Hundreds drown out Westboro Baptist Church's protest at Orlando funeral

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church hold an anti-gay protest rally in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2016.(Twitter/Westboro Baptist Church)

While many Christian churches expressed grief and offered free funeral services for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church held an anti-gay protest during the funeral of the victims.

But the Westboro Baptist Church's protest rally was blocked by about 200 people who formed a human barricade on the main street in downtown Orlando, the Washington Post reports.

Only a handful of the church's members showed up and held anti-gay placards across the street from St. James Catholic Cathedral.

The funerals started Thursday but Westboro applied for permit on Friday for its protest rally on Saturday.

"It's not about that person, it's about that whole societal phenomenon," Westboro spokesman Steve Drain of Kansas told USA Today. "It's never been OK to be gay and it's never going to be OK to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin."

Westboro Baptist Church is notorious for picketing funerals for gays and lesbians.

The church sent a letter to the Orlando Police Department to say that it would hold a protest rally from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. outside the Cathedral Church of St. Luke on Saturday.

Its lawyer, Rebekah Phelps-Davis, told the police that Westboro members are "law-abiding and nonviolent" and requested that police "fulfill their duty to take responsible steps to keep the peace."

Meanwhile, the Episcopal congregation announced on Facebook that it would host a "Service of Compassion for the LGBT and Latino Community" on Sunday.

A total of 49 people were shot and killed by Omar Mateen inside the Pulse nightclub a week ago.

"That thing that happened in Orlando, it was a very tragic thing and it's a very sorrowful thing, but one of the aspects of the sorrow that people are missing in their kind of worldly, maudlin sentimentality is that all of those people in that whole business ... were doing that which God almighty calls a sin," said Drain.

People who formed the human chain against Westboro included bikers, priests, youth, members of the LGBT community and residents who carried signs including "God is love" and "Orlando strong," the Washington Post adds.

Adam Velasquez came to Orlando from Pennsylvania and joined the counter-protest with his wife.

He said Westboro has "just a sick, twisted view. They push people away from Christian religion."

The song "Amazing Grace" was sung during the counter-protest.

Past 11 a.m., the Westboro members left and the crowd cheered.

Orlando churches including the Forest Lake Seventh Day Adventist Church and Metro Church offered free funeral services for the victims.

Pastor Seth Cain of Metro Church said, "This was not a part of God's plan. So if there's anything we can do for you to help you through this time, please let us know."

The Florida Hospital Church's Senior Pastor Andy McDonald said, "It really is about love. It's about loving people and being present with people. That's the true heart and character of our community and our city," the Huffington Post reported.