Anti-gay church plans stop at Plant High

April 8th, 2010 by

TAMPA - Members of a virulently anti-gay church are bringing their message of hate to Tampa.

The Westboro Baptist Church is bringing their shouts and signs to several Bay Area locations, including Plant High School.

Administrators put out a warning to parents. And students who have gotten wind of their arrival are planning a counter protest of their own.

The church hates gay people to the extreme that they picket funerals of fallen soldiers, saying they defend a country that tolerates gays.


Westboro Baptist Church and its founder, Fred Phelps, gained notoriety in the early 90s with signs containing anti-gay slurs; the one they became most known for was “God Hates F**gs.” They came into the national spotlight in 1998 when they picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young Wyoming man who was beaten to death and tied to a fence because he was gay.

Now, the Kansas group warns that it is coming to Tampa to make several stops.

The church’s website says members will be at Plant High School to protest the Obama administration’s Education Czar Kevin Jennings, an openly gay man.

Other Bay Area stops include Tampa Catholic High School to protest Catholicism; and the University of South Florida to protest Judaism.

At Plant High School, the principal sent out a phone message warning of the group’s arrival.

“We are urging parents and student to ignore them. In their minds, any counter protests give them legitimacy,” the message said.

In January, a California High school counter protested when the Westboro Baptist Church came to their campus. Students and community members held up signs about love and tolerance, and the turnout dwarfed Westboro, which is not a church sanctioned by any known Baptist associations.

At Plant, some say students will ignore the protests.

“I think the majority of the body will ignore it, but I guess there will be those kids who will want to protest against because they have parents in the military,” said Plant High freshman Emily Kincaid.

Others are not so sure. Alyse Duffy says she is urging her son, who is a senior, to turn the other cheek, but…

“He and his friends are very emotional, very opinionated. They believe in fighting the good cause and not bowing down,” she said.

One Response

  1. M.SGT. C.M.

    I’ll be there with my fellow vets. God help the first person that advocates the deaths of our fallen brothers. I’ll take an assault charge with no problem as will the guys with my V.F.W. post. Good luck Mrs Phelps. Master Sergeant C.M.

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