Locals protest against Westboro Baptist Church

Photos by Sarah Hoffer
Over 700 people went to the counter-protest against Westboro Baptist Church at Clayton High School on Feb. 6.

Aerin Johnson
Staff Writer

Five Westboro Baptist Members protested against Clayton High School’s GSA program. About 700 counter-protesters, including Webster Groves High School students, confronted Westboro.

Westboro Baptist is an independent Baptist church that opposes homosexuality, sometimes holding protests at funerals and high schools with Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) programs, according to its website.

Junior Reece Hartsfield, GSA member, attended along with four other students and said Westboro’s arguments are “not educated” and “trying to condemn everybody.”

Junior Sarah Hoffer said Westboro is a “really hateful group.” She attended the protest with Hartsfield.

“They (Westboro) protest at funerals,” said Hoffer, “They say God killed them (soldiers because of the United States’ tolerance of homosexuality).”

Hoffer believes Westboro Baptist is really doing this just to make more money. Fred Phelps is a lawyer and always makes sure the Church cannot be sued.

According to Hoffer, a person dressed a Chewbacca held up a sign that said, “Wookies love everyone.”

Feb. 5, Reverend Dave Denoon of First Congregational put up a sign saying, “Bigotry wrapped in prayer is still bigotry,” after hearing about the Clayton High School protest, thinking that Fred Phelps might drive by and see it. Seven members of the First Congregational went to the protest at Clayton.

“I think it’s true,” said Hoffer about First Congregational’s sign. She said since Jesus hung out with sinners Westboro wasn’t really being religious.

“The sign has now appeared on numerous websites, including hundreds of posts and pages on Facebook, and now is making the rounds in local newspapers,” said Denoon.

After the activities that morning, Denoon went to take a photo of the sign and found someone already taking a picture of it.

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