Anti-gay church protesters clashed with students in South Carolina Tuesday, Charleston-based NBC affiliate WCBD reported.

Hundreds of College of Charleston students countered the protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.

The church, which is made up mostly of family members, came to national attention when they started picketing the funeral processions of soldiers killed during the war in Iraq. Fred Phelps, who helms the church, believes dead soldiers returning from Iraq are God's punishment for American support of gay men and lesbians.

In a 2008 email to On Top Magazine, Margie Phelps said her group does not blame gay men and lesbians for the “wrath of God pouring out into this nation.”

“That's way too simplistic and narrow-sighted,” she said. “The Lord our God has put this entire nation under siege because of all of your proud sins – all of you – not just the fags – whose filth was the inevitable footnote to a rebellious sinful arrogant perverse generation and nation.”

“But it's not just you and your filth that is causing God's condign wrath to pour out unmixed and unmitigated on this rebellious nation,” she added. “It's all of the pride and sin of doomed America; it's all the fag enablers, without which you would be back in the closet with your mouth shut, where you belong.”

The 30-minute protest outside the college took place at 8:30AM. The group has planned a hectic 2-day schedule of protests while in South Carolina, including the Statehouse and three high schools.