The Westboro Baptist Church protested three Atlanta-area colleges this weekend over two of the schools’ new admissions policies allowing transgender students to enroll.
The protesters picketed across the street from Morehouse College in protest of the all-male college’s recent decision to allow transgender male students to enroll beginning in the fall of 2020. Six protesters showed up around 8 a.m., when the commencement ceremony began.
Spelman, an all-female college that adopted a policy accepting transgender female students in 2017, was picketed by church members later in the day, outside of the college’s off-campus commencement ceremony, held in the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In a press release, Westboro objected to the student organization “Afrekete,” an all-inclusive organization for LGBTQ people and their allies, and cited it as a reason for their protest.
“More evidence does not seem necessary to demonstrate that this college is being grandly paid to produce perverts who aggressively strive to push others toward proud sin and down the path to hell,” Westboro wrote in the press release. “Repent!”
The fundamentalist church also picketed Clark Atlanta University, another historically black college like Morehouse and Spelman, in protest of Dr. Ken Walden, the president and dean of Gammon Theological Seminary, who was invited to offer a prayer at the university’s commencement ceremony on Monday morning, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.
“No true or spiritually helpful guidance will be offered by this man, whose lengthy resume is given in demonstration that he is worldly, men-pleaser who has made a career of misconstruing, wresting and lying about Jesus Christ and His Word,” Westboro’s press release said of its protest of Walden. “Flee from whorish, lying pastors!”
Throughout its history, Westboro has become infamous for its pickets of everything ranging from gay pride parades to institutions of higher learning to the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers.
According to the church’s website, they hold these pickets to warn people that unless they repent for having disobeyed God, they will perish.
The church says it specifically — though not exclusively — calls out homosexuality in its signs and rhetoric because the Bible reconizes that homosexuality is “a particularly heinous sin in the eyes of the God of Eternity.”
But, even more importantly, in a modern context, the church calls out the LGBTQ movement, as well as the larger society that gives LGBTQ people attention or endorses their behavior, for encouraging sin and straying from God’s teachings.
“Similar conditions existed in Sodom, which was destroyed by God,” the church says in a “frequently asked questions” section of its website. “…The cultural environment in Sodom was of wholesale societal acceptance of sexual and marital perversion, most notably homosexuality. … If you enable, support, condone, legislate for or attempt to legitimize that sin, you should be ashamed. It was your ilk who brought destruction on Sodom, and it will be your ilk who fuels God’s wrath to the point that there will be no remedy.”
While some students were mildly irritated by the presence of Westboro at the commencement ceremonies, a spokesman for Morehouse’s campus police characterized the protesters as “orderly and compliant” and noted that they left “without incident.”
But perhaps even more importantly, Westboro’s act of picketing was overshadowed by an announcement by Morehouse commencement speaker and billionaire Robert F. Smith, who said surprised students by saying that he would be paying off the student debt for all members of the college’s class of 2019.