The Westboro Baptist Church more than met their match on Monday morning as hundreds of students, parents, and councilmembers gathered near Woodrow Wilson High School in a counter-protest against the anti-gay group. The Kansas-based church targeted the school because of its LGBT pride event last week.
It was during that same event that 50-year-old Pete Cahall, principal of the school, came out as gay with the support of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and to the applause of students and staff. Cahall was overwhelmed with the support shown part curly by students. That same support was demonstrated on Monday morning as students and community members fought back against WBC in a peaceful, but powerful way.
The anti-gay group made its plans to protest the school known on its website. They wrote, “You boast of being the first public high school in Washington, DC and perhaps the nation to host an ‘LBGTQ pride event’ when you should be hanging your heads in shame for such a thing. You celebrate and glory in your sin. You say ‘You can’t hide tiger pride? And you’re right. You are incapable of being ashamed of your sin.”
The protest was planned before Cahall came out, but gained even more steam from the church once he did. One member of the WBC called Cahall’s coming out “shameful,” but students and members of the community who showed up to stand up against the anti-gay group felt otherwise. The turnout didn’t just represent support for gay rights; it represented school pride, which is something Cahall says students “should be proud of.”
Just 50 people showed up to protest on behalf of Westboro Baptist Church in one of a few protests the group had planned in the Washington, D.C. area. Mayor Vincent Gray, who showed up for the counter-protest, spoke out against the group and their teachings. He expressed his thoughts about the group saying, “In my best biblical reference, they can go straight to hell.”