Westboro Baptist Church threatens to protest gay hate crimes activists’ speech at CofC

Members of the anti-gay, anti-Semitic Westboro Baptist Church have threatened to protest tonight outside of the College of Charleston, where an activist against hate crime is expected to speak. College of Charleston officials said the school will take the appropriate safety precautions and extra officers will be there.

“But this is a public event so we don’t anticipate any problems,” said Mike Robertson, the college’s spokesman.

Judy Shepard is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at the Stern Student Center Ballroom about the loss of her son, Matthew.

It’s been 15 years since Matthew Shepard, who was gay, was abducted and beaten to death in Laramie, Wyo.

His mother and family then formed the Matthew Shepherd Foundation. Their work at raising awareness helped expand the federal hate crimes laws to include crimes against people based on their sexual orientation.

This is not Westboro’s first visit to Charleston. The group picketed outside of Joint Base Charleston and James Island Charter High School in 2010.

The group is monitored as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Comments { }

Postandcourier.com is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. Postandcourier.com does not edit user submitted statements and we cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not postandcourier.com. If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Read our full Terms and Conditions.