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TribBlog: Hate on Ice

The Westboro Baptist Church, whose members believe God hates homosexuals, is planning to convey that message in protests at nine sites in the Dallas and Arlington area this weekend. One of the organizations the church plans to protest is throwing its own counter-fundraiser to buy an ice machine used to provide lunches for HIV-positive people.

A nonprofit group in Dallas is hoping to put an anti-gay, anti-Semitic protest on ice this weekend.

The Westboro Baptist Church, whose members believe God hates homosexuals, is planning to convey that message in protests at nine sites in the Dallas and Arlington area this weekend. Among those sites is the Resource Center Dallas, which provides services for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the area.

The center plans to turn the protest into a fundraiser it's calling "Hell Freezes Over." They are asking residents to donate money for each minute of the half-hour-long protest. The funds will go toward replacing a broken ice machine used for lunches the center offers HIV-positive people.

Mark L. Briskman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, who often handles these situations, said he approves of using the protest to raise money for something positive. But he said he hopes the community will refrain from participating in any anti-protest activities. The small group thrives on attention, and counter protests only help them get that attention, he said.

“[Their] signs are terrible,” Briskman said. “But one has to distinguish between the message on the sign and [the group’s] capacity to do anything. And their capacity is really not there.”

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