When members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church showed up in Moore, Okla., to picket, the residents were ready for them.
Here’s what happened:
Last May, a tornado devastated Moore, leaving 24 dead, including seven children from Plaza Towers Elementary school, according to Reuters. The storm also left 240 people injured and 2,400 buildings were destroyed.
Westboro Baptist Church said on their website that they believe the tornado was part of God’s wrath. So, on Sunday, they decided to descend on Central Junior High School, which has been housing the Plaza Towers Elementary school students since the tornado.
The Kansas-based church believes God creates disasters as punishment for what they see as America’s tolerance of gays. They also have a long history of picketing military funerals and other venues with anti-gay signs.
But, as the Huffington Post points out, the residents of Moore were not having any of it:
Though WBC reportedly had a permit to picket for half an hour beginning at 2:00 p.m., they stayed for a mere eight minutes before hastily getting into their cars and driving away when Moore residents began to cross the picket lines. Police intervened to separate the protestors and counter-protestors as the WBC rushed to leave.
“I thought it was hilarious. I mean I really did. We sat there and laughed the whole time,” Resident Tina Johnson told local station KFOR-TV “They were running, yeah.”
This video gives a glimpse of what happened.
Moore native Brenda Fox told local news station KOCO “If you come out here you’re going to get all of us telling you to go home.”
And this isn’t the first time Westboro Baptist Church has been told to go home. Here’s a list of some other places that have set up counter-protests and picket lines:
In March, Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial church, died, which led some to wonder if his death meant the end of the church and the end of the group’s protests. Apparently, that is not the case.