The following comes from a Feb. 27 posting on the Los Angeles Loyolan.
The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) staged a picket outside the back entrance of LMU on the morning of Monday, Feb. 25. The WBC is a church based in Topeka, KS and is infamous for its public criticism of the LGBTQ+ community, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, U.S. soldiers and other groups they deem sinful.
The church traveled to California with the main goal of protesting the Oscars. Big events like that are considered “anchor events,” as the WBC also protests at local colleges and high schools while in a given area.
“This university really isn’t any different than any other university in this nation,” Timothy Phelps, a member of the WBC, said. “The youth of this generation has been taught since they were infants that the laws of God almighty are at best negotiable and more likely nonexistent, and that God himself doesn’t exist. So each successive generation becomes more and more perverse.”
Prior to their protest at LMU, the WBC posted a digital flyer online to advertise the event. The flyer was laced with anti-Catholic rhetoric and imagery mocking homosexuality.
Following this, the University sent out a community advisory in the student edition of LMU This Week. The advisory warned of the WBC’s tactics, describing them as having the intent to “generate attention by inciting reactions and counter-protesters to advance their cause.”
This caution toward holding a counter-protest was echoed by Dr. Lane Bove, the vice president of Student Affairs. Bove said that she firmly believes in the first amendment and supports the right to civilly protest against a group such as the WBC. However, she described holding a counter-protest as unwise given the nature of the WBC.