When Westboro Baptist Attacked a Gay High School Athlete, Students Fought Back With a Rally of Love and Support [VIDEO]

After the notoriously anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church decided to target an openly gay football player, his classmates came to his defense in droves.

Running back Jake Bain plays for John Burroughs School, a Missouri prep school that made local news late last year when Bain came out as gay. In February, the Westboro Baptist Church decided to target the school, vowing to picket the campus on Monday, March 12, for its “smirking, proud fag child.”

In response, over 200 students met to put together a rally against the church with a “display of support” for the school’s LGBT community. John Burroughs’ headmaster, Andy Abbott, defended the planned rally, sending out a letter to the school’s families on March 8 in which he praised the students and called the Westboro Baptist Church “nothing more than a hate group.” He told parents,

To be frank, our students want to own this day. They have crafted a response to the WBC which avoids engaging with the WBC. Instead, their focus is on taking care of one another and celebrating the inclusive community they are building for all students at Burroughs.

A hashtag called #StandWithJake was also created for the counterprotest, which has since gone viral as Twitter users near and far have celebrated Bain and his classmates:

A report from local station KSDK’s Abby Llorico suggests the Westboro Baptist Church didn’t even show up for the picketing, most likely because the church realized they’d be outnumbered. They are, after all, cowards who hide behind their placards and hate rhetoric.

Meanwhile, local businesses unaffiliated with the school have stood up for Bain, making sure the church doesn’t feel welcome if they ever step into town.

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