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PHOTOS: Westboro Protest Unites Glen Burnie Community

Three protesters from Westboro Baptist Church drew hundreds of counterprotesters with the theme of "uniting our community."

More than 200 people gathered Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard and Kuethe Road to send one message: unity.

The crowds gathered near  shouting "thanks for bringing us together" as they counterprotested three Westboro Baptist Church members, a group best known for its anti-gay protests.

Westboro members said their purpose was to warn the students and school community to stop "rebelling against God."

"We're here because of the  [Jr]. God sent the pervert. This is a nation of perverts," Westboro member Shirley Phelps-Roper said.

Sears, 30, of the 400 block of Luther Road in Glen Burnie, faces 13 sex-related charges, including three counts of sex abuse of a minor. His trial is scheduled for April 17 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

"And the board member was on the news saying,  Why?" Phelps-Roper said. "You've taught these children, these young ladies, to be proud whores."

But counterprotesters chanted about love, respect and honor—as well as telling the Westboro members they were not welcome in Glen Burnie.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Chip Hale of Glen Burnie was visibly emotional as he screamed at Westboro protesters.

"I fought for your freedom," said the former Marine, who said he served from 1996-2004. "I fought so you could be free."

When asked why he attended the counterprotest he said: "You know why I was here," as he fought back tears. "I was hoping to get a hold of one of them."

Glen Burnie principal Vickie Plitt gathered with faculty and staff members to watch the scene from a distance, at times cheering as motorcyclists revved their engines to drown out the Westboro protesters.

Anne Arundel County schools spokesman Bob Mosier said they had about a week to get the logistics together for the students' dismissal, which coincided with the beginning of the protest. Dismissal time was not altered, but some after-school activities and the first period of Glen Burnie's night school were canceled, Mosier said.

"The school spent part of last week and yesterday [teaching lessons] around 'What is the First Amendment? What protections are there?' And they taught lessons about tolerance and acceptance," he said. "What it's done in an interesting way is to sort of galvanize everyone together."

While police officials were unable to immediately give an estimate of the number of officers involved in policing the protest, there were a "significant amount of resources" on hand, said police spokesman Justin Mulcahy.

"We're here to make sure that all Constitutional rights are upheld," he said. "But safety and keeping the peace is the main priority."

Bill Warfel March 14, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Thank you A.A. county police for your understanding and tolerance today for myself and my fellow bikers. Hats off to you all , you did a great and professional Job Bill Warfel
susan March 14, 2012 at 02:58 AM
my children participated in the demonstration to tell the church that contrary to their poster on FB these children are all loved by God. God does not approve of their choices, but He loves them all the same. I know for a fact that one young women misdirected is now following the way of the Lord. Not because she was told how wrong and ugly she is to God but because she was told how much more she would be Loved by God when she follows His Word.
Aliza Worthington March 14, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I cannot wrap my mind around Westboro and its actions. But kudos to all who participated in the counter protest, and that includes the bikers, the kids, the adults, the teachers who saw this as a valuable civics lesson, and the police who kept the peace on both sides.
BRENDA LAZAR March 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I was so proud to be part of that protest yesturday. It really was eye opening for the students to see how people can come together and say what they feel is right and wrong.God loves everyone and everyone should just love each other and be happy.Life is to short to be so full of hate and ignorance.
Rhonda "RONNIE" Orndoff March 14, 2012 at 01:11 PM
God is love in my eyes and I know in my heart as a lesbian woman in our times... God loves me. People need to realize that being a Lesbian at least for me WAS NOT A CHOICE. At age 11 it was just a feeling I had. I think as long as UR not being hurt then u need to just GET WITH THE TIMES. Everyone deserves to be happy why don't WE ? I think it is fear but "WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF ?" I will be judged for what I do and I am ok with that because GOD LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN AND I AM A CHILD OF GOD JUST LIKE MY GREAT GRANDFATHER WHO WAS A PRIEST AND TOLD ME THAT AS LONG AS I ASK GOD IN MY LIFE THAT HE WILL BE THERE TO CARRY ME THROUGH ALL THE TRIALS I FACE. To all who were supporting gays and lesbians... Thank you all for not being close-minded. As matter of fact isn't GOD SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONLY TRUE JUDGE? Who are these ANTI-GAYS TO JUDGE ME OR ANYONE ELSE. STOP PLAYING JUDGE AND JURY... God is our only judge and you too will face him for what you do and looking down on others "HE DOESN'T LIKE"
Phillip March 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM
So let me understand. Crazy Westboro Baptist Church people came and said that this sick teacher is a pervert and possible rapists. While I don't necessarily agree with whatever else the crazy church has to say (especially when it comes to military funeral protests), I do agree that someone should be protesting this child molester. So if they were only protesting about the child molester, what's wrong with that? Or did they expand their protest into the typical crazy 'thank God for dead soldiers' crap they've done in the past?
Brenda Kelly March 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Phillip as you can see in picture #6 they had posters about gays, her tshirt and she is standing on our flag
Maya T. Prabhu March 14, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Nothing in their songs, chants or signs mentioned anything about Sears or anything other than the usual "Thank God for Deal Soldiers" and anti-gay posters and, as Brenda said, standing on the flag. It was only when they were pressed to expand on why they chose Glen Burnie High (other than initially saying that the children were being led to destruction) that they mentioned anything about the teacher.
Phillip March 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Brenda, I didn't even notice the pictures, I was just reading the text of the article. This entire thing is sad. Personally I think we should have just ignored the "3" protesters. They would have been able to talk to empty fields about their thoughts on what God feels. Thanks for directing me to look at the photos that I somehow overlooked!
Tony Capo March 14, 2012 at 03:27 PM
#1 pride is a sin. #2 does God love the ppl in HELL? #3 life is short yes, but eternity is long and hell is hot
Tony Capo March 14, 2012 at 03:28 PM
God hates you and you will spend eternity in the lake of fire. believing the lie that he loves you will not comfort you in those flames.
Phillip March 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Tony, Maybe you forget, God loves all of us and the Westboro Baptist Church is simply man falling short of the glory of God. Go ahead, let those who have not sinned cast the first stone. 1 John 4:7-10 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
edward myers March 15, 2012 at 09:36 AM
hey capo god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, doesn't say any thing about except homosexuals. further Christ a person you claim to be like. that is what christian means said that we should" judge not lest ye be judged" in fact his whole ministry was one of tolerance and love. if he stopped the stoning of an adulteris would he not say the same of any other sinner.tell you what you keep presuming to tell every one god hates them and i'll be waiting in hell for you
edward myers March 15, 2012 at 09:40 AM
and by the way if yiou read the bible and under stand english your soul will be consumed, and the smoke will go up forever cannot be even losely interpreted as you suffering, for eternity it means your soul will be destroyed, and the smoke will continue to rise as smoke does watch any smoke stack.basicaly you cease to exist says nothing about suffering eternally. that was made up by the catholics to scare sinners, like the boogie man
edward myers March 15, 2012 at 09:44 AM
it is a real shame you can't reply to the replys i wisk capo would post direct
MAW March 16, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I think Anne Arundel County should charge the WBC for the use of our Police and other resources to protect their demonstration.
Rissa Elizabeth March 16, 2012 at 04:25 PM
They were also there because of GBHS Principal, some don't know but she is a Lesbian. So that's also another reason they were protesting not just because of the Teacher.
edward myers March 16, 2012 at 10:43 PM
absodamnlutly
Al Marcus March 27, 2012 at 06:19 PM
What a day! I knew how much controversy WBC brings, but I didn't know that many counter-protesters were going to show up. Here's a few of my photos from the day. http://www.almarcusphoto.com/2012/03/westboro-baptist-church-visits-glen-burnie-high-school-in-glen-burnie-md/
Tony Capo March 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction,.... With destruction both of soul and body, though not with the annihilation of either; their gnawing worm of conscience will never die, and the fire of divine wrath will never be quenched; the smoke of their torment will ascend for ever. Sin being committed against an infinite and eternal Being, will be infinite in its duration; nor will it cease to be in the persons punished, who will not be in the least reformed or purged from sin by punishment; which will make the continuance of it just and necessary. And these will be driven from the presence of the Lord; Now the word is crystal clear. NO sexually immoral persons will inherit the kingdom of heaven. they will find everlasting destruction. The big lie that God loves everybody will be of no comfort to you in those flames!

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