A handful of members from Westboro Baptist Church — a church where members have protested soldiers’ funerals, schools and Catholic Churches — were greeted with 100s of people counter protesting near St. Lucy Catholic Parish at the intersection of Durand and Drexel avenues at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Westboro Baptist Church is located in Topeka, Kansas. The group carried signs about what they framed as the community’s “lack of moral compass,” which included how parents were raising children, its tolerance of gay marriage, and the Catholic Church’s handling of pedophile priests.
Church elder Steve Drain said they chose the site because they believe they have a moral obligation to oppose the church members supporting the Catholic Church because of how it has handled the priest scandals.
“We’re warning these people,” Drain said. “God has a standard. There is a heaven, there is a hell… there is a consequence for sin. That’s all we’re saying…”
But Steve Jensen, a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, saw being part of the counter protest as an opportunity to come together with the community to stand against what he called Westboro Baptist Church members’ “hate.”
“We’re here to support our community against Westboro Baptist Church — for them to come in and spread their hate against the church or against others — they usually do this against soldiers,” Jensen said.
During the protest, some people shouted from their cars that the Westboro Baptist Church members should “go home.”
The protest and counter protest ended peacefully at about 5 p.m. They are expected to also protest at Horlick High School at 3 p.m. The district announced that Horlick High School students will be released at 12:39 p.m. on Monday.