $25,000 for her reelection campaign.

“I set out to make the best out of a bad situation by doing what a good candidate for office should do,” she said last week. “Flip the script on something negative by raising money off of the response without amplifying the original negativity and driving a unifying message about love conquering hate.”

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association. Contact him at [email protected]

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