An anti-gay Christian group staged a demonstration on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La., to protest homosexuality.
The group, known as Consuming Fire Fellowship, held signs reading: “Homosexuality is perversion,” according to CBS affiliate WWL-TV.
The Westboro-like group, which started in 1995, regularly holds demonstrations on college campuses, pride festivals, and other events as part of their mission, which is to “spread God’s word” and encourage sinners to repent, as a form of “confrontational evangelism.”
“All I heard was like, ‘Gays are wrong!’ said Joshua Erikson, a student at the university. Erikson says that no one should feel like an outcast just because they are gay.
One viewer sent WWL-TV photos of the protest, telling the news station that one student was told he would go to hell for being homosexual, and several other students were reduced to tears by the group’s message.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that street preachers have a constitutional right to free speech on public areas, and cannot be forced to move to another area unless it is for public safety reasons, and not based on the content of their speech.
The federal appeals court ruled that the city of Nashville had violated the First Amendment rights of a group of anti-gay street preachers when an off-duty police officer forced them off the sidewalk where they had been demonstrating.
Erikson added that he understands that the church has a right to free speech, but also feels that LGBTQ people shouldn’t be harassed for wanting to live openly.
“If you are gay, go ahead and do that. Muslim, go ahead and do that, you believe in a different religion, go ahead and to that. It’s your life,” he said. “You’re put on this world for a reason and that reason is to live. Not be controlled by some protestors who think they know everything.”
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