When four members of the Westboro Baptist Church arrived in Lansing, Michigan this week to picket at Eastern High School and then at Michigan State University, they were met by a "wall of love" comprised of community members resisting the church's message of intolerance and hate. The Westboro Baptist Church is known for its protests at military funerals and elsewhere, displaying brightly colored signs claiming that "God Hates America," "God Hates Sweden," "God Hates Fags," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and similar messages which they say protest the tolerance of homosexuals and sin.
According to the Westboro Baptist Church, Eastern High School represents "doomed America." Shirley Phelps-Roper told WILX News Channel 10 that the church members' goal was to "put these words in the air and the words will land on the hearts and minds of the people and accomplish exactly what God sent them to accomplish."
Members of the community stood in a "wall of love" at both schools to create a barricade between students and the Westboro Baptist Church protesters. One of the participants said that although they did not like giving Westboro Baptist Church publicity, it was better to create the wall rather than do nothing.
There were no arrests. Teachers used the Westboro Baptist protest as an opportunity to teach students about freedom of speech and tolerance.
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