NEWS

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October 14, 2016

Westboro Church to Picket on Campus Next Friday


Westboro Baptist Church picketed on campus in 2009.

Chris Salata / The Chicago Maroon

By Pete Grieve    and Adam Thorp   

The Westboro Baptist Church says it will picket the University and the Law School next Friday.

From 11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., the group plans to protest the University’s gender-neutral housing and “handy list of bathroom options in each building on campus.” The church’s website does not give a specific location.

From 12:05 p.m.–12:35 p.m., members of the church say they will picket the Law School for promoting “adultery, sodomy, and gender confusion.”

The Church’s appearance on campus is part of a tour targeting universities the church sees as friendly to transgender people. 

“The young people attending america’s universities are aggressively brainwashed to think God’s commandments are up for discussion and are a matter of personal preference instead of being absolute and eternal,” the announcement reads.

The Chuch has encountered opposition as it moved through the country. At Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis counter protests stood between nine Church members and University students when they protested there on October 5th. Counter-protesters again outnumbered Church members at a protest the next day at the University of Houston.

When Westboro came to campus in 2009, Alpha Delta Phi (Alpha Delt) staged a counterprotest. Brothers dropped a sign from the second floor of the house that read “Alpha Delta Phi presents Straight Huggin’” while scantily clad brothers danced to the tune of Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out.

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Chris Salata / The Chicago Maroon

The conservative group has built its public profile on stridently offensive public protests, most prominently at funerals of dead soldiers. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League classify the church as a hate group, citing especially its “anti-gay beliefs.”

Correction on Oct. 15, 2016, 1:15 p.m. CDT:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the sign read "Alpha Delta Theta."

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