The church that has shocked the nation with its “God Hates Fags” signs and chants against the LGBT community is set to come to Penn State turf this weekend.
The Westboro Baptist Church will picket the football game Saturday against Nebraska because Penn State “has the wrath of God raining down on them,” according to the group’s website.
The group’s plans to picket the football game, though, will not go without opposition.
The Penn State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Ally Student Alliance are teaming up with the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association to organize a counter-protest against the church.
“The fact that they’re going to be here is an opportunity for us to react and we intend to do that,” said Alyssia Motah, co-president of the LGBTQA Student Alliance.
Motah (junior-food science) said the alliance received word that the church would be protesting in Happy Valley on Wednesday and teamed up with the Atheist and Agnostic Association of Penn State to organize a counter-protest.
Scott Brown, president of the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association, said the “bigotry” of the Westboro Baptist Church is discouraging.
“I think it’s hateful and it’s bigoted and narrow-minded and it supports cultures of intolerance that we have in America,” Brown (senior- architectural engineering) said.
Brown said the students do not want to start yelling matches with the church or do anything to taunt them. He said they are hoping to conduct a peaceful counter-protest.
The Westboro Baptist Church plans to begin its protest at 10 a.m. Saturday outside Beaver Stadium, according to its website, because the university has “taken the playbook of the Catholics. Let’s diddle the little kiddies and hide it from top to bottom!”
Motah said she hopes and expects Penn State students to back the LGBT community in counter-protesting the church.
“Just to visibly be there is going to be a great and I hope the student body will stand behind us on that,” Motah said. “We will be the ones with rainbow flags.”
No representative from the Westboro Baptist Church could be reached for comment by press time Wednesday.