Hundreds Show Up At Fort Meade To Counter-Protest Westboro Baptist Church

FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) — Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church protested outside Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County Thursday.  Normally they target the funerals of soldiers, but this time is was school children.

A high school and middle school are on Fort Meade’s property, and that kept Westboro Baptist Church demonstrators well away.  But as Alex DeMetrick reports, it also gave those outraged by the small Kansas church plenty of room for a protest of their own.

The dawn didn’t come up like thunder outside Fort Meade, but it sounded like it.  Members of the American Legion riders tried to drown out the message of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Only a handful of the Kansas group showed up, while hundreds of counter-protesters turned out. The counter-protest came in response to the church targeting students at Fort Meade Middle and High Schools.  It’s an extension of the group’s belief that God is killing soldiers as punishment for America’s acceptance of homosexuality.

“These children have been lied to all their lives. They’ve been taught that God is a liar and his commandments are on the table for disposal at their will,” said Shirley Phelps-Roper, Westboro Baptist Church. “When he said sodomy is abomination, they’ve been taught that is a lie.”  

But on the other side of the street, that argument was shouted down.

“I just think that it’s outrageous that they’re doing this. They know that it’s just for attention. They know they’re not going to change anything,” said Mark Woodard, student.

Police and the school district had two weeks to prepare for the church and keep parents informed. The protest altered some bus routes, but school started on time as usual.

“Told them about the road closure that police had decided to put in place. Told them about the diverted buses. We have students who walk through this intersection to school in the morning. We provided a bus for them in the morning,”  said Bob Mosier, Anne Arundel County Schools spokesman.

Although traffic slowed, freedom of speech remained a two-way street.

“These ladies over here think that all that racket is going to change God, and it will not work,” Phelps-Roper said.

“We’re here to show our support for the children, for the high school children,” said Felonis Newman, American League Riders.  “They are loved.” 

There were no arrests during the protest, which Westboro Baptist Church members scheduled as a quick stop on their way back to Kansas after an earlier appearance in Virginia.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • Not going to take it

    Why can’t the Federal Government do something about these people? Why can’t they be charged with HATE CRIMES. I was raised a Baptist and was NEVER taught this kind of HATE! Now they are picking on school kids? These people need to go home.

    Around Ft. Meade, I’m surprised gunshots were not heard.

    • J

      What some don’t realize is that they only use the name Baptist… they are not affiliated with any Christian faith group, especially not a Baptist one.

    • mjinmd

      I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time until that happens.

    • Amethyst

      I live in ft meade… There are never any gunshots heard… we are not as bad of an area as everyone makes us out to be. and i hope that our community coming together the way it did today helps people see that! We are a loving and supportive community. And a few bad instances in the past have lead people to believe we are a bunch of trouble makers. Which is why these people targeted us in the first place. So they could see if they could get the violent reaction everyone expected of us! And we proudly proved everyone wrong!

    • Terry

      Why dont we have people show up during their church services ( if they call it that ) and scream what A@@H@@@@ they are?

  • marian

    we need to keep an ear out for one of their members passing away and then go and protest at THEIR funeral. whats good for one is good for other. maybe then they will open their eyes and stop harassing innocent people

    • Mary C.

      Or how about sending flowers with a note saying, “we’re sorry for your loss, and as Christians we wouldn’t THINK of behaving at your loved one’s funeral the way you’ve behaved at those of so many of ours”?

      • Mark S.

        I agree, while it would be very satisfying to give them a taste of their own medicine, it would serve as a better wireturn not to return hate for hate. Their activities give Christianity a bad name.

      • Mark S

        Wireturn should read “witness”

    • Janet

      I agree 100% to *what’s good for one is good for another* I said the exact thing when it was said they were going to protest at the funeral of children who died in a house fire. IMO these people are going way beyond freedom of speech!!!!



      I personally do not follow any certain religion but was brought up with the beleif that you treat others the way you would want to be treated. If this is the way they want to treat people, then I think they should have the same put back on them. I beleive that if you lead a good, honest life, treat others (including animals) equaly, fairly & kindly, and do everything you can to be a good person, you will move onto a better afterlife. These people will all rot in hell or something like it if they keep this up.

    • Nikki

      I agree we should I would travel for that!

  • Juliette

    Oh my god, These people are so ridiculous.
    I saw the leader on a talk show not too long ago with her Daughters, And If someone really loved god that much, They wouldn’t be such hateful people.

  • Meagan

    This is not a church. This is a cult of brainwashed lunatics. They just want the attention and if the media stopped giving it to them, they would probably just disappear.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to argues and protest back at these people, but it would do no good because there is no getting through to them.

    • Tammi

      I was at the counter-protest yesterday. I live nearby and graduated from Meade 20 years ago. I agree with you that they are a cult of brainwashed lunatics, but there are a lot of people who are uninformed about just how these people DO NOT represent Christianity. It was important to me to show up NOT FOR WESTBORO, but to help be a calming influence and prayerful with the people on the counter protest side who do NOT understand that the objective of the WBC is to get a rise out of people and make money by suing them after they’ve antagonized people to attack them. In addition, it was important to me that people see that WBC does NOT represent Jesus Christ.

  • ACP21

    They need to send these people out to Carrol County and have them protest anything out there. That’ll get rid of em for sure.

    • ben

      It was Carroll County where this whole thing started. The Supreme Court case was about a funeral in Westminster. The only thing that will stop them is cutting off all the attention they are getting.

      • Tammi

        Not everyone watches the news and is informed. They hear “some group is going to protest gays at the high school” and a bunch of kids from local high schools skip school to come to the protest.

        It is better to have people show up and turn their negative into something positive than to let the uninformed show up and give WBC their way into making more money. What they intend for evil, we can turn into something good. Yesterday became an event that showed the love that so many in our community have for one another. While tempers flared, there was also prayer, love, and humor present to smooth out the rough edges.

  • KMAN

    Are these people really Athiest, pretending to be of the faith? Baptist nor any other faith would do what they have done. They are lucky no one took it upon their self to get rid of them, the soldiers and family at Meade don’t play no games.

  • Paul

    Pure hatred directed towards children! Are we weak or what? These radicals need to be prosecuted under the “hate crime” laws, if not, do away with all hate crime laws and pass some human decency laws! Soon, vigilante justice will become the means to settle the issue!

  • KTroll

    I was there and it was amazing the support that a small portion of OUR AMERICA showed! We couldnt even hear them!!! Yaaay! Our voice was louder!. I have no probably with these peoples opinions, everyone is entitled to one! I have a problem with the ignorant and hurtful way that they are sending it! I feel proud to have taken part in this civil movement.

    • Tammi

      I agree. There is no way that we are going to be able to get everyone to ignore them. Yesterday was a great example of turning something negative into something truly beautiful and good.

  • When will this stop

    This is just sad, but yet we let this happen time and time again. I have no idea why we can’t put a stop this hatred.

    I have no idea what GOD they are talking about but it’s not the one that I pray to.

    I hope they all go to hell for what they are doing. Good riddens you stupid evil, cult .

  • Leah C

    What is WRONG with these people!?!?! It’s bad enough they taunt and torment the family of our fallen souldiers! Now they have to do it to our children?!

    One of these days, counter-protesting isn’t going to be enough and someone’s going to get angry enough to become violent toward these misguided nutjobs!!

  • Drew

    If someone shot them on site i would give money to thats persons defense fund

    • tanya

      amen to that drew!



  • Erika

    I was there too! I believe they should be arrested for stomping on a flag, and then that girl had the nerve to blow her nose with it! These people are a media hungry cult, and they don’t even realised that their protest will NEVER change the minds of americans. Our army of people is A LOT bigger than their tiny little cult! Let’s see you beat that wbc!

    • Jess mac

      I was there too and Your right..there a cult and they all just need to go drink some kool~aid ..lls..and

  • Chuck S

    Someone should have offered them some Jonestown Koolade


    Watching the video of these WBC idiots drives me nuts. I say if they hate America that much lets buy them a one way ticket to some God forsaken place and take away their American citizenship. Then see how much they hate not being in America. You don’t like America? Think we as a country are “DOOMED”? ….then please leave. Unfortunately, they are protected under the constitution and I spent 25 years of my life serving in uniform defending their right to ignorance. Unbelievable!


    Who is funding this church?
    They continue traveling along with their HATE roadshow with ignorance of the pure LOVE of GOD. If they are here to teach the world how not to treat another spirit, they are doing a good job. But, alas, we must pray, love and forgive them too…for they know not what they do.

  • 25yr VET

    THEY HAVE TOO BE STOPED!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!

  • Araminta

    Please consider the General’s petition to have them disbarred (most are lawyers in Kansas) @
    and join the facebook group: United Support for Al Snyder and Against Military Funeral Protests.

  • urnotfunny

    They look like they came out of the the movie “The Hills Have Eyes”, need I say more, they are a bunch of ignorant low class morons that “get off” on trying to cause people emotional stress. They don’t deserve your time or efforts to counter protest them, they are simply TRASH that should be banished from this great land that we have been blessed to live on. God bless the military and their families, for they have taken alot of heat from this bunch of garbage!

  • Rev. Marty

    When you preach hate and believe hate is right I feel sorry for the pain that must live in your heart, My beliefs teach love and forgivness. I feel pitty for these people I believe they suffer from some form of mental illness. I severed so they would have the right to say what they will. They don’t care. My prayers go out to the people they hurt. I hope they have the strength forgive and not let these HATE mongers plant that seed. If you need to portest the government then protest it, Seems to me they protest families.

  • sam

    I agree that the Westboro Baptist Church is full of brainwashed lunatics. However, it is comforting to know that we live under a government where anyones opinion can be voice (no matter how biased or irrational)

  • Carol Ann Strudwick-Miller

    they protest the ones that guarantee and protect their rites to protest!
    I was glad to see the support offered to the students and parents of Meade Middle and Meade High Schools!
    We are a military and Meade family and know what it takes to defend our country and have a Meade graduate who is serving his country.

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  • Ga'Reth Crowner

    This Westboro group hasn’t show up to the right families funeral yet. When they do, they’ll be going to one of their owns funeral. See how they like it then.

  • Tammi

    While I am disappointed that CBS gave them airtime and I am PROUD of the other news organizations that did NOT give them airtime, I wish more had been done to report on the 300 people who showed up to peacefully counter-protest. Those who watch the news know about WBC by now (I won’t give them the dignity of calling them a ‘Baptist Church’). It would have been nice to see CBS show just how much of a POSITIVE effect WBC had on our community by protesting the school. It strengthened our community into showing up before dawn to protect our children and show the people of our community that we love them and support them. 300 people showed up before dawn, showed up late for work, traveled from various distances to show our troops and the children of our community that we love them. It is only a shame that it took 5 fools to get us out there to show that love and support.

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