I was concentrating too much on not hitting anyone or getting caught without a front license plate that I failed to signal. The officers didn't seem to mind; they probably understood that I was quite discombobulated at the sight. On my left and right were protesters. On one side of the street there were dozens of protesters standing in front of a Jewish temple and on the other side was a group of protesters in front of a parking lot. I saw a sign that said, "Stop spreading hate in our state," but that was all that I saw. Upon turning the corner Andrew read me some of the shocking and hateful signs they were holding up.
Later in the evening my co-worker's husband explained that the protesters were from Topeka, Kansas and are actually pretty famous for their protests. Members of Westboro Baptist Church travel around the U.S. protesting against funerals, Jews, gays, military, and America in general. I had never heard of them before, but the little research I have done since Friday has revealed a heretical, hateful, and unbiblical church. Shocking is the best word to describe it. They traveled around Providence throughout the day Friday picketing the Jewish temple, the state house, Brown University, East Providence High School, and the Naval base in Newport. [If you click on the previous links you can see their horrific press releases for each protest.]
Rhode Island is a heavily unchurched area, so it's a shame that the only perception they get of Christians are radical cult members under the guise of Christianity.
Here is a clip of the group from 20/20 to give you a little idea of their theology, attitudes, and actions: