Radical church protests Hayes service

With help from honking passers-by, young people loosely tied to the Memphis music scene countered a picket Monday by a radical Kansas church at the Isaac Hayes tribute.

Members of Westboro Baptist Church planned to picket from 10:15 a.m. until 11 a.m., according to the Topeka church’s Web site, but the handful of protesters showed up early, then piled into a minivan and left for Little Rock by 10 a.m.

“That’s what we were aiming for,” said Bruce White, 20, one of the young people who marched across the street, just west of Hope Presbyterian on Walnut Grove.

The Memphis group toted a sheet that read, “Honk if you love Isaac Hayes,” and the response helped cancel out sect members, who “sang really loudly and really badly,” said Aubrey DePew, 19.

A couple of the Westboro group’s signs read “Hayes in Hell” and “Chef in Hell.” A press release on the church Web site attacked Hayes for his association with the entertainment industry, which they contend caters to homosexuals.