Raised to Hate: Kids of Westboro Baptist Church
Seven-year-old taught "gay, fags, hundreds...of Jews" are bound for hell.
June 4, 2010 -- Boaz Drain, a seven-year-old from Topeka, Kan., and his six-year-old sister Faith are the picture of typical American children, chock full of energy, fun and imagination. They watch movies like "Shrek" and enjoy playing with the standards like "Star Wars" light sabers and ray guns.
Yet ABC News' Chris Cuomo was shocked to hear some of the things Bo told him when he visited the Drain family recently.
"I don't think you'll go to heaven, I think you'll go to hell," Bo told Cuomo, adding those who were destined for eternal damnation included "gays, fags, hundreds and hundreds of Jews," among a wide swath of other people that Bo has been taught since birth were hated by God and bound for Hell.
Bo's family belongs to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, led by Pastor Fred Phelps. Members believe the Bible is the literal law of God, and the penalty for violating the rules and lessons put forth in the scriptures is eternal damnation.
Westboro, based out of Topeka, Kan., spreads the message that because the United States condones homosexuality, abortion and divorce, all Americans are going to hell. It's a message they hammer home to their children from birth.
"He [God] only loves his elect that obey and he doesn't love the people that don't obey," Bo told Cuomo.
While his father, Steve Drain, stood nearby and occasionally coached his son on the beliefs of the church, Bo went into the ideology he said he firmly believes in.
"You get destroyed and you get put in hell. Hell is like a burning place where it can never be stopped, burning, and it can burn millions of people every day," Bo said about homosexuals.
Bo also considers "enablers" of homosexuality, including all citizens of the United States, to be destined for hell.
Steve and Luci Drain have four children -- Bo, Faith, 19-year-old Taylor Drain and 24-year-old Lauren Drain. Steve Drain was filming a documentary on Fred Phelps and the church in 2000 and came to accept the church's beliefs, uprooting his family from Florida and moving them across the street from Westboro's compound in Topeka.
The Children of Westboro
Most of Westboro's 70 or so congregants are Phelps' family and relatives living in or near the church compound. Their children often can be found playing in the backyard together before joining the parents in their daily task of picketing the streets.
Westboro members made national headlines in 1998 when they arrived at the funeral of Matthew Shepard of Wyoming. Shepard was beaten to death by two men because he was gay and the church held signs proclaiming Shepard was in hell because of his sexuality.
Aside from daily pickets in Topeka, the children of Westboro accompany their parents across the country, arriving at funerals and other events holding signs against the country, gays, other religions and specific public figures -- damning them all to hell, proclaiming God hates anyone not in line and praising God for taking lives.
Church members insist they actually love everybody, and that is why they and their kids picket events. They say they are warning everyone of God's anger in hopes people will change their ways. However, that message often riles up crowds and can put the church's members and their young children in danger.
"We've had knives or guns waved at us, and lots of violent angry people," Lauren Drain told Cuomo.