School's 'Laramie' play to face protest

Nov. 5, 2008 at 11:57 AM
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DETROIT, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A Detroit high school's production of the play "The Laramie Project" will face a protest for the play's controversial messages, a Kansas church group says.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, said her church group will protest the Grosse Pointe South High School production that details the 1998 death of gay college student Matthew Shepard, the Detroit Free Press said Wednesday.

"'The Laramie Project' has a function -- it's to teach rebellion," Phelps-Roper said.

The 1998 hate crime in Laramie, Wyo., involved the torture and death of Shepard at the hands of two men, who have since been arrested and convicted for the crime.

The church group will target three showings of the controversial play at the high school in late November by sending at least six members to Michigan, Phelps-Roper told the Free Press.

South High principal Al Diver told the newspaper no precautions would be taken in regards to the threatened protests, adding the events could serve as a "teachable moment."

"We aren't going to do anything about it," Diver said. "I guess if it comes to be, we'll treat it as a teachable moment."

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