Rebecca Barrett-Fox, a professor at Arkansas State University, spent six years intensively studying Westboro Baptist Church. During that time, she saw many protests and counter-protests like those planned for Wednesday on the UMass Amherst campus.
The notoriously homophobic church says it’s coming to denounce UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon’s public announcement last week that he’s gay. Barrett-Fox says that from the Westboro church’s point of view, the protests are evangelical work.
Barrett-Fox says the church often publicizes events and then does not show up. But if they do come to Amherst Wednesday, she says they won’t bring more than four or five people. As for the counter-protest, nearly 2,000 have RSVPed on Facebook, saying they will attend.