Westboro Baptist Church, best-known for picketing funerals of dead soldiers, is now taking its show of hate to Penn State - to protest the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the country and shocked the university. However, the divisive group's actions have united a divided campus, by inspiring a counter-protest by the atheist and LGBT student groups.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, the WBC will be holding up its famously abrasive signs at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA where the Penn State football team will take on Nebraska. According to the WBC website, "Penn State has the wrath of God raining down on them in righteous judgement!"
WBC says the alleged cover-up is similar to the cover-up scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church in recent years. "They have taken from the playbook of the Catholics. Let's diddle the little kiddies and hide it from top to bottom!" the group's website says. "Fitting that the head cover-up artist is called the Pope of Happy Valley. How sick is that! Not surprising, but sick!"
In addition, the radical fundamentalist group also plans on protesting the current state of education.
"College in this country is nothing more than a giant party, with a few classes set to instruct in sin thrown in for good measure," the WBC site says. "What you have turned out of those classes are raping priests, raping coaches, raping marines, along with various other violent dangerous brutes that are poised to be tomorrows 'heroes' in this vile land. Wake up! You have angered your God beyond recovery. More and worse is coming! America is doomed! "
However, despite the polarizing nature of WBC as well as the sex abuse scandal itself, which caused many Penn State students to riot after it was announced legendary football coach Joe Paterno was fired, the radical group has caused the Penn State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Ally Student Alliance to team up with the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association in a counter-protest.
For Scott Brown, president of the Penn State Atheist/Agnostic Association, it is not that WBC is protesting the child sex scandal which has inspired his group to counter-protest, but the "bigotry" that they represent.
"I think it's hateful and it's bigoted and narrow-minded and it supports cultures of intolerance that we have in America," Brown said, according to Penn State college newspaper, The Collegian.
Alyssia Motah, co-president of the LGBTQA Student Alliance, says that WBC's presence will be a chance to be heard.
"The fact that they're going to be here is an opportunity for us to react and we intend to do that," Motah said.
Motah also hopes that other students will join in.
"Just to visibly be there is going to be a great and I hope the student body will stand behind us on that," she said. "We will be the ones with rainbow flags."