The notorious Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group based out of Topeka, Kansas, stated on Tuesday its intentions to protest on Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus next month. In a press release posted on Twitter this morning, the group announced that their “God Hates Your Idols Preaching Tour” will gather in Washington Heights “in religious protest and warning” on March 27th, from 9:45-10:30AM. The release states that while “the Lord God entrusted His Holy Word to the ancient Israelites long ago… [contemporary Jews] have sorely despised and disregarded that manna… to their detriment.”
“These modern Jews,” they claim, “worship themselves as a people… then try to punish anyone who dares speak the truth about what a bunch of reprobate sinners they all are.” Yeshiva University “encapsulates the perverse state of both modern Judaism and the american [sic] university system”, by championing the “soul-destroying” notion that “It’s ok to be gay.” As a result of the efforts of the broader “American Jewish community,” this “lie spread like a cancer across this land… bringing the curse of God down on the entire nation.”
Though the group is primarily known for its anti-gay and funeral picketing, this is hardly the first time the Church has targeted the Jewish community. In 1996, its now-deceased founder Fred Phelps led a protest at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., stating in a release that “God has smitten Jews with a certain unique madness… [and] out of all proportion to their numbers energize the militant sodomite agenda.” In his view, “the American Jews are the real Nazis (misusers and abusers of governmental power) who hate God and the rule of law.” In 2002, the group demonstrated outside a Holocaust memorial service, stating that “God hates Sodomite Reform Judaism.”
On February 24th, a delegation from the Church protested outside Shalhevet High School, a Modern Orthodox high school in L.A. According to a video posted by the Shalhevet Boiling Point on Vimeo, a delegation of about ten individuals displayed signs reading “144K Jews Will Repent” and “Same-Sex Marriage Will Doom Nations,” among others.
Interestingly, despite the Church’s statements, some on campus have expressed a feeling that that YU still has a long road to travel in terms of acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, noting the lack of an official organization along the lines of a gay-straight student alliance.
Dr. Josh Josephs sent an email to everyone on the yeshiva University mailing list, which stated that the school was aware of the planned protest by the Church and were working with campus security and the NYPD to ensure the safety of students, who were encouraged to refrain from engaging with the protesters. “The group may stand in public areas, as is its right, but will not be allowed on YU property,” wrote Joseph. “As both a Yeshiva and a University committed to the nobility of all people, YU firmly rejects the group’s vile message of intolerance and hatred.”
The Observer will have more as the story develops.