Education

Why the Westboro Baptist Church is planning to protest this week at Sacramento State

Students hold a rally at California State University, Sacramento in March 2016. The university's PRIDE Center will be a target of an unrelated protest Tuesday, when members of the Westboro Baptist Church visit the campus.
Students hold a rally at California State University, Sacramento in March 2016. The university's PRIDE Center will be a target of an unrelated protest Tuesday, when members of the Westboro Baptist Church visit the campus. Sacramento Bee file

California State University, Sacramento will be the target of a protest this week.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church plan to visit the campus Tuesday afternoon in protest of the university's PRIDE Center.

"Sitting in the heart of one of the most depraved cities in America, California State University is just one of the many (or all) universities in this country that has chosen to support and enable sin," says a news release on the church’s website. "The parents and authority figures in that community have done a great disservice to these young people by not teaching them the one thing that is more important than any school subject: The law of God."

The church's protest is scheduled for 1:45-2:30 p.m.

"CSU also has a PRIDE center to encourage and cultivate sin amongst the so-called 'LGBTQIA' crowd," the release continues. "Talk about the blind leading the blind! … Don’t be taken in the snare of prideful youth! Seek Godly counsel and repent!"

One Sacramento State student has tweeted in hopes of organizing en masse against Westboro.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I just found out today that westboro baptist church is coming to Sac State next Tuesday to protest our Pride Center and I’m literally disgusted. We’ll be organizing next week for those who want to show up in solidarity please come out!!! </p>&mdash; José Arias (@joseeXarias) <a href="https://twitter.com/joseeXarias/status/992192681534083072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 4, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The church is also scheduled to gather in the Sacramento area Wednesday at a Rocklin elementary school and at Mira Loma High School. The church planned a protest in 2014 at Granite Bay High School over its two-weekend run of a play depicting the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student.

The Topeka, Kan.-based church says it is fighting against sin, but the tactics are widely viewed as hateful. Even its website URL contains a word that is derogatory toward homosexuals. On its "About Us" page, the church says it engages "in daily peaceful sidewalk demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."

Recognized as a hate group by a number of organizations, among them the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the church has been known to protest against several people and groups, including Jews, Muslims, military veterans, celebrities and mass-shooting victims.

Four members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the funeral of a victim in the Pulse nightclub shooting. Hundreds gathered to counter the tiny protest, including people dressed as angels.

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