Westboro Baptist Protests Elvis at Graceland
(Memphis) It’s one of the best times of the year.
Tourists are in town from all over the world for Memphis in May, and the Grizzlies are uniting the city like never before with their playoff success.
Then there’s the Westboro Baptist church.
They’re in town too protesting the king of Rock and Roll.
“Memphis is in the United States. You`ve got this idol over here it`s huge. They`ve turned this guy into an idol. They worship and serve him more than they do the living God,” said Westboro member Shirley Phelps-Roper.
The group known for protesting solider funerals and other national events made Graceland their stage Friday.
Extra police officers were on hand to keep the small crowd in order, with no interruption to traffic or tours at Graceland.
The small group did bring out counter protestors who say the group doesn’t know what Memphis is all about.
“I`ve always considered myself a bit of an activist so if I were to let them come to my city and I didn`t do anything about it or at least have my voice heard I would have felt really bad,” said Michael Schaffer.
Renae Roberts runs an Elvis souvenir shop and believes the protesters have the right to be out there, but not their idea of Elvis.
“He came from the church. I mean he sang in the churches and that`s what he did and Elvis was a very spiritual person,” said Roberts.
Graceland released a statement about the protest saying they “strongly believe in the value of diversity and condemn the intolerant positions and disruptive behavior of this group, even as we acknowledge their own individual right to freedom of expression.”
The group is headed to Ole Miss for their next protest.