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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest at Loyola

Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest at Loyola

On Saturday, March 26 the Westboro Baptist Church released a statement that detailed the group’s plan to picket Loyola next Wednesday, April 6 at 11:30 a.m. The Kansas-based group is known for its controversial protests at military funerals and its crude signage directed at members of the LGBTQIA community, among many other people and organizations that the group takes issue with.

The Westboro Baptist Church stated that it planned to come to Loyola to protest Jesuit education, referring to the Jesuits as “murderous thugs” amongst a slew of other insults. The group also specifically stated it would be protesting Loyola’s clubs that support LGBT students, employees and allies.  In addition to picketing Loyola, the group plans to protest at two Baltimore catholic high schools, Archbishop Curley and Catholic High of Baltimore, as well as make an appearance at the Regional Climate Preparedness Conference in the city’s Inner Harbor.

In an email sent out to the Loyola community on Wednesday, March 29, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students, Sheilah Shaw Horton, explained that WBC would not be permitted onto the campus. “WBC travels the country spreading abhorrent, hateful messages that are in direct opposition to our values as an inclusive community at a Jesuit university” Horton said.

She also shared that Loyola campus police as well as Baltimore City police will be on hand to monitor the situation. As of now, the administration does not foresee any disruption to campus activities or any threat to public safety.

The Westboro Baptist Church planned visit coincides with Sexual and Gender Diversity Awareness Week, which runs at Loyola from April 4-8 and is led by SPECTRUM, Loyola’s  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and allies (LGBTQIA+) student group on campus. The main goal of the week-long event is to increase dialogue and raise awareness about issues that face the LGBTQIA community.

Planned events include a discussion about intimate partner violence within the LGBT+ community on Tuesday, April 5 and a panel about the importance of telling stories within the context of the LGBT+ community on Wednesday, April 6 . The week will culminate with a lecture featuring keynote speaker Aydian Dowling on April 7.

“Conversations in Grey” will also focus on these issues and broader issues of social injustice next week, and SGA is planning a gathering on campus late morning on April 6 to engage the community in positive dialogue in response to the planned protest.

Nick Alexopulos, associate director of media relations and social media at the university, reiterated that Loyola stands by its mission to be an inclusive and progressive environment.

“As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Loyola is committed to celebrating diversity and strengthening its culture of acceptance and inclusiveness. Living out our values means at times encountering those who oppose those values. We will continue to remain united as a university and a community, as One Loyola, with a strong basis in hope for a better future and the pursuit of justice in our world.”



Photo courtesy of Loyola University Maryland website

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    VisionaerieApr 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    I thought everyone knew by now — Westboro is actually a performance art group. Love one another is what the Bible says, or love the sinner but hate the sin. This isn’t really a church group at all. Didn’t you know that? It’s like Monty Python.

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Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest at Loyola