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Westboro Church protests historically black colleges over LGBTQ+ issues

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The controversial Westboro Church protested at Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University Sunday.

What We Know: 

  • Based in Topeka, Kansas, Westboro Church was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Waldron Phelps.
  • The organization, while having many followers via social media, is mostly made of Phelps’ own extended family — probably fewer than 100 people in all.
  • Self-described as an “old-school (or primitive) Baptist Church,” Westboro had their first picketing at Topeka’s Gage Park in June 1991, allegedly a popular place for the LGBTQ+ community to meet.
  • Since then Westboro has continued to make appearances at any event or location that is seen by them as a form of sin. Despite them defining themselves as another Baptist church, they are seen as a hate group by numerous people including those who signed petitions in 2013 requesting the federal government list them as a hate group.
  • These views were exemplified when the church picketed at Morehouse College Sunday in protest over the new policies of the school to accept transgender men starting in 2020.
  • The signs held outside the college included sayings such as “God made you female or male. Be content and obey him.”
  • The church then moved to Spelman College, where they protested the policy that starting in the 2018-19 school year, the school would admit all students who self-identify as women as well as protesting the student organization Afrekete, a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
  • Finally, the church moved to Clark Atlanta University after taking offense with one of the school’s commencement speakers, Dr. Ken Walden, whom the group said believes lies about “Jesus Christ and His Word.”

The Westboro Church is a disgusting group that attempts to use God as the reason for their hateful and violent acts. Hopefully sooner rather than later love can drown out the hate that this group and many others spew across the country.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

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