Anti-gay group protests at Hickman HS

Tempers flared outside a Columbia high school Friday as students argued with members of a controversial hate group.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, a recognized hate group - known for protesting at military funerals - picketed in front of Hickman High School because they wanted to show students "a little lovin'" as school let out for the weekend.

"What they're doing is wrong," said D'Sjaun Sipho, a Hickman student. "They're trying to force their beliefs on other people. That's wrong in every way."

Westboro members, including some young kids, carried signs saying: "God Hates You," "God is your Enemy" and "God Hates Obama" - along with anti-gay messages.

"It's not OK to be gay," said Elizabeth Phelps, a member of the controversial group. "I'm here to serve my god. By the which, we condemn the world, we save our houses and we glorify our god. It's his business how it lands on these retched souls."

A group of students surrounded the protesters, shouting questions and insults. "You let god judge, that's not your job, you're not god," one student said. "We're not judging," a Westboro member responded. "We are preaching."

A small counter-protest was held across the street. Columbia police were in the area but kept a very low profile.

The Westboro group also targeted a pair of Columbia synogogues and a Stephens College play about Matthew Shepard - a young man who was tortured and left to die in Wyoming in 1998 because he was gay.