Community prepares for Westboro protests

Horry County, SC - By Greg Argos - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC  (WMBF) - Members from the controversial Westboro Baptist Church are making their way to the Grand Strand this weekend to protest President Obama's education reform plan.

Some in the Grand Strand community, like Daniel Delpercio, are planning peaceful demonstrations against the group.

"Every high school will have a booth and a table set up and we will be collecting donations for two local groups. [They are] a local veteran's fund and Care Team, which is the local HIV and AIDS service organization," she said.

Though Delpercio said some counter protestors plan to come with signs and cheers, she's hoping the demonstrations remain peaceful

"I think it's so important to say, 'Hey, we are criticizing their message of hate, so we can't turn around and send a message of hate as well,'" she explained.

According to the WBC's website, protestors will also picket in front of churches. Cornerstone Church of God Pastor Tom Wallace said he's not planning any counter-protests, though he is telling the people who fill his church's chairs to pray for WBC members.

"To me their approach is like, 'I have a wounded arm, so let's cut it off,' and that's not quite right," said Wallace

While Delpercio prepares her signs and Wallace prepares with the power of prayer, both hope the WBC's message isn't the one that's remembered by those that see it.

"It's my fear that those that are hurting will mark all churches here in Myrtle Beach to be like this church," said Wallace.

Local law enforcement agencies said they will be on hand to make sure both protests and counter protests don't get out of control.

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