Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church were back in the Grand Strand Friday after a five day hiatus, but this time they were met with a peaceful counter message.
GO Church and Myrtle Beach Parent's AGAINST Westboro Baptist Church declared Friday a "Day of Love," and members of the community gathered to peacefully counter Westboro's message.
The group held brief protests Friday at Conway, Socastee, Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and St. James high schools. The protests included a handful of Westboro church members and about a dozen members of the community on the opposite sides of the road.
"Honest to God, it's despicable that these people are even allowed to be here," Zeev Revitch said, who sat across from Carolina Forest High School to counter-protest. "They try to speak in the name of God. Nobody in the world can speak in the name of God."
"God doesn't hate anybody," Carolina Forest High School student Nia Payne said. "I don't know where they're getting their facts from. It doesn't say any of that in the bible."
According to the church's website, the church is visiting the area to warn children of President Barack Obama's education plan, protest area churches' interpretation of the Bible, claiming "the Catholic Church is the largest, most well funded and organized pedophile machine in the history of man," and parents' rearing of their children.
Westboro had a different message to send each school it protested at.
Westboro Baptist protesters were at Myrtle Beach High School because "the last generation of children [sic] in doomed America [sic] deserves to see some truth at least one time in their lives."
In its posting for Carolina Forest High School, the site states, "We are determined that each place we go, all the children who you adults have lied to, get this message: TWO WORDS define Antichrist Obama's 'Education Plan'… Flee these lying false prophets, kids… [Kevin] Jennings [assistant deputy secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools]/Obama say 'screw you buddy' to God. That is why God has sent them to punish your parents for lying to you all your lives long."
The group headed to Conway High School "to tell the parents and teachers that God hates you, Doomed America, for what you have done to your kids."
Westboro also protests nonmilitary events, such as the 2007 funeral of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the deaths of 29 miners recently in West Virginia.
The group first grabbed widespread notice in 1998, when members appeared outside the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student whose murder drew national attention.
The group says they have protested all over the country every day for the past 19 years. Groups from the church are planning to protest in Irmo, Charleston, Columbia and Mount Pleasant in May.