The Westboro Baptist Church is heading to Spokane on Thursday to picket the area surrounding Gonzaga’s campus.
The group is scheduled to protest between 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., according to its website.
President Thayne McCulloh addressed the community via email stating that WBC will not be allowed to picket or demonstrate at the university.
The group is known for its inflammatory messages toward the LGBTQ+ community, military personal and college students.
WBC members have focused much of their attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and will be visiting Spokane on National Coming Out Day.
While visiting Spokane they intend to picket the Spokane Convention Center as well as Lewis and Clark High School.
The news release published on the WBC’s website said the visit to Spokane is to enlighten the educational institutions on how they are failing in the most fundamental way — by not teaching students to fear the Lord.
“Instead of teaching the children to fear the Lord, the educational institutions force feed a steady diet of pride, contention, self-importance, and lasciviousness,” the release said.
McCulloh said it’s the community’s responsibility as a Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic university to respond to incidents of hatred and fear and decisively counteract them.
“Those of us in Jesuit institutions are called by the Church to serve as beacons of light and hope for all people,” McCulloh said. “Particularly those who are frequently marginalized and victimized by society.”
McCulloh added the GU community can respond to the WBC by taking part in the justice-oriented events planned this week.
On Thursday, McCulloh invited the community to wear GU apparel and for those not in class to gather for an Interfaith Vigil for Peace at the Peace Poll on the lawn immediately south of College Hall.
McCulloh asked counter protesters to do so in a non-violent and legal manner, as any violation of the law will likely result in civil lawsuits as well as criminal charges.
“Members of our community are urged to thoughtfully consider the power they surrender by playing into the carefully crafted agenda of this group, which gains influence primarily through the attention given to it,” McCulloh said. “We invite individuals, external to the University but interested in taking a contra-position to the WBC, to consider the same approach.”