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Westboro Hate Group Defeated by Love and The Beatles at Drake University

When members of the Westboro Baptist Church showed up for a protest at Drake University, 500 people counter-protested by singing The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love."


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There’s no doubt you’ve heard of Fred Phelps and his infamous Westboro Baptist Church. The group, which has absolutely no connection to the real Baptist church and has been officially classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is notorious for showing up with hate-filled signs and messages railing against Judaism and homosexuality at schools, military funerals, and various other sites around the US—including the town of Charleston, West Virginia, where 29 miners were killed in a tragic accident last week.

So on Friday morning, when six of the group’s members showed up with hate-filled signs on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa to protest a symposium discussing same-sex marriage, the school community was ready to fight them in the best way it knew how: with love.

More than 500 students, faculty, and community members showed up to counter-protest the group by holding up signs with messages of peace and acceptance while belting out the classic Beatles song, “All You Need Is Love,” drowning out the group’s jeers with the song’s hopeful message. The face-off lasted just 35 minutes, and was completely peaceful. Photos of the students’ signs, with messages like “Hate-free is the way to be” can be seen in Drake University’s slideshow.

Drake University’s president, David Maxwell, was thrilled by the campus’ response to the hate group. “I couldn’t be more proud,” he told the Des Moines Register. “In the days leading up to this, I looked at the postings on our students’ Facebook site about this, and I had conversations with our students. I just had total confidence that this is what was going to happen.”

So if the Westboro group ever comes your way, just bone up on your Beatles tunes and fight the hate with love. After all, love is all there is.

Update: Though we don’t have video of the Drake University protest, the teens at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California, took a similar approach when the Westboro Baptist Church brought their hateful messages to the school last month. Check out the moving video of their response.

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