Jayden Sink, the 5-year-old girl from Kansas who began selling "pink lemonade for peace" early this week has become a national hero overnight, but the Westboro Baptist Church has lashed out with a characteristically hateful response to the young girl's peace pleas.
With the help of her father, Jackson, Jayden set up her homemade lemonade stand just outside of Planting Peace's "Equality House." The establishment, which promotes inclusiveness and tolerance, looks across the street upon its dialectic neighbor, the Westboro Baptist Church, an organization that has gained national attention for its openly homophobic and intolerant activity.
At Westboro Baptist Church, however, Jayden's message has fallen upon deaf ears (or more aptly, ears that refuse to listen). Demonstrating its true character in response to a young girl's pleas, the Church has responded with even more hatred. The organization displayed a loud and clear message for all to hear: “Fags and enablers all burn in hell lemonade won’t cool any tongues,” the church wrote, reported to the New York Daily News.
The Church has even shared the sign on Twitter, @WBCSays, so that it will reverberate across the nation. In addition to the sign, the Westboro Baptist Church unleashed scalding messages, not only criticizing Jayden and her project, but also pointing fingers at the gay community.
One tweet stated: "LOL it doesn't matter how 'cute' a satanic liar is! They are STILL a satanic liar."
A tweet addressed comedian and star of NBC's The Office, Rainn Wison, reading "Hey, you! @RainnWilson! Seen what your pals @planting_peace are up to? Using 5-year-olds to spread fag propaganda."
According to KCTV5, Westboro Church members tried to shut down the lemonade stand and heckled visitors who supported Jayden's stand. Some members even "stooped to yelling profanities, like calling a group of soldiers who came to the event "'bastards.'"
Jonathan Phelps, son of Westboro founder Fred Phelps Sr., even said Jayden gave the church a great preaching opportunity, "because every time you tell the story about the lemonade, you have to tell about the eternal hatred and wrath of God towards the impenitent sinner, and the popular sin of the day is the sin of sodomy," local news station KCTV5 reported.
In the midst of the irate reaction, Jackson Sink has spoken out in defense of his daughter's bravery and kindness. Jayden's goal was "to spread love, to spread compassion ... not to stand up to Westboro Baptist Church," he said, according to the Daily News.
Thankfully, Westboro Baptist Church's adherence to hatred and intolerance is the exception, not the norm. Americans far beyond her hometown of Topeka have been influenced by Jayden's peaceful protesting. She has sold lemonade for a suggested donation of $1 per cup, but has garnered thousands of dollars in support. In addition to donating the money to Planting Peace's projects, the funds will go toward building up "an anti-bullying program in Topeka as well as a national effort to educate children about the devastating effects of bullying."
In addition, members of the community and Planting Peace in particular have come to Jayden's defense.
Aaron Jackson, co-founder of Planting Peace applauded Jayden and said the little girl “represents the natural humanity we are born with."
He went on to say that "Jayden is 5 1/2 years old. She was having a lemonade stand for charity and they are saying nasty things," he said. "I pity them. It's sad they feel that way. We're not angry at them. We don't hate them. We feel bad for them. We know this comes from a very painful place and that's why they're lashing out. And it's unfortunate."
An "Equality House" resident, Davis Hammet spoke against the Church's reaction "I pity them," he said to KCTV5. "It's sad they feel that way. We're not angry at them. We don't hate them. We feel bad for them. We know this comes from a very painful place and that's why they're lashing out. And it's unfortunate," he added.
It would be unrealistic to expect Westboro Baptist Church to change their despicable attitudes based on a young girl's lemonade stand. But the Church's reaction to Jayden's lemonade stand is only a testament to its hateful and shameful character. Meanwhile, Jayden is sending a larger and stronger message about peace and tolerance, a message for which Americans both near and far are showing their support.