Oct 18 2012
08:48 am

Westboro Baptist Church is bringing their message of hate to Knoxville today, to be "preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of Spc. Shan E. Lively Thursday, October 18, at 11:15 a.m. Rose Mortuary, Broadway Chapel 1421 N. Broadway, Knoxville, TN." If you are not familiar with the Westboro Baptist cult you can google them yourself.

Someone has organized a counter protest. Their Facebook page says "We will begin forming a peaceful counter protest in the form of a Human Wall at Rose Mortuary at approximately 9AM. They are set to begin their protest at 11:15 AM. PLEASE be respectful of the Rose Mortuary's parking, leave that for the family and friends. Carpool as your able."

We hope there will be plenty of law enforcement on hand to shield the family from Westboro's hateful display and arrest any of them who cross the line.

Shan Lively was a medic with the Army 844th Engineering Battalion in Knoxville and served in Iraq for twelve months.

(CORRECTION: Information posted earlier about the circumstances of Shan Lively's passing was incorrect. I was confusing him with another area soldier who died recently. My apologies.)

Tamara Shepherd's picture


For the life of me, I do not understand why Westboro fails to understand if not the tastelessness, then the ineffectiveness, of their methods.

Until they do, is it time for Knox County to adopt an ordinance like St. Louis did?

From yesterday's HuffPo:

A St. Louis suburb can enforce a funeral protest ordinance aimed at preventing picketing by an anti-gay Kansas church, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling reverses a previous ruling by a three-judge panel of the court. The panel ruling last year prohibited the St. Louis County town of Manchester, Mo., from enforcing the law it drafted in response to activities by members of Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church.

Many thanks to these peaceful counter-protesters. I hope all can keep their distance from this bereaved family.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Westboro Baptist Church is bringing their message of hate to Knoxville today, to be "preached in respectful, lawful proximity...

And if you failed to click on the link I offered immediately above, please do.

You'll notice in the picture appearing there that Westboro members are carrying professionally printed (as opposed to hand scrawled) signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers."

(I mention that the signage is professionally printed because that appears indicative that the sign's verbiage is not the work of a single rogue protester, but of a group that is in agreement as to the message they want to convey.)

This is respectful?!

meister's picture

One of these days someone

One of these days someone will teach these ignorant bigots a hard learned lesson. I wish I could be there to join the wall.

michael kaplan's picture

could someone here explain

could someone here explain what the issue is?

R. Neal's picture

They believe that God hates

They believe that God hates America for tolerating homosexuality so God is killing American soldiers as punishment. They show up at military funerals to celebrate.

Steven Valdiviez's picture

Leave our town

you bigot idiots should leave our town and take your hate with you. Nobody in Knoxville asked for you so why the hell are you here? Take your hatred back to your hate harboring town and burn.

jcc's picture

hit them, they sue

Isn't that part of their game ? Someone who keeps up with them a lot more than me was telling me that ..

rht's picture

they sue

yes, last i heard they have at least one lawyer in the family -- the daughter of the evil patriarch.

some years ago there was a good story: they showed up in a small town (in louisiana if i recall) to stage one of their protests, but some local folks blocked their cars in the motel parking lot and the local law enforcement waited a good long time to deal with it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Michael, have you yet clicked on that link I provided to yesterday's Huffington Post story?

The article there includes a picture of one of their protests at another military funeral (the deceased being a gay person), hence the protesters' signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers."

It's just horrible stuff and must be wrenching for the families of the deceased.

michael kaplan's picture

I read the KNS obit but there

I read the KNS obit but there was no mention of the circumstances of his death. I did read the Huffington link but didn't understand the connection to this particular funeral, except that the same church was involved in the protest. I drove by the funeral site (by chance) and noticed the demonstrations, signs and flags.

LIVELY, SHAN EDWARD - went home to be with the Lord on Friday, October 12, 2012. Shan was a member of Bethany Baptist Church. A veteran of the United States Army, he was a medic with the 844th Engineering Battalion in Knoxville. He served his country in Iraq for twelve months. Preceded in death by his grandparents, Isaac Lively and Christine Lively, Sam Swaggerty and Anna Mae Swaggerty. He is survived by his wife, Kristina Brasfield Lively; son, Jaron Lively; son to be born in December, Tyson Shane Lively; parents, Charles Lively and Brenda Lively; brothers and sisters-in-law, Charles and Denise Lively, Phillip and Pamela Lively and Tim and Janet Lively; sister and brother-in-law, Tammy and Lee Stansberry; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Nixon and Diann Brasfield; sister-in-law, Heather Lewis; special nephew, Chuckie Lively; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews; a host of friends. A funeral service will be conducted at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, 2012 in the chapel of Rose Mortuary officiated by Pastor Tim Wallace. Interment will follow in East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery with Full Military Honors presented by the Tennessee Army National Guard Honor Guard.

R. Neal's picture

There doesn't have to be any

There doesn't have to be any connection. Any soldier's funeral is an opportunity for Westboro to celebrate. According to news reports, though, it appears they were a no show.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


KNS reports that although Westboro had previously announced this planned protest on their website, they did not arrive at this funeral.

However, "hundreds" of counter-protesters arrived, KNS says, "spurred by social media."

Still thankful you were on the job, Randy--and still thinking we need to adopt that local ordinance.

R. Neal's picture

Betty Bean alerted me last

Betty Bean alerted me last night, but I didn't get the message until this AM.

Pam Strickland's picture

I drove by, per chance, about

I drove by, per chance, about 11 a.m. and was moved to tears by the hundreds of Knoxvillians there to protect the family and friends of the deceased in their time of grief. No sign of the Westboro folks, but the very fact that on a moments notice that so many were there to shield the family and friends from them was touching beyond words. And the wide variety of people in that crowd -- military, hippies, just plain folks -- Knoxville is good people who know how to stand up for what is right.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I said: "The article there includes a picture of one of their protests at another military funeral (the deceased being a gay person), hence the protesters' signs reading "Thank God for dead soldiers.""

Randy said: "Any soldier's funeral is an opportunity for Westboro to celebrate."

Oh, have I misunderstood? For ages, now?

I had always thought Westboro protested exclusively at the funerals of gay folk (although I had wondered how they knew whether the deceased were gay or straight)???

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Ah, Kenny explains to me that Westboro used to protest only at the funerals of gay folk, but that they've "branched out."

michael kaplan's picture

OK, here's what I was looking

OK, here's what I was looking for. Now I understand what the "issue" was:

Members of the church frequently protest at funerals of soldiers with signs containing messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "Thank God for 9/11," claiming the deaths are God's punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


That's right, Michael.

The link between between what their "issue" is and how they choose to advance their "issue" isn't one most of us just understand intuitively.

Someone has to fully explain it to us. Slowly. And maybe repeat it to us a time or two.

redmondkr's picture

They made the mistake of

They made the mistake of picketing the Foo Fighters last year in Kansas City.

Thag13's picture

Comic Con as well

The Westburo bunch were at San Diego Comic Con a year or two ago.

The counter protests were quite funny...


fischbobber's picture

You don't think that this morning's ruse

Was just a distraction so they could protest the Todd Snyder show tonight, do you? My wife wasn't wild about going to begin with and she'll be pissed at me if they yell something about us going to hell. She's worried that I'm not living right to begin with.

lively's picture


As Shan's niece I was so heartbroken at his unexpected passing and then to learn this hate group decided to protest. While my heart was broken I was never so proud of my city. I just stumbled across this site and wanted to thank anyone and everyone that took the time out of their day for a perfect stranger. Thank you all so much from the Lively family.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Search and Archives