Westboro Baptist Church Plans Protests at Three HBCU Graduations

The homophobic and hateful Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) announced plans to protest graduation ceremonies at three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on May 19. The Kansas church has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

WBC first announced planned protests at Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University in a press release on May 8. The group pointed to the Women’s Research and Resource Center of Spelman as “‘the heart of Spelman’s progressive feminist organizations,’” including Afrekete, an inclusive organization that provides a safe space for students in the LGBTQIAPD+ community. “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. Repent!” the group wrote.

Spelman previously made headlines for its inclusivity. In 2018, the school’s first openly transgender man graduated from the college. Months earlier, Spelman announced that it would accept students who “consistently live and self-identify as women, regardless of their gender assignment at birth,” Essence reported. The homophobic church said that Spelman’s female graduates should “sanctify themselves physically from this college and its satanic lies and rend their hearts in mourning for their sins.”

Spelman College said its priority was the safety of those attending this weekend’s commencement activities. In a statement to The North Star, spokesperson Joyce Davis said, “We have updated our community about the college’s security procedures and are collaborating with officials at the Georgia International Convention Center and law enforcement to be proactive in developing a plan that will allow our constituents to enjoy this celebratory time.”

At Clark Atlanta University, WBC took particular issue with Reverend Dr. Ken Walden, the president-dean of Gammon Theological Seminary, being chosen to deliver the prayer and lead the worship aspect of the graduation ceremony. Westboro accused the pastor of being a “worldly, men-pleaser who has made a career of misconstruing, wrestling and lying about Jesus Christ.”

WBC also plans to protest at Morehouse College on May 19 after the school announced in April that it would begin admitting transgender men. “Morehouse, founded by Baptists, announced in April 2019 that for 135 years only male students could enroll, but starting in 2020, females, who pretend that they are males will be welcome. Check the neck! God’s moral law is immutable!” the group wrote. “DNA don’t (sic) lie, bro!”

Morehouse and Clark did not immediately respond to The North Star’s requests for comment. According to The Daily Tribune News, members of WBC will have a busy Sunday. In addition to protests at Spelman, Clark Atlanta, and Morehouse, the group plans to protest the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Cartersville, Georgia. WBC plans to protest the company as a response to the $54.6 billion a year partnership with GLAAD to produce limited-time-only cans stamped with rainbow designs for LGBT Pride Month.

WBC accused Anheuser-Busch of “selling out to the filthy” and proclaimed the company had “thrown its weight behind the sodomite agenda.”

In a May 3 press release announcing the company’s partnership with GLAAD, Andy Goeler, Vice President of Marketing for Bud Light, said the company has been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community since the 80s. Goeler said Bud Light is “excited to continue our long-standing partnership with GLAAD by collaborating with them on this new commemorative bottle that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and everything GLAAD does to support it.”

Westboro has made a name for itself protesting gay pride events and the funerals of US soldiers. The church, which was founded by Fred Phelps in the 1950s, also threatened to protest the funerals of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.