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Protest Punctuated With Chant, Shouts

About five members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. picketed outside Northwestern High School Tuesday morning.

More than to protest at in Hyattsville this morning.

Five people from the group known for its anti-homosexual stance and for picketing at the funerals of soldiers, showed up at 9 a.m., waved signs, to songs by Lady Gaga and Ke$ha.

“We’re happy to be here … to tell you some truth of God,” said Westboro protester Megan Phelps-Roper. “The definition of loving your neighbor is to warn them … that they are going to hell.”

Phelps-Roper, 25, works at her family’s law firm and protests on her days off.

“[It is] a big lie that’s told in this nation that God loves everyone,” she said.

The group also protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers.

“You taught that person rebellion,” she said. “It’s not a blessing when your child comes home in a body bag in little pieces.”

Another Westboro protester, Jael Phelps, 26, said that they chose Northwestern because they heard that it is a large school in the area.

"It's our duty to prevent kids going to hell," Phelps said, adding that the reason they would go to hell is because America allows homosexuality.

According to , Megan’s mother, the group has done 45,300 protests to date. Their next stop is the FBI Academy at Quantico to speak.

Shirley Phelps-Roper said that the group began its protests 22 years ago after they saw homosexuals having sex in a public park. While protesting on a public sidewalk, an IED was thrown at the group, she said.

The Westboro protesters stood along a small section of the east side of Adelphi Road in University Park across from Northwestern. Counter protesters lined the opposite side of the street, calling out chants and cheers and holding homemade signs and banners.

and other parts of the county came out to support the high school and to represent their community positively.

gathered at the University Hills Duck Pond about 7:30 a.m. and marched with picket signs from Wells Parkway to Northwestern.

A small group of Northwestern students and former students posted signs along the grass off Adelphi Road. Police from Hyattsville and University Park monitored the event. Sgt. Greg Phillips of the HPD, said that this was the first protest in Hyattsville during his 30 years on the force.

University Park resident Nicole Lucier, who organized a part of the counter protest, said she was pleased with the turnout.

“We couldn’t hear [the Westboro protesters] because of the traffic,” she said. “We have a great representation of students and parents from Northwestern.”

Writer Diana Elbasha transcribed interviews for this report.

shadow_man March 02, 2011 at 03:40 AM
For those of you claiming homosexuality is a "lifestyle", that is a false and ignorant statement. Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological. http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/differential-brain-activation.pdf http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/dn14146-gay-brains-structured-like-those-of-the-opposite-sex.html Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155990,00.html http://www.livescience.com/health/060224_gay_genes.html http://www.springerlink.com/content/w27453600k586276/ http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/06/16/172/ There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.
shadow_man March 02, 2011 at 03:40 AM
To those of you using the Bible as a weapon against homosexuality, you are wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults. http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm http://www.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html http://www.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php http://www.gaychristian101.com/ http://www.mccchurch.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resources&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2121 http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence.html http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian http://www.goodhopemcc.org/spirituality/sexuality-and-bible/homosexuality-not-a-sin-not-a-sickness.html
Jay March 05, 2011 at 12:23 PM
"The people from Westboro ALSO have First Amendment rights." Umm, who said they didn't? It's perfectly understood that Westboro has those same rights to say whatever they want. No one ever disputed that. They have the right to spew nonsense, and we have the right to tell them how ridiculous they sound. It's that simple.
mj23 March 06, 2011 at 09:06 PM
I agree -- the newsmedia needs to focus on other things. When these people stop becoming headlines, they will stop because no one will care.
Jon Gulbuny March 07, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Who cares? They have their beliefs and you have yours. You might as well get the city council to make some new law that says they can't live in single family homes

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