Every night on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour, the singer pauses to acknowledge her partnership with Virgin Mobile, which donates $20,000 per show to a charity that aids homeless LGBT youth. Gaga’s ongoing advocacy for gay rights made her the target of a protest in St. Louis this weekend, as her arena tour arrived at Missouri’s Scottrade Center. Radical right-wing Kansas-based protest group Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing the funeral of murdered gay student Matthew Shepard, called Lady Gaga a “false prophetess,” and warned that she and her “gender-confused, self loathing, tone deaf” fans are headed to hell.
Preempting the group’s protest, Lady Gaga tweeted a lengthy multi-part message to fans to warn them of potential clashes with the “hateful organization.” She urged concert-goers to ignore the protestors writing, “Do not interact with them, or try to fight. Do not respond to any of their provocation. Don’t waste your words or feelings, no matter what you hear or see.” She encouraged her fans to “Be inspired to ignore their ignorant message, and feel gratitude in your heart that you are not burdened or addicted to hate, as they are.”
Fans responded moments after Gaga’s message, many appending the hashtag “#godlovesgaga” to their messages of support on Twitter. Following the show – which went off without incident – Gaga thanked her fans and sent them a positive message. “Tonight love and hate met in St. Louis,” she wrote. “And love outnumbered the hate, in poetic thousands. Hate left. But love stayed. + Together, we sang.”
Although Gaga doesn’t often speak out about her relationship with religion, in the latest issue of Rolling Stone , she told Neil Strauss, “It’s hard not to believe that God hasn’t been watching out for me when I’ve had such obstacles with drugs and rejection and people not believing in me.” She added, “It’s been a long and continuous road, but it’s hard to just chalk it all up to myself. I have to believe there’s something greater than myself.”
The Westboro Baptist Church had planned to protest the singer’s previous St. Louis show in January, but called off the protest due to inclement weather. The group has issued a parody of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” called “Ever Burn,” which features the lyrics “Go devil spawn, you just keep pushin’ on to the hell where you will forever burn.”