US: Westboro Baptist Church plans NASCAR protest after driver makes pro-gay comments

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Westboro Baptist Church is planning to picket an upcoming NASCAR event because of pro-gay comments made by a championship race car driver.

Last week, driver and team owner, Brad Keselowski responded positively when he was asked by website Queers4Gears how he would feel about having a gay person on his team, reports Outsports.

He said: “I can’t speak for the fans, I can only speak for myself, but in this garage, if you can win, people will want to be a part of what you can do.”

Mr Keselowski’s comments upset members of the Westboro Baptist Church, famous for picketing at pro-gay events with signs that read ‘God Hates Fags’.

Westboro Baptist Church member, Fred Phelps Jr, who’s father founded the church tweeted: “Who new (sic) NASCAR race car was a fag car #godhatesfagsdotcom!”

Following Mr Phelps tweet another member, Margie Phelps tweeted: “Whew @Noble_Jim @dustinlong -looks like we scheduled@NASCAR @keselowski picket just in time! New sign: NASCAR (heart) FAGS. Catchy,no? .”

It is not immediately clear when the Westboro Baptist Church is planning their protest but there is speculation that it will happen when the Spring Cup comes to Kansas, where the church is based, on 21 April.

Michael Myers, who runs Queers4Gears, told Outsports: “I guess when the Westboro Baptist Church has a problem with what I’ve been doing at Queers4Gears then I know I’ve been doing something right.

“I think the WBC is operating under a false pretense if they think their brand of hate-faith would be accepted at a NASCAR race. It was encouraging to hear the NASCAR sactioning body agree with, and stand with Brad Keselowski’s comments.”

Recently, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church contributed to the NOH8 campaign, which collects photographs of people who oppose Proposition 8 and other anti-LGBT discrimination, in what she said is an act of defiance against the church’s teachings.

In February, a video appeared online showing a massive counter-protest against Westboro Baptist Church who were demonstrating outside an LA high school because of its tolerance of LGBT students.