Westboro Baptist Church protest hits the University of Houston
University of Houston’s communication student, Emily Savannah Chambers, breathed deeply amidst the chanting and “Fags Doom Nation” picket signs held up by the Westboro Baptist Church.
On the morning of September 23rd, the Westboro Baptist Church stopped in Houston midway from their “God Hates Trannies Preaching Tour” to spread their message. In Houston, the Westboro Baptist Church had two stops, one in the Montrose Center at 11:00 a.m. and the second at the University of Houston at 12:00 p.m.
For more than 30 years the Montrose Center has provided the LGBT community with mental health care along with drug and HIV programs. In addition, in the late 1990s the center was one of the first to provide the LGBT community with shelter services and programs for men and transgender persons that were not available anywhere else. Today the center provides counseling, addiction recovery, and violence survivors services.
The day the Westboro Baptist Church made their stop at the Montrose Center, the center advised that for everyone’s safety all non-Montrose Center personnel to stay outside of their property.
According to The Human Rights Campaign website 4 out of 10 youth say the community in which they live in is not accepting of LGBT people. In addition, individuals who identify with the LGBT community are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been kicked, shoved or physically assaulted.
“I have been personally attacked for my gender…. I had a student once ask me, ‘oh you’re a girl? Then what is that between your legs? Oh that’s right… that’s what I thought.’” said Emily.
At the University of Houston, the anti-LGBT protesters, mainly family of the Westboro Baptist Church founder of the late Fred Phelps, were met with “love not hate” signs along with police protection. They set up fast and quickly began to sing hymns of scripture and damnation. Timothy Phelps, the late Fred Phelps’ nephew, was present and ready to spread his message.
“We are doing this ‘Tranny Tour’ because this nation continues its march through every filth and abominable thing that the lord deems abominable…we are here because this University is deceit. This is where the next generation is gonna come forth…how are you going to corrupt these people? These young people? … teach them everything about sin… and that’s what happening in this University” said Phelps.
According to Troy Treash, a Senior Pastor at the Resurrection Metropolitan Church located in the Heights said, “They (Westboro) are based on hate and anti-any sort of progress and change in the world…It’s not okay for them to choose scripture and interpret it the way they want…it’s actually a perversion of what the core message of what all faiths are about, which is community love and creation.”
Shortly after 1:00 pm the Westboro Baptist Church left the University of Houston. “There is not much if anything that you can say to someone with such vile and putrid hate in their heart. Or as my grandfather said, ‘there is nothing you can do for stupid people’” said Emily.