The Westboro Baptist Church, an organization characterized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” is planning a protest at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, according to an article posted yesterday on the Outer Banks Sentinel’s website.
The protest is planned for the morning of Monday, June 1, between 7:40 and 8:10 a.m. The group also plans demonstrations on May 31—the day before the First Flight visit—at four different churches in Elizabeth City.
In a letter, dated May 19 and addressed to Kill Devil Hills Police Chief Gary Britt, church representative Shirley L. Phelps-Roper said the group planned “a public demonstration/outdoor religious service regarding the judgment of God with respect to the dangers of promoting homosexuality, same sex-marriage, and the filthy manner of life & idol worshipping of this nation.”
In an interview with the Sentinel, Phelps-Roper cited several reasons for targeting First Flight High School. Noting the school’s location in Kill Devil Hills, she said, “you can’t beat the name of that.” But adding that First Flight had a Gay Straight Alliance, she declared that “clearly they’re not resisting the devil. They’re in bed with the devil.”
At the same time, the school’s address—on Veterans Drive—attracted the church’s attention because, Phelps-Roper says, U.S. military personnel ignore the commandment “thou shalt not kill.”
When she heard the news, Sandy Semans, a retired newspaper reporter and editor and freelance writer who lives in Stumpy Point, started planning a “free speech” event of her own at the high school at the same time as the church’s demonstration and got a permit from the KDH Police Department for it.
Here is what she posted:
“This sort of hate and venom should not be the last things kids see when going to school. I have obtained an application for a demonstration for the same day and time at FFHS. It is to hold a celebration of life as we love it on the Outer Banks. Groups who would like to join this celebration by attending, following the legal rules for such an assembly and which have a positive message to share our young people can private message me for the details. Don’t want to promote what you are against, but what you are for. Our veterans served to protect our right of free speech, let’s use it well.”
Click here to read the full story in The Outer Banks Sentinel.
Click here for Sandy Semans’ Facebook page.