Demonstration planned by Westboro Baptist Church
The Westboro Baptist Church, the group responsible for protests outside military funerals using slogans such as “God hates fags,” has scheduled a picket of OU’s Jewish student organization Hillel from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday.
“[Westboro] is a group that spreads hateful messages about many different groups,” said Roberta Clark, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League’s North-Texas/Oklahoma regional office.
Westboro is based in Topeka, Kan., and regularly stages protests around the county. They have no affiliation with mainstream Baptist organizations. Targets of their protests include institutions they believe support homosexuality, Christian denominations they feel are heretical, Jewish organizations and high-profile funerals, according to the Anti-Defamation League Web site.
“We picked your campus because it is the time for the restitution of all things, wherein God is going to first finish his indignation against the Jews for killing the Son of God, their Savior, and then God will pour out upon 144,000 of those that survive that horrible affliction, a spirit of grace and supplications, and they will, in that hour, need help, and because of this work we will do there and all around this nation in calling out the Jews, I say, they will be looking for us,” Westboro member Shirley Phelps-Roper stated in an e-mail.
The Anti-Defamation League has been monitoring Westboro for years, Clark said.
According to the Anti-Defamation League Web site, Jewish organizations did not become a major target of Westboro until April. Since then, they have targeted dozens of Jewish synagogues and institutions with protests and anti-Semitic literature.
Clark said it is possible nobody will show up for the scheduled Norman protest. She said people only show up to Westboro protests about 50 percent of the time.
Hillel will not stage a counter-protest, said Keren Ayalon, executive director of OU Hillel.
“We are not giving this group, who’s looking for press, any additional reason for press,” Ayalon said.
Clark said she hopes no one attends the protest.
“We want it to be like a tree falling in the forest that no one hears,” Clark said.
Shayna Daitch, OU Hillel President, declined to comment on the protest.