Westboro Baptist Church No-Show At Protest, Students Counter - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Westboro Baptist Church No-Show At Protest, Students Counter

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SALISBURY, Md. - Social media was on fire Sunday, as the extremist, and unaffiliated, Westboro Baptist Church, promised to protest the local production of a play centered around the murder of a gay college student.  Sunday, students at Salisbury University came together to voice their support of equal rights.

With a few strategic tweets, word spread that the Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting soldier's funerals and gay rights events, planned to picket at Salisbury University Sunday.

Paul Pfeiffer, Chair of the SU Theater and Dance Department said "two students came out to my house at 1 o'clock in the morning and told me this, and I thought 'well...ok'."

According to their website and messages on social media, Westboro would protest SU's production of "The Laramie Project," a play about the real-life reaction to the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.  A play which also mentions Westboro.

Once they learned about a possible picket, the campus community rallied.

Chelsea Toback, President of Salisbury University's LGBTQ Alliance, says "it is unbelievable how much support in such a short amount of time has shown up."

Dozens of students gathered on campus, like sophomore John Murrs and his friends, "it's about morality at this point."

Many students, like junior, Bijan Navid were ready to counter whatever protest might happen "we're all prepared.  We've got people with banners, rainbow colors, we've got a couple of signs, I've got a megaphone, but I'm not going to use it unless it's necessary."

A flyer from Westboro said they would be at the campus between 1:15 and 2:00 PM, but as 2 o'clock came and went, no sign of protestors from the Kansas based group, which didn't come as a surprise to many at SU.

"I know the Westboro Baptist church has a reputation for just posting a lot of different things on twitter to anger people, and then not following through with them," say Toback.

"Still, there was a group of people that showed up in response to that," says Navid, "and I like seeing that."

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