An internationally recognised church, known for its controversial protests at the funerals of gay people, has targeted South West high school’s drama production.
US-based Westboro Baptist Church used Twitter to announce it planned to preach at Margaret River Senior High School’s performance of The Laramie Project – a play based on the reaction to the murder of a gay student in 1998.
In a tweet today, the church said it would preach its slogan “God hates fags” message at the school, which it described as “the land of the damned down under”.
The church is known for its anti-homosexual views and the slogan which it uses on banners at pickets at funerals and businesses it believes promote homosexuality.
The message prompted a storm of comments on Twitter, with users responding by saying they hoped the 40 members of the church had their visas revoked if they arrived in Australia.
Margaret River Senior High School student Holly Anne Harford responded with a tweet thanking for pointing out the performance to its more than 18,000 followers.
“thanks for the promotion of our show :) xxxxx,” she wrote on Twitter.
The school’s principal Andrew Host said he was proud his students had refused to be intimidated by the “hate group”.
“I think it is clear that any reasonable, thinking person would reject those extreme views,” Mr Host said.
He said the performance would continue without any changes.
WBC followers were dubbed "the most hated family in America" by British BBC journalist Louis Theroux, who revealed the church spends hundreds of thousands of dollars travelling to funerals to hold protests.
The church’s outspoken Fred Phelps died earlier this month.